~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Oklahoma's latest farm and ranch news
Your Update from Ron Hays of RON for Wednesday May 30, 2007!A service of Midwest Farm Shows
-- With New Owners- Swift Can Claim to be Number One!
-- Does the Swift Sale impact Smithfield?
-- A few Combines Roll Yesterday- but Rains Come Again Early This Morning!
-- Excellent Progress made this past week in planting spring crops across Oklahoma.
-- Oklahoma Farm Bureau Agrees on Manure Bill as Crown Jewel of 2007 Session.
-- Water Notes- Altus is Full and Illinois River to be Cleaned Up.
-- Farm Bill Tidbits- Here comes Mr. Payment Limits!
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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With New Owners- Swift Can Claim to be Number One!
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~The number three US Beef Packer, Swift and Company, is being sold to the biggest meat processor in Brazil- and together, the new company becomes the largest beef and pork processor in the world. The Brazilian holding company that will own Swift, if the deal goes through successfully, is J&F Participacoes S.A. It appears the name of the new company will be Swift-JBS, joining the name of the US packer with that of JBS S.A., the largest beef processor in Latin America.
It has been pointed out that while Swift-JBS will be the largest in terms of slaughtering capacity, the company will remain behind both Tyson and Cargill in terms of annual beef sales, as the value of grain few beef is much higher than that of grass few beef, the focus of the Brazilian based company up to this point. Steve Kay of Cattle Buyers Weekly was quoted in the Greeley newspaper that he believes that this is a good news story for those who want to have maximum competition in the business- as it keeps the meat packing industry from getting anymore concentrated here in the U.S. and will help Swift continue to be a viable and regular buyer of fed cattle.
The President of Swift, Sam Rovit, told reporters yesterday that he expects nothing to change in Greeley, Colorado in regards to the beef and lamb processing plants. If anything, they may add to current operations as they could go back to a double shift at the beef plant, which has operated as a single shift for the past four years or so.
We have linked one of the most recent stories on the sale of Swift below from the Greeley Tribune- which has done an exceptionally good job of covering this event. In their list of related stories, it shows they had reported back in April interest by this company in buying Swift. You may have to register for their stories- but if the Swift story interests you- it will be worth the minute or so it takes to get that done.
Click here for the latest on Swift being bought by a Brazilian Meat Processor.
Does the Swift Sale impact Smithfield?
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~The short answer here is that nobody really knows- except maybe the Smithfield Executive Team- and they are unwilling to talk to the media about their plans. But there had been rumors of several reasons why Smithfield Beef made the announcement last fall that they would begin construction on a $200 million dollar beef packing plant just outside Hooker in Texas County- breaking ground in January. Those plans have been postponed at least twice with no indication when or if they will ever happen. The last time the Smithfield people talked, they simply said they had postponed turning any dirt at the site because they were "finalizing the engineering plans for the facility because we are looking at several options and enhancements."
A major financial analyst said at the time of the announcement that the plant would add too much "kill capacity" to the beef processing business in the Great Plains, suggesting that the Smithfield people were using the announcement to try to angle to buy the Swift Beef business. Obviously, that will not happen now.
There has also been long standing rumors that the Smithfield people wanted to buy the burned out Con Agra plant up in Garden City, Kansas, but others have said the Smithfield people could buy a state of the art facility cheaper than renovating the older facility. Meanwhile, Hooker, Texas County and the Beef Industry in the Panhandle and Southwest Kansas waits- and wonders.
A few Combines Roll Yesterday- but Rains Come Again Early This Morning!
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Oklahoma Wheat Commission Executive Director Mark Hodges got back out on the road yesterday in southwest Oklahoma- found a few combines rolling in fields where we have sandier, better drained soils in Tillman and Jackson Counties. No word from Mark on yield or test weights- but he called the area north and west of Frederick maybe 10% cut. He also said several fields are cut out around Eldorado in Jackson County.
It's a good thing, as more rain has arrived with a big line that stretches from Kansas down across almost all of Oklahoma has been moving from the Northwest overnight. As I write this around 6 am, it is pouring rain in northwest OKC. Radar in southwest Oklahoma shows it is raining in parts of those southwest Oklahoma counties as I write this as well.
You can listen to our audio update with Mark this morning by clicking below- it's our lead story on this morning's Farm and Ranch News from the Radio Oklahoma Network which is what we have linked below.
Click here to hear Ron on RON- with Mark Hodges of the Oklahoma Wheat Commission on harvest activity from Tuesday.
Excellent Progress made this past week in planting spring crops across Oklahoma.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~While the combines waited, field equipment used for planting our 2007 spring based crops was cranked up and rolling- at least for several of our crops. Little progress was made in getting the milo crop planted for 2007, we now stand at 42% planted versus 40% planted one week ago- but cotton planting jumped from 33% planted a week ago to 51% planted in the latest report and peanut plantings went from 21% to 51% done.
We also got a bit more of the first cutting of alfalfa done in the latest week- we are now 81% done with the first cutting and have started the second cutting in several areas.
Moisture Profiles are mostly adequate or better as we get ready to conclude May and head for June, almost an exact opposite of one year ago- and the best profile we have head at the start of summer since at least 2001.
Oklahoma Farm Bureau Agrees on Manure Bill as Crown Jewel of 2007 Session.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Going into the start of the 2007 Oklahoma legislative session, farm and ranch leaders wanted a legal definition of animal manure to help them comply with environmental laws. When the session ended May 25, the so-called "manure bill" had passed and now ranks as the top victory for Farm Bureau during the session. "We needed to make sure animal manure would not be classified as hazardous waste," said Oklahoma Farm Bureau President Steve Kouplen. "It seems obvious to us that manure is a beneficial soil nutrient, but until SB 709 was passed, we had little protection from environmental lawsuits."
Another benefit of SB 709 is the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, Food and Forestry will be responsible for regulating the use of animal manure as a soil nutrient. "The Agriculture Department is better equipped to understand soil science and regulate animal manure," Kouplen said. In a major win for private property owners, the farm organization convinced lawmakers to pass HB 1915, which requires permission to hunt or fish on land primarily devoted to farming, ranching or forestry. "This bill strengthens our no trespassing laws and further protects landowners," Kouplen said. Unfortunately, a failed trespassing bill to increase the penalty of a convicted trespasser to $500 and the one-year forfeiture of hunting and fishing license added frustration for landowners. The bill actually passed both the Senate and House, but was vetoed by Governor Henry. "This bill was especially important to landowners who lease out property for hunting and fishing as it would have put some teeth into the law," said Lori Peterson, OFB vice president of public policy.
Kouplen and Peterson will be involved in a statewide webcast hookup with Farm Bureau members who wish to hook up via a highspeed internet connection. That session is planned for this morning at nine am and we have a link with more information below.
Click here on information on the OKFB State Legislative Webcast being held this morning.
Water Notes- Altus is Full and Illinois River to be Cleaned Up.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~For the first time since 2001, the Lake Altus Lugert Reservoir is full- at least the Conservation Pool is at that level and they opened a gate and are actually letting a little water out and have done so since last Friday. This is excellent news for farmers who depend upon the Lake for irrigation needs later in the summer- especially in contrast to the nearly empty lake that we were facing in late summer a year ago.
On the eastern side of the state, plans have been made for a free float down the Illinois River this Friday as volunteers are needed to help clean up the river and get it ready for the summer season. In a news release from the Poultry Community Council, they indicate "Representatives from the poultry industry will be joining other volunteers in the first Illinois River Cleanup of 2007 on June 1. Others are encouraged to join the cleanup as well. Volunteers can float the river for free, spend time with like-minded people and help get the river in shape for the upcoming summer. "
The deadline for pre-registration is May 30 (that's today!). To pre-register, call the Oklahoma Scenic Rivers Commission at 918-456-3251 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Farm Bill Tidbits- Here comes Mr. Payment Limits!
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~He has tilted at this windmill for years- and Senator Charles Grassley of Iowa will take another crack at a hard cap on farm subsidy outlays per person in the 2007 Farm Bill. This go round, the Senator will call on his colleagues to place a $250,000 cap on farm program payments, $110,000 less than the current farm bill payment limitation in place.
Grassley acknowledges the key will be getting it by the House Ag Committee, where there has been strong opposition to it. He does believe that his fellow Senator from Iowa, Senator Harkin who is the Ag Committee Chairman in the Senate, will have in place such a cap in his "chairman's mark" that he will lay before the Senate Committee as the basis for drafting the Senate's version of the 2007 farm bill.
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