From: Ron Hays []
Sent: Thursday, November 15, 2007 06:30
Subject: Oklahoma's Farm News Update
Oklahoma's latest farm and ranch news
Your Update from Ron Hays of RON for Thursday November 15, 2007!
A service of Cusack Meats, National Livestock Credit Corporation & Midwest Farm Shows
-- Dancing with the Stars- The Farm Bill Edition!
-- Meanwhile, the USDA and White House are in FULL attack mode on the Senate Ag Committee's Farm Bill
-- OIE or Bust!
-- Fire Danger Rising Across Oklahoma.
-- Speaking of Dry Conditions....
-- On the Horizon- Cattle Handling Event in Woodward
-- Death Tax Highlighted Yesterday in Washington

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 National Livestock Credit Corporation as a regular sponsor of our daily email update. National Livestock Credit Corporation works diligently to provide unsurpassed service to their customers in the area of livestock financing. Check out the National Livestock Family of Services website by clicking here.

Another of our sponsors on our daily email service is Cusack Meats, and Al Cusack wants everyone to know that he APPRECIATES Oklahoma's Farmers and Ranchers! You can go to the Cusack website and select some great gift packs of meat for giving- or for yourself! And, our email this morning is also a service of Midwest Farm Shows, producer of the Tulsa Farm Show coming up December 6-8, 2007, as well as the Southern Plains Farm Show in Oklahoma City next spring. Check out details of both of these exciting shows at the official website of Midwest Farm Shows by clicking here.

If you have received this by someone forwarding it to you, you are welcome to subscribe and get this weekday update sent to you directly by clicking here.

Dancing with the Stars- The Farm Bill Edition!
The dance between the Democratic and Republican leadership continued in the US Senate on Wednesday- some say there was progress being made while Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid filed for a cloture vote- Reid doing that in order to have a chance to vote on the effort to close debate over the amendment tomorrow. In fact, there were actually two cloture votes filed- one for the Grassley-Dorgan Payment Limits bill that will likely be the first amendment to eventually be voted on- and the second cloture was filed on the farm bill itself. It is very unlikely that Reid can peel enough Republicans away from McConnell to get to the magic number of 60 to invoke cloture when the vote is taken on Friday.

Meanwhile, efforts to move forward with debate on a handful of amendments failed Wednesday. Ag Committee Chairman Tom Harkin asked to move forward with debate on five different amendments - offered by both parties. Saxby Chambliss - Ranking Member of the Ag Committee - objected each time - citing the status of amendments. Chambliss says the Majority Leader has rejected a proposal for a reasonable compromise to move forward with amendments. He says the GOP simply wants Democrats and Republicans to have the opportunity to offer amendments in regular order and to have a debate on those amendments.

Farm groups are calling on the Senate to get moving on the farm bill. National Farmers Union and 16 other ag-related organizations have signed a letter to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell. The letter notes the importance of having 2007 Farm Bill programs in place as soon as possible. NFU President Tom Buis notes that with the Senate scheduled to recess for two weeks on Friday - there are only a few days remaining on the legislative calendar. He says farmers and ranchers need the certainty of a new farm bill for the coming year. According to Buis - the Senate should act quickly by considering only those amendments related to the farm bill.
The Drama- and Dancing- Continues.

Meanwhile, the USDA and White House are in FULL attack mode on the Senate Ag Committee's Farm Bill
The Acting Secretary of Agriculture, Chuck Conner, came riding into Kansas City on Wednesday to meet with members of the National Association of Farm Broadcasting- and he was in a combative mood. The Administration has decided to use the vacuum caused by the procedural battle over the farm bill on the Senate floor to beat the drum for their view of how the farm bill should be structured.

Conner called the "gimmicks" that make the Senate Ag Committee Bill okay under the Congressional Paygo rules criminal- especially if you or I were trying to do it in the real world. Conner told the broadcasters that if we tried to do it in our business we would be facing IRS scrutiny at the very least.

Conner also claimed that the Administration has the high ground from the perspective that they had conducted the Farm Bill Listening Sessions back in 2006 and they formulated their policy ideas off of what they heard during those sessions. (You may remember that Chuck Conner was the USDA official that hosted the Oklahoma City Farm Bill Listening Session that year as we Emceed the event)

We have an audio overview of a couple of the arguments that Conner made to the NAFB in the link below- take a listen by clicking.

Click here to listen to comments from Chuck Conner on the shortcomings of the Senate Ag Committee Farm Bill Proposal.

OIE or Bust!
During the news conference that Acting Secretary Conner held with Farm Broadcasters here in Kansas City- we had the chance to ask a beef question- asking the Secretary if the Administration's strategy to continue to demand full and immediate opening of the South Korean and Japanese markets for US beef is the best way to get those markets back for US cattle producers-or should we consider what those countries say they want- a more step by step reopening that would result in getting our beef into those markets in a significant way.

Conner told us that we need to stay focused on the OIE standards that say that beef from the US is safe when it comes to BSE with the US declared a "Controlled Risk" country back in May of this year.

Conner's argument is that we simply can't continue to have a different set of rules for every single country that we trade beef (or other products) with- that the international rules we have agreed to are also the international rules that these other countries say they have agreed to- Conner says it is time that they honor that pledge.
You can hear the Acting Secretary's answer on today's Beef Buzz by clicking below- our Beef Buzz is one of our regular radio features heard on radio stations across the state on the Radio Oklahoma Network.

Click here to listen to Ron and Secretary Conner on the beef trade with the Pacific Rim.

Fire Danger Rising Across Oklahoma.
State Forester John Burwell is urging Oklahomans to use caution during outdoor activities now that most of Oklahoma has experienced its first freeze. While most of Oklahoma is far from the drought conditions of 2005-2006, the amount of wildland fuels available to burn may be at or near record levels. This is due to excessive growth from the abundant moisture received across much of the State during the spring and summer months.

"The weather and wildland fuel conditions are being closely monitored throughout the state," said Burwell. "Oklahoma counties that border the Texas Panhandle are of the greatest concern at this time. However, the rest of Oklahoma is not far behind now that most of the grass has died and leaf fall in forested areas is rapidly occurring." When dry and windy conditions increase the fire danger, extreme caution is advised when using fire outdoors, such as burning brush piles or having a campfire.

"This Saturday marks the opening day of modern firearms deer season in Oklahoma," Burwell said. "Many hunters will be camping out and enjoying a campfire at the end of the day. We just urge that they please be sure that the fire is dead-out before leaving it unattended." Those intending to conduct outdoor burning should check the latest fire weather conditions by calling your local fire department or the nearest Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, Food, and Forestry (ODAFF) Forestry Division office. The Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, Food and Forestry - Forestry Division web page lists your nearest Forestry Division offices and current fire weather conditions at their website that we have linked below.

Click here for the latest fire weather conditions from the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture.

Speaking of Dry Conditions....
We mentioned yesterday about the word from the Oklahoma Crop Weather update that for the second straight week- we had no measurable rain anywhere in the state. Obviously, we have many many locations that have not had rain for literally months.

One region that falls into that category was pointed out to me in an email from Bob Dietrick of Tyrone. Most of the Oklahoma Panhandle is extremely dry and Bob writes "You all have nothing on us out here in the Panhandle on dry weather. The last measurable rain for most people west of 83 highway was in late July or early August. There is no wheat pasture, most all wheat was "dusted in " in late October for insurance purposes, not common sense purposes. I had some that was not blowing until I planted it to wheat, now every puff of wind stirs it. Tell the politicians to quit spouting hot air and send rain, Ha."

On the Horizon- Cattle Handling Event in Woodward
Mitch Zimmerman with the High Plains Technology Center shares with us information on a cattle handling seminar coming up tomorrow in Woodward.

High Plains Technology Center and the Northwest Cattleman's Association are sponsoring a low stress cattle handling workshop at High Plains Technology Center, Woodward in the seminar room. The presenter is Richard McConnell owner of Hand'n Hand Livestock Solutions. Richard is also the son-in- law of Bud Williams. The workshop will begin at 9:00 a.m. at no cost with lunch provided.

If you want to get info on this event- touch base with Mitch Zimmerman- the number at the High Plains Technology Center is 580-256-6618.

Death Tax Highlighted Yesterday in Washington
The Senate Finance Committee met to discuss the estate tax Wednesday. The committee's Ranking Member Chuck Grassley of Iowa notes Congress has made progress in efforts to protect small businesses and farmers from the estate tax - but says that will be undone in 2011 if Congress doesn't act before then. Grassley says the tax is unjust from both a philosophical and technical viewpoint. Philosophically - he says death should not be a taxable event. Technically - he says the death tax is fatally flawed.

During Wednesday's hearing - Grassley highlighted numbers made available by the Joint Committee on Taxation. He says the committee estimates 96- hundred estates will be subject to the estate tax in 2009. While that number falls to zero in 2010 - it jumps to almost 62-thousand in 2011 and increases year after year. Grassley says he believes the death tax should be completely repealed - but expresses a willingness to compromise - except on the issue of looking out for small business owners and family farmers.

One of those testifying before the Committee yesterday was Bob Stallman, President of the American Farm Bureau. Stallman says repeal of the tax is the group's top tax priority. The organization notes estate taxes can have devastating effects on their farm and ranch businesses when a family member dies - perhaps even forcing the family to liquidate all or part of the property and other assets to pay the tax. Stallman also notes the impact the tax has on young farmers and ranchers. He says they struggle enough to enter business on their own - and says the estate tax is a significant barrier to family farm succession plans.

Mr. Stallman is one of those farm group leaders that will be in Kansas City today to visit with Farm Broadcasters- and we look forward to talking Death Tax, Farm Bill and more with the AFBF leader. (and a whole lineup of other farm newsmakers as well!)

Our thanks to Midwest Farm Shows, Cusack Meats and National Livestock Credit Corporationfor 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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