~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Oklahoma's latest farm and ranch news
Your Update from Ron Hays of RON for Wednesday May 23, 2007!A service of Midwest Farm Shows
-- OIE Calls US Beef Cattle Herd a "Controlled Risk" for Mad Cow.
-- The Clock ticks down closer to Sine Die- and Ag interests happy with yesterday's dealings- especially on SB136.
-- Farm Bill Markup is Officially Underway- limited money is the overriding theme.
-- Oklahoma Wheat Commission getting ready for Board Meeting and Election in Guymon tomorrow.
-- A Nine Percent Cut in the 2008 Beef Board Budget proposed this past week in Denver.
-- Bob Drake, Bob Whitson and Mike Rooker among the names in a long list from Governor Henry's office
-- Checking out Canola!
Here's your morning farm news headlines from the Director of Farm Programming for the Radio Oklahoma Network, Ron Hays. Our email this morning is a service of Midwest Farm Shows, featuring the just concluded Southern Plains Farm Show in Oklahoma City, as well as the Tulsa Farm Show held each December. Check out details of both of these exciting shows at the official website of Midwest Farm Shows by clicking here.
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OIE Calls US Beef Cattle Herd a "Controlled Risk" for Mad Cow.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~As expected, the World Organization for Animal Health voted a confirmation of what we had been told they would recommend for some time- that is the United States and Canada are both "controlled risk" countries for BSE. This ruling is really based on two factors- one is that both countries have had a generally low incidence of actual BSE cases- obviously, the United States an even lower number than Canada- and that in addition to the actual number of cases, the governments have both put in place measures that protect human health as well as the further spread of the disease in the cattle herds.
Ag Secretary Johanns calls this "good news" and is now hopeful we can convince the countries that have been slow in fully reopening their markets to US beef to take another look and accept our beef products. Most of the cattle industry in the US celebrated a bit yesterday as well- as they called on China, Russia, Korea and Japan to stop the delays and look at this international science and move to fully open their borders to US beef.
One group chose to be unhappy- and that group was R-Calf. Their CEO, Bill Bullard, blasted USDA for not doing more to get the OIE to declare the US a Negligible Risk country instead of Controlled Risk. Bullard accused USDA of conspiring to moving the US beef cantle industry into the role of being just a part of the North American Beef Industry- lessening the value of US beef. We discuss this ruling from the OIE on today's Beef Buzz on the Radio Oklahoma Network- and we have it linked for you to hear by clicking below.
Click here to listen to today's Beef Buzz with Ron Hays on RON
The Clock ticks down closer to Sine Die- and Ag interests happy with yesterday's dealings- especially on SB136.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~We got word last night that it turned out to be a pretty good day for ag and rural interests at the state capitol yesterday. We were told by folks at the Capitol that objectionable language in SB136 relating to Eminent Domain and condemnation was removed on Tuesday. When you go to the State Legislative website- that language is still in the Conference Report- so we will be checking further- but the indication is that landowners won on this issue.
On HB 1490, the indication is that the measure has been narrowed back down to focus on just the court ruling for Eucha-Spavinaw watershed on poultry litter- and that the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture will be taking over the handling of the provisions once they get their rules written and the court decides to step aside.
We had confirmation last Friday from Dale DeWitt of Braman that the monies designated for Ag Extension and the Experiment Station at OSU are a part of the budget deal about to be finished- $2.9 million worth and that the ag groups that pushed for these dollars on behalf of the Division of Agriculture feel good about conversations with State Chancellor for Higher Education Glen Johnson earlier this spring about those monies going where the lawmakers intended for them to go.
Things are beginning to wind down at the Capital- with the end of the Legislative session for 2007 looming- by law the Legislature must adjourn from their regular session by 5 PM this Friday.
Farm Bill Markup is Officially Underway- limited money is the overriding theme.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~It look just over four hours for the House Ag Subcommittee to mark up their provisions of the 2007 Farm Bill. The Committee was working off of draft legislation put together mostly by House Ag Committee Chairman Colin Peterson. The meeting was run by Pennsylvania Congressman Tim Holden, but his right hand man was Oklahoma Lawmaker Frank Lucas, who actually offered the motion at the end of the day to recommend all provisions and the amendments accepted to the Full Committee.
The Committee worked on four titles- Conservation, Credit, Research and Energy. Two things jumped out at us as we listened to the Conservation debate. Not much was said about the total delay in new Conservation Security Program signups until after this farm bill is expired- in 2012. This is a done deal on the House side it seems- but will be a different story when you get to the Senate and the man who gave birth to CSP in the 2002 Farm Bill, Senator Tom Harkin, has his say. (Remember that Harkin will be the Chair of the Conference Committee at the end of this whole process- CSP will have a place in the mix sooner than 2012- I can assure you) Beyond CSP, there was a veiled threat from lawmakers in California that more money needs to be earmarked for Air Quality projects in their part of the world- as they served notice they don't think it's right for billions to go to the midwest while the largest producer of fruits and vegetables gets little of the pot of money.
On the Energy title, Congressman Lucas got a lot of what he had just proposed a few days ago in what he called the "Rural America Energy Bill." Lucas' provisions included in the subcommittee bill, originally introduced earlier this month as part of his Rural America Energy Bill, will revamp the USDA Bioenergy Program to promote cellulosic refineries. The program will provide payments for cellulosic ethanol production, to encourage the construction of cellulosic plants. "We know there will be no one magic bullet to solve our energy dependence problem," Lucas said. "We need to encourage all the viable alternatives to foreign oil and gas imports. Cellulosic is one alternative that not only provides a clean alternative, it also would create Oklahoma jobs and provide a new crop choice for landowners. My provision helps get us to that goal." Lucas also secured an increase in funding for the Renewable Energy Program, which funds grants and loans to farmers and rural businesspeople who make energy efficiency improvements or purchase renewable energy systems, such as wind, solar, or biomass. Lucas also ensured that a portion of the money is directed to smaller projects. To continue to encourage greater traditional ethanol production, Lucas also secured funding for a federal feasibility study for the construction of an ethanol pipeline system, to move the product from the Midwest to the East and West Coasts. Ethanol cannot be transported in current pipelines because of pipeline corrosion issues.
Oklahoma Wheat Commission getting ready for Board Meeting and Election in Guymon tomorrow.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~The Oklahoma Wheat Commission will hold an election to fill the District II opening. The election will be held tomorrow, May 24, 2007, commencing at 2 p.m. in the Texas County Activities Center, 4th and Sunset, Guymon, Okla. District II consists of Beaver, Cimarron, Ellis, Harper, Texas, Woods and Woodward counties.
Before the election, the regular Board Monthly Board meeting of the Oklahoma Wheat Commission is planned on site. After the meeting, the Oklahoma Wheat Growers will be sponsoring a lunch for all wheat producers in attendance. OSU Wheat Breeder Dr. Brett Carver will be the lunchtime speaker.
Currently, the District II seat is held by Tom Stephens of Guymon. Three nominations will be made at the election, from which the Governor of Oklahoma will appoint one person to serve a five year term with the Oklahoma Wheat Commission. Every wheat producer in the district is urged to participate in this important election. For further information, contact the OWC office at (405) 608- 4350.
A Nine Percent Cut in the 2008 Beef Board Budget proposed this past week in Denver.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Proposing that cut was the Beef Industry Operating Committee, which consists of cattle producers representing both the Cattlemen's Beef Board as well as the State Beef Councils. One of those on the Operating Committee this year is Brian Healey from southern Oklahoma.
This group has recommended a $48.87 million Cattlemen's Beef Board budget for fiscal year 2008, reflecting a sharp 9 percent decrease from the $53.28 million budget for fiscal 2007. The budget for the Beef Board, which administers the national checkoff program, includes projected revenue of $45.7 million for fiscal 2008, plus money to be available from programs costing less than originally estimated in fiscal 2006. Improved budgeting practices by checkoff contractors during the last year left actual expenditures coming in very close to cost estimates, reducing the amount available to add to the budget for 2008. "While getting better at estimating costs is most definitely a good thing," said Cattlemen's Beef Board Chief Executive Officer Tom Ramey, "it does result in a decrease in the budget for next year because the contractors spent a higher percentage of their budgets."
The breakdown of the budget recommendation, which must be approved by the full Beef Board and USDA before any funds are expended, includes the following budget elements: promotion ($22.7 million); research ($7.4 million); consumer information ($6.2 million); industry information ($2.4 million); foreign marketing ($5.15 million); producer communications ($2.27 million); evaluation ($240,000); program development ($125,000); USDA oversight ($210,000); and administration ($2 million). The 2008 fiscal year begins Oct. 1, 2007. "We faced a substantial challenge in determining where to decrease expenditures to meet the smaller budget in the coming year," said Ken Stielow, a producer from Kansas and chairman of the Cattlemen's Beef Board, which met in Denver last week.
In the coming stages of the fiscal 2008 budgeting process, the full Beef Board will be asked to approve the budget at its meeting in Denver in July. Joint industry advisory committees and subcommittees also will meet in Denver to prepare recommendations for specific program proposals that are funded with that budget. Those proposals will be considered by the Operating Committee in September, before the Oct. 1 beginning of the fiscal year, and must finally be approved by USDA before any checkoff dollars may be spent. Funds from the Beef Board for national checkoff programs will be augmented by about $10.5 million in voluntary contributions from state beef councils to their national Federation of State Beef Councils, a division of NCBA.
Bob Drake, Bob Whitson and Mike Rooker among the names in a long list from Governor Henry's office
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~There was no mention of a decision on the vacant board seat for the Oklahoma Wheat Commission yesterday- those names from the election earlier this month have just arrived a few days ago in the Governor's office- but we did see several names that we know in the seven pages of names that were appointed to various board and commissions by Brad Henry.
OSU Dean Dr. Bob Whitson was announced as being appointed to the State Science and Technology Council. Cattle producer Bob Drake from Davis was reappointed to the Oklahoma Environmental Quality Board- in fact his Senate hearing for confirmation was held yesterday. Bob also is currently Vice President of the Oklahoma Farm Bureau. Mike Rooker of Shawnee will be a new face on the Oklahoma Conservation Commission, as he has been named to take seat held by Rick Jeans.
One vacancy that was filled that is a disappointment to some in the agricultural community is that of Greg Massey of Durant being named to the OSU Board of Regents, replacing car dealer Fred Harlan. Massey is a banker from Durant, has been very much involved in rural development efforts- he has served previously on the board of Rural Enterprises Inc. The issue that will likely come up during his confirmation by the Senate will be the fact that the Constitution and State Law indicate that a majority of the Regents are to be farmers or ranchers. With Massey's appointment, that part of the law and our state Constitution continues to be ignored.
Checking out Canola!
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~At this past week's Lahoma Field Day, we had the chance to visit with Mark Broyles, the lead man within OSU Extension when it come to winter Canola and the efforts to expand acreage here in the state of Oklahoma of this oilseed that mirrors the life cycle of winter wheat.
In those areas where they had enough moisture to get a stand last fall, the 2007 Canola crop is looking pretty good. We have a conversation that we had with Mark about this year's crop, what our market options are in Oklahoma, the benefits of using Canola in a rotation with winter wheat and how many acres can be supported by this most interesting crop.
Click below to take a listen to Mark's thoughts on Winter Canola and it's place here in the Sooner State.
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