~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Oklahoma's latest farm and ranch news
Your Update from Ron Hays of RON for Wednesday December 31, 2008!A service of Producers Cooperative Oil Mill, Midwest Farm Shows and Johnston Enterprises!
-- Fewer Piggies to Count- 2% Fewer Hogs in Latest USDA Count
-- Pesticide Applicator Licenses All Expire Today
-- Looking Back Over 2008- Talking Biofuels and Switchgrass
-- Looking Back Over 2008- We Remember Paul Hitch.
-- Looking Back Over 2008- a New Farm Bill Becomes Law
-- Looking Back Over 2008- Animal Rights Activists Persuade Voters in California to Bushwhack Animal Agriculture
-- Finally- Looking Back Over 2008- We Also Said Goodbye to Clem McSpadden
-- Let's Check the Markets!
Here's your morning farm news headlines from the Director of Farm Programming for the Radio Oklahoma Network, Ron Hays. It is wonderful to have as a regular sponsor on our daily email Johnston Enterprises- proud to be serving agriculture across Oklahoma and around the world since 1893. For more on Johnston Enterprises- click here for their website!
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Fewer Piggies to Count- 2% Fewer Hogs in Latest USDA Count
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~The US Quarterly Hogs and Pigs report shows a smaller US hog herd than traders expected- but the "kept for breeding" number was somewhat higher than had been predicted by analysts. The report shows that the all hogs and pigs number is 98% of a year ago at 66.708 million head. Traders predicted a one percent drop in the hog herd from a year ago.
The breeding herd also showed a drop of two percent from a year ago at 6.081 million head while traders were expecting a bigger drop in this number of three to four percent under a year ago. Market hogs also dropped about two percent to a total of 60.627 million head- a bigger drop than what the traders had as their pre report guesses.
We have the full report linked for you on our website- as well as a look in our story on the Oklahoma numbers- and audio from the National Pork Board Conference Call that had two analysts reviewing the numbers and where cash markets may be going in response to this report.
Click on the link below for our top story of this final day of 2008- as found on our website, www.OklahomaFarmReport.Com.
Click here for more on the Hog and Pigs Quarterly Report from USDA
Pesticide Applicator Licenses All Expire Today
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~All Oklahoma pesticide applicator licenses expire at the end of December and Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, Food, and Forestry officials urge licensees to renew before prices increase. License fees are $100 per category for commercial applicators and consultants while noncommercial fees are $50 per category, said Shalonda Ligons, administrative assistant for ODAFF's pesticide section. Those fees will double if not paid on time.
"The renewal will be considered to be late if not postmarked no later than January 1," she said. "State statutes do not allow fees to be over $500 annually for commercial applicators or $250 per year for noncommercial applicators if paid on time. That can double to $1,000 and $500, respectively, if they are not paid on time."
Procrastinators who wait past February 1, will be required to take a penalty test in one of the categories they are licensed. Ligons also said several pesticide applicator categories reach the end of their five year cycles this year including: aerial, agricultural plant, structural pest and demonstration and research. Applicators have the option of obtaining Continuing Education Units in the licensing categories during each five year period. Otherwise they must recertify by retesting. There is a $50 recertification fee no matter if applicators obtain the CEUs or retest.
Looking Back Over 2008- Talking Biofuels and Switchgrass
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Back in August- we were in Ardmore for the 2008 Southern Plains Beef Symposium, and had the chance to sit down with Wadell Altom, Senior Vice President and head of the Agriculture Division of the Noble Foundation and we talked about the Foundation's involvement in developing Switchgrass into a viable feedstock for biofuel production as a part of the drive for cellulosic ethanol.
The Noble Foundation is one of the partners that has come together to help form the Oklahoma Bioenergy Center, along with the University of Oklahoma and Oklahoma State University. The Noble Foundation has established plots of switchgrass in both southern Oklahoma into northeastern Texas as well as in Texas County in the Oklahoma Panhandle- looking for answers in how to raise this native grass as a monoculture and get it to a point of being productive enough to be profitable as a biofuel feedstock.
We have our conversation with Wadell up as a "podcast" on our website-
and we have the link to our webpage with the audio on it linked below- the
work that is going on right now by Noble is really fascinating- and it
proves that while there may be reason for optimism in the days ahead for
switchgrass as a biofuel answer- lots of questions will have to be
answered before that becomes a reality.
Click here to jump back in time to listen to our August 2008 visit with Wadell Altom about Noble's work on Switchgrass
Looking Back Over 2008- We Remember Paul Hitch.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~We lost some great Oklahomans in 2008- Paul Hitch of Guymon certainly fits that description as the Guymon cattle and hog producer lost his battle with cancer this past spring.
Back in February, we were a part of a tribute that was paid to Paul by the National Cattlemen's Beef Association at their annual meeting in Reno. 2008 was to the year that Paul was going to serve as the President of the NCBA, but he choose to resign a little over a year ago to allow the organization to have a smooth transition to a new leader, which turned out to be Andy Grosetta of Arizona.
We have the audio from Reno from back in February linked below- it includes some comments from yours truly, from the NCBA leadership and from Paul himself. Click to remember Paul's comments that day- which were filled with both humor and a lot of wisdom.
Click here for the Bovine Blog on our website from this past February- scroll down to the Feb 11 entry and click there to listen to the tribute to Paul Hitch.
Looking Back Over 2008- a New Farm Bill Becomes Law
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~It started out as the 2007 Farm Bill- then was the 2007- 2008 farm bill- and then we finally gave up on 2007 and simply have called it the 2008 farm bill- and it finally traveled back and forth enough times between Capitol Hill and the White House that the President's repeated vetoes were finally overridden and the measure became law June 20, 2008.
Along the way- there were lots of arguments and give and take- although the Republicans told us time and time again how Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid made sure that they were on the outside looking in as critical decisions were made. In particular, Speaker Pelosi demanded that more money than ever be put into nutrition programs- and it was. She and others also demanded cuts in the Commodity Title- and at least of those cuts stuck.
We kept a page going throughout a lot of the farm bill process- and we have it linked below- you can click on the links on it for audio and for a look back at some of the statements made by farm groups and a lot more. I bet if you spend a few minutes on that page- you will end up being reminded of some of the law making process that you had forgotten about.
Click here to jump back in time to the 2007-2008 Farm Bill Process.
Looking Back Over 2008- Animal Rights Activists Persuade Voters in California to Bushwhack Animal Agriculture
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~One of several stories that evolved around the November elections here in 2008 was that of the growing strength of animal rights activists. The signature win for the Humane Society of the US and others was the overwhelming passage of Prop 2 in California- this measure will ban laying hens in cages, veal calves in confinement and sows in gestation crates and proponents of Prop 2 garnered over 62% of the vote.
Wayne Pacelle of the HSUS was clucking after the vote- and here is a link to his blog on the day after the election.
On the day of the election- we were actually in Grapevine, Texas for the annual meeting of the Texas Cattle Feeders Association- and they had as one of their key speakers- Steve Kopperud, who spoke of the danger of animal rights groups who want to destroy animal agriculture as we know it. We have the link to our story with Kopperud from that day below- and it includes audio comments about what Prop 2 will do to animal agriculture in California with its passage.
Click here for some insights into the animal rights movement as we covered it during 2008
Finally- Looking Back Over 2008- We Also Said Goodbye to Clem McSpadden
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Another of those great Oklahomans that we lost in 2008 was former Congressman and State Senator Clem McSpadden, who died in early July at the age of 82, after an extended battle with cancer. Besides his days as a public servant, McSpadden was known worldwide as one of the premiere rodeo announcers in the professional sport of Rodeo.
As we end 2008- I thought it might be good to close with one of Clem's creations- what he called the Cowboy's Prayer.
Our gracious and Heavenly Father, We pause in the midst of this festive
occasion, mindful and thoughtful of the guidance that You have given
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Let's Check the Markets!
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