From: Ron Hays []
Sent: Monday, September 10, 2007 05:54
Subject: Oklahoma's Farm News Update
Oklahoma's latest farm and ranch news
Your Update from Ron Hays of RON for Monday September 10, 2007!
A service of Cusack Meats, Farm Credit of East Central Oklahoma & Midwest Farm Shows
-- President Bush Talks US Beef with Prime Minister Abe
-- OSU working on Ethanol Straight Out of the Field!
-- Seventy Five of Seventy Seven Oklahoma Counties Declared as Ag Disaster Areas by Secretary Johanns.
-- What to do about Seed Wheat here in the fall of 2007?
-- Goober Gatherings Set for Later this Month at Three Locations.
-- A Short Week for Congress as Farm Groups Talk of Urgency of Getting New Policy in Place.
-- Oklahomans John Clay and Ron Limon Named to Serve on National Commodity Boards

Howdy Neighbors!

Here's your morning farm news headlines from the Director of Farm Programming for the Radio Oklahoma Network, Ron Hays. We are proud to welcome Farm Credit of East Central Oklahoma as a regular sponsor of our daily email update. Farm Credit of East Central Oklahoma has ten branch offices to serve your farm financing needs and is dedicated to being your first choice for farm credit. Check out their website for more information by clicking here!

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President Bush Talks US Beef with Prime Minister Abe
During a one on one meeting on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum, President George W. Bush pressed his counterpart from Japan to further ease Japanese restrictions on U.S. beef imports.

According to Dan Price, a presidential national security aide, the President told Shinzo Abe that there is no reason for the Japanese to delay further the lifting of restrictions on "all cuts and all ages" of U.S. Beef. Price adds "It's up to the Japanese to respond."

In recent days, there has been a lot of concern that the Japanese farm ministry is in paralysis because of a string of scandals that has caused three different men to accept and then resign from the Minister of Ag position in the Abe government in a matter of weeks. The hope is that the direct appeal from the President to the Prime Minister will escalate the issue to the level where the Japanese have to deal with the realities that their twenty month of age beef restriction has not scientific legs to stand on.

OSU working on Ethanol Straight Out of the Field!
Oklahoma State University's sorghum-related biofuels research is taking a localized approach, with the aim of making possible the effective production of ethanol in the farmer's own field. Sweet sorghum can be grown throughout temperate climate zones of the United States, including Oklahoma. It provides high biomass yield with low irrigation and fertilizer requirements. Corn ethanol, in contrast, requires significant amounts of water for growing and processing. Best of all, producing ethanol from sweet sorghum is relatively easy, said Danielle Bellmer, biosystems engineer with the OSU Division of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources' Robert M. Kerr Food and Agricultural Products Center. "Just press the juice from the stalk, add yeast, allow fermentation to take place and you have ethanol," Bellmer said. "Unfortunately, the simple sugars derived from sweet sorghum have to be fermented immediately."

Throw in the expense of constructing and operating a central processing facility that would only operate the four to five months of the year when sorghum would be available in Oklahoma and the challenge multiplies. The beginnings of a possible solution presented itself when entrepreneur Lee McClune, president of Sorganol Production Co. Inc., approached FAPC scientists seeking their assistance in testing his newly designed field harvester capable of pressing and collecting juice from sweet sorghum. His proposed Sorganol process involved using the harvester, large storage bladders for fermentation and a mobile distillation unit for ethanol purification. OSU's initial involvement in the project was to look at the feasibility of fermenting the juice in the field.

The goal is to make production of ethanol from sweet sorghum economically viable by using an in-field processing system that minimizes transportation costs and capital investment. Equipment such as the harvester and other technology could be owned individually or cooperatively with a number of producers sharing and possibly helping one another process ethanol from sweet sorghum. In Oklahoma, the potential processing scenario might look like this: Plant sweet sorghum around mid-April, and then stagger plantings for two to three months. This would provide a harvest window of August through November. "Ethanol yields in Oklahoma could range from 300 gallons to 600 gallons per acre, depending on biomass yield, sugar content and juice expression efficiency," said Chad Godsey, biofuels team member and OSU Cooperative Extension cropping systems specialist with the department of plant and soil sciences.

We would like to do with sweet sorghum what the Brazilians have done with sugar cane: In Brazil, sugar cane ethanol provides a large percentage of their fuel needs," Bellmer said. The idea of using sweet sorghum for commercial ethanol production is not new. The reason sweet sorghum is not as popular as corn in terms of being a source of ethanol in the United States has been the need to ferment its simple sugars immediately and the high costs associated with a central processing plant that is operated only seasonally. "By determining a process by which agricultural producers can create ethanol in the field from sweet sorghum, that barrier is removed," Bellmer said. "Producers will then have a much higher value product to sell."

It's an intriguing idea- and one that could really "juice" up net returns for Oklahoma producers if this can be developed to a commercial level.

Seventy Five of Seventy Seven Oklahoma Counties Declared as Ag Disaster Areas by Secretary Johanns.
In response to a request from Governor Brad Henry, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Mike Johanns has declared 75 of Oklahoma's 77 counties disaster areas, making farmers and ranchers eligible for assistance from the United State Department of Agriculture. The two counties not included in the disaster declaration-Pontotoc and Pushmataha-will be named as contiguous counties, making farmers and ranchers in every county eligible for low-interest emergency loans from the USDA, provided eligibility requirements are met.

"This designation will not solve every problem that confronts Oklahoma farmers and ranchers, but it is a step in the right direction," Governor Henry said. "Oklahoma has seen some remarkable weather this year, and that has taken a toll on Oklahoma's individual agricultural producers and an industry that is vital to our state." The action by the USDA is in response to a letter sent July 11, 2007 from Governor. Henry to Sec. Johanns requesting assistance in the wake of extraordinary weather since January 1, 2007, including excessive rainfall, flooding, high winds, tornadoes and a late freeze.

What to do about Seed Wheat here in the fall of 2007?
That's one of the topics in the latest OSU Wheat Production Newsletter from Dr. Jeff Edwards of Oklahoma State University- he's our state wheat specialist. And he tells us that "many of the calls I have received over the past few weeks are in regards to the extremely tight supply of seed wheat. Growers are scrambling trying to find seed and it appears that adjustments in seeding rates, varieties, and planting date will be in order this fall." Dr. Edwards offers some answers to several of the most frequently asked questions about how to deal with limited amounts of seed wheat this year.

He says that question number one is- can I use seed wheat from the northern Great Plains? Jeff answers "I would only advise this as an absolute last resort. If a variety has been tested in southern KS or in northern TX, these data might be applicable to Oklahoma. Otherwise, it is hard to tell how a variety that does very well in another area of the country might perform here in Oklahoma. Some of the varieties that are rated as early in the Northern Great Plains, for example, are still later maturity than some of our latest-maturing varieties. Again, I would advise stretching the seed of proven varieties rather than going with an untested variety."

You can check out the rest of the questions that Dr. Edwards answers about seed wheat by going to our link on the Wheat Production Newsletter that we have on our website. Other topics from this latest WPN includes a look at getting rid of volunteer wheat before you plant and comments about the Plant Variety Protection Laws. Click below for the link on this latest WPN

Click here for the latest Wheat Production Newsletter from OSU

Goober Gatherings Set for Later this Month at Three Locations.
With peanut harvest only weeks away, area farmers are invited to participate in the Fall Peanut Field Tours conducted annually by Oklahoma State University Extension Service across the production region; sponsored in part by the Oklahoma Peanut Commission. The first of three scheduled tours, each set for 5:00 pm, will be held Tuesday, September 18 at the Caddo Research Station at Ft Cobb Lake. On Tuesday, September 25 Tillman County research plots will be showcased with the tour originating from the Fairgrounds in Frederick. Farmers are invited to gather at the Erick High School Cafeteria on Thursday, September 27 for the final tour of the season.

"Hull blasting", a method of determining maturity and anticipated harvest dates, will be available at all locations. Farmers are encouraged to bring representative samples of peanuts directly from the field to the tours to gauge their crop's progress. The OSU/USDA Peanut Improvement Team will discuss variety test plots, weed-disease and pest control as well as production practices and economics. Industry representatives co-sponsoring the "free" meal will be on hand to discuss input products used across the 16,000 acres of peanuts under production in Oklahoma.
Acreage of peanuts is well down from the close to 100,000 acres we produced not that many years ago- with a rapid decline coming after the Peanut Program was changed by Uncle Sam and a buyout of the poundage quotas made high cost of production areas unable to continue growing goobers.

For additional information, producers may contact their County OSU Extension office or the Oklahoma Peanut Commission (405-275-5994).

A Short Week for Congress as Farm Groups Talk of Urgency of Getting New Policy in Place.
Congress will only be in session the first three days of this week- as they take off the end of the week for a major Jewish holiday. Even as Congress tries to figure out their priorities for the remainder of the year, farm groups are in their offices urging that passing a 2007 Farm Bill needs to be one of those priorities.

A coalition of national commodity groups made the rounds at several Senate offices this past week to communicate the urgent need for a farm bill. The organizations met Wednesday morning at the National Association of Wheat Grower's Capitol Hill office and then made visits with Senate Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry Committee leaders and others during throughout day. The message was simple: with the expiration of current farm law looming on Sept. 30, Congress needs to act to lay down the new policy parameters for American agriculture. Farmers and their lenders are allocating capital for their businesses, obtaining financing and making planting decisions in an arena of uncertainty because updated farm legislation is not in place.

Another immediate consequence of the Sept. 30 deadline is that USDA will no longer have authority to issue advance direct payments. Authority for such payments expires at the end of the month, meaning wheat growers who might have counted on those funds for cash flow purposes will not be able to do so. During the last round of farm policy formulation, Congress passed and President George W. Bush signed the 2002 Farm Bill more than four months before the 1996 law would have expired. It is now a matter of days before significant pieces of the 2002 law expire, leaving only the permanent legislation dating back to 1938 and 1949. In order to start from a basis of consensus and hopefully simplify the conference process, the groups also recommended that the Senate Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry Committee begin its deliberations using the House-passed bill as its template. Several of the commodity organizations may make their own recommendations for adjustments to that bill, but all of the commodity groups agreed that this was an appropriate and useful place to start.

At this point, it's our understanding that the Senate Ag Committee will try to mark up their version of farm policy not this week, but next week. The question then becomes, if they get a bill assembled, when will Senate Leader Harry Reid allow time for debate on the measure. That is the tough question that has no answers at this point. Senator Tom Harkin, the Chairman of the Committee, now admits that the Senate has no time to consider the farm bill during the month of September, with several other issues higher on the Congressional food chain.

Click here to read Kansas Senator Pat Roberts' take on the timing of the Senate Farm Bill debate- he also sees no action before October on the Senate Floor.

Oklahomans John Clay and Ron Limon Named to Serve on National Commodity Boards
Secretary of Agriculture Mike Johanns has named four people to serve three year terms on the National Peanut Board. Also on Friday - the Secretary announced 33 appointments and three alternates to the United Soybean Board. Those appointees will also serve three-year terms.

On the peanut side of the ledger, John Clay of Carnegie was reappointed to serve another three years on the National Peanut Board, while Gayle White of Frederick was named as an alternate.

As far as the United Soybean Board was concerned, Ronald Limon of Oklahoma was named to serve a three year term, while Robert Greenlee from our state was named as one of three alternate members.

In both cases, these boards are responsible for collecting and then spending checkoff funds to help improve demand for their respective commodities.

Our thanks to Midwest Farm Shows, Cusack Meats and Farm Credit of East Central Oklahoma for their support of our daily Farm News Update. For your convenience, we have our sponsors' websites linked at the top of the email- check them out and let these folks know you appreciate the support of this daily email, as their sponsorship helps us keep this arriving in your inbox on a regular basis!

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