From: Ron Hays []
Sent: Tuesday, January 08, 2008 06:16
Subject: Oklahoma's Farm News Update
Oklahoma's latest farm and ranch news
Your Update from Ron Hays of RON for Tuesday January 8, 2008!
A service of Farm Credit of East Central Oklahoma, KIS Futures & Midwest Farm Shows
-- The 2008 Farm Bill Conference- NO prying eyes allowed!
-- From the Northern Front- The Fight Over Payment Limits is Not Done!
-- Monthly Crop Weather Update Shows Wheat Crop in mostly "fair to good" shape.
-- Thinking Cotton as the 2008 Beltwide Conference Kicks Off in Nashville.
-- USDA-FSIS E. Coli Workshop for Small and Very Small Plants set for Oklahoma City
-- Herriman Warns an Oklahoma Dam Could be Next.
-- Talking Packer Ban and COOL with Jay Truitt on the Beef Buzz!

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 KIS Futures as a regular sponsor of our daily E-Mail. KIS Futures provides Oklahoma Farmers & Ranchers with futures & options hedging services in the livestock and grain markets- Click here for their website or call them at 1-800-256-2555.

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The 2008 Farm Bill Conference- NO prying eyes allowed!
While it was not the primary reason for the meeting this past weekend in Dallas, wheat growers that gathered for their strategic planning session did get updated on farm bill developments from their Washington staff- and Oklahoma Wheat Grower Past President Jeff Krehbiel says he came away worried about wheat getting shortchanged in the conference process.

Krehbiel says the apparent hope of the two ag committee chairmen, Mr. Peterson of Minnesota and Mr. Harkin of Iowa is to close the door with a "do not disturb" sign hanging on the doorknob and write the final version of the 2007-2008 farm bill themselves.

He does says they are hearing that input from other farm state lawmakers will be accepted- but there seems to be no desire to have an "open" Conference Committee as was held when the 2002 farm law came together. We have the segment of the conversation we had with Jeff Krehbiel on the farm bill linked below- check it out.

Click here to listen to Ron with his overview of comments from Jeff Krehbiel on where we currently stand in the farm bill process.

From the Northern Front- The Fight Over Payment Limits is Not Done!
Our broadcast colleagues from the Red River Radio Network in North Dakota do a great job with a regular email for their part of the world- and have a excellent working relationship with key lawmakers like Senator Kent Conrad of North Dakota and House Ag Committee Chairman Colin Peterson of Minnesota. In their latest update- they offer some comments from both of these lawmakers as the Holiday recess begins to wind down here in 2008.

The Red River Network reports "North Dakota Senator Kent Conrad told members of his Agriculture Advisory Committee that there are several differences between the House and Senate versions of the Farm Bill. Conrad lists the major differences as financing, payment limits and reform, conservation, and alternative counter-cyclical programs. The White House veto threat remains a concern. "We've had a sobering note injected into all of this and that's the conversations with representatives of the White House in which they continue to threaten a veto if there is any any new revenue associated with this bill." Conrad, who chairs the Senate Budget Committee, says only one-half of one percent of the $286 billion cost of the five-year Farm Bill is new revenue and is from very non- controversial areas."

Meanwhile, the word from Colin Peterson is "veto." Red River Network tells us "House Agriculture Committee Chairman Collin Peterson thinks President Bush will veto the Farm Bill over payment limits. Peterson has met with Acting Agriculture Secretary Chuck Conner four times in recent days. The Bush administration wants to limit crop subsidies to farmers with an adjusted gross income below $200,000 a year. Given their position, Peterson says Farm Bill conferees will need to write stronger language."

Monthly Crop Weather Update Shows Wheat Crop in mostly "fair to good" shape.
The condition of all small grain crops was mostly in the fair to good range, with the 2008 winter wheat crop being rated in 70% fair to good. The wheat condition responded slowly in December to the recent moisture due to the cold temperatures. Wheat emergence remained behind the five-year average. Grazing was still limited in areas due to an insufficient root system to support cattle grazing. Twenty-three percent of the winter wheat was being grazed, 17 points behind normal.

The rain and ice of December brought disaster to tree crops like pecans and peaches, with those loses still being determined. Oklahoma did see an improvement during the month in topsoil moisture supplies, with ratings showing sixty percent in adequate to surplus condition as we begin the New Year.

Our neighbor to the north, Kansas, finds their wheat crop also in fair to good shape, with a rating of 73% in fair to good condition. The Texas crop continues to struggle in the High Plains and is in much need of moisture. Winter wheat improved in the Low Plains after receiving some moisture during the Christmas holidays. Winter wheat was looking good in the Blacklands. Winter wheat and oats were beginning to suffer due to lack of moisture in the Edwards Plateau and South Texas. Fifty four percent of the Texas wheat crop is now ranked in the poor to very poor category.

Click here for the Oklahoma December Crop Weather Summary.

Thinking Cotton as the 2008 Beltwide Conference Kicks Off in Nashville.
The 2008 Beltwide Cotton Conference is getting underway today in Nashville, with thousands of cotton industry folks gathering at Opryland to talk about the challenges to their industry. We will be keeping our ears and eyes open as this meeting progresses the next few days.

There's lots to talk about. Cotton has been the official whipping boy of the Doha Round of world trade talks, with the Europeans urging the poor west African nations(like Mali and Burkina Faso) to complain loud and long about the evil US cotton subsidies. Singing harmony with the Africans are Brazilian officials, who have garnered another ruling in recent days against the US cotton subsidy programs- as the WTO claims we have not done enough to stop harming farmers in other countries from our evil cotton subsidies.

Of course, here at home, the north versus south battle over payment limits continues as we take the 2007 Farm Bill proposals passed by the House and Senate and go to Conference. As we noted earlier, there is talk that the Administration is still pressing the Congress to lower the ceiling on payment limits dramatically or face a potential veto. That could prove to be disastrous for larger cotton producers if Congress is forced this direction by the Bush Administration.

Meanwhile our friend Vic writes and tells us that "upland cotton growers in Texas and Oklahoma are the only U.S.producers in 2007 to produce more cotton than the previous year of 2006. According to National Cotton Council statistics, as of Dec. 15, 2007, 5,060,400 cotton bales have been ginned in the three states. This is compared to 4,384,400 bales in 2006. Texas is the big producer with 4,813,750 bales, compared to 4,169,700 in 2006. In its 2007 production, Oklahoma has yielded 214,750 bales, compared to 150,450 in 2006. In 2007, Kansas has produced 31,900 bales, compared to 64,250 in 2006. In 2007, Kansas farmers gambled with the biofuels market, growing more corn and grain sorghum.
Nationally, less upland cotton, 14,467,300 bales, was produced in 2007 in the 15 cotton-producing states, compared to 17,657,200 in 2006.

USDA-FSIS E. Coli Workshop for Small and Very Small Plants set for Oklahoma City
Small and very small plant owners and operators are invited to join USDA's Food Safety and Inspection Service inspection personnel at an outreach session in Oklahoma City Wednesday evening to bring industry and inspection personnel together to promote a uniform understanding of the regulations. As part of the initiative to enhance outreach to assist small and very small plants outlined in the FSIS strategic implementation plan, FSIS is holding a series of outreach sessions. The sessions will include a walk- through of a variety of topics, which may include HACCP, Sanitation performance Standards, Sanitation SOPs, Rules of Practice, Food Defense strategies, E. coli 0157:H7 workshops, and Notices 65-07, 66-07 and 68-07.

The Oklahoma City session is planned for Wednesday, January 9, 2008, beginning at 6:30 PM at the Crown Plaza Oklahoma City located at 2945 Northwest Expressway. We have a link below more information on registering for this session. Our thanks to Dr. Jacob Nelson of OSU for a heads up on this event.

Here's the USDA link for more information on this E-Coli Prevention Conference.

Herriman Warns an Oklahoma Dam Could be Next.
The recent rupture of an earthen levy in Nevada should serve as a warning to Oklahoma; it's time to focus on the rehabilitation of our flood control dams according to the President of the Oklahoma Association of Conservation Districts (OACD). "The levy break in Nevada should wake everyone up as to the seriousness of allowing infrastructure that holds back water to fail," said Scotty Herriman, OACD President. "Most Oklahomans fail to realize that our state has more flood control dams than any other state in the Union and that without additional operation, maintenance and repair work one day it will be Oklahoma instead of Nevada that is in the news."

This past Saturday morning, a section of an irrigation canal in Frenley Nevada ruptured after receiving heavy rain and snow fall, pouring 3 feet of near freezing water into homes and stranding over 3,000 people. "The damage that appears to have caused this levy to break is very similar to the problems facing many of our states flood control dams due to the shortage of operation and maintenance funds," Herriman said. "Beavers, gophers, and other burrowing animals are constantly digging in these dams. Trees and other brush as well as natural erosion are also weakening many of these structures and we just don't have enough money to keep up with the damage. This should really serve as a wake up call for Oklahoma."

Herriman said that figures from the Oklahoma Conservation Commission show a need for at least $25 million spread out over the next five years just to address the day-to-day operation and maintenance of Oklahoma's flood control infrastructure. This is on top of the need for funds to rehabilitate the 1000 plus flood control dams that will be past their design life over the course of the next ten years. "Last year we received a record $6.5 million for watershed dam rehabilitation which was matched 2 to 1 by the Federal Government for a total of $19.5 million," Herriman said. "We are very appreciative of this appropriation, but when it takes on average $1 million per dam for rehabilitation and we have over 1,000 dams that need to be rehabilitated, it doesn't go as far as you would think. This also doesn't cover the additional costs for operations and maintenance to fix damage like what we saw in Nevada."

Talking Packer Ban and COOL with Jay Truitt on the Beef Buzz!
We sat down and spent time on the longline yesterday evening with Jay Truitt, Vice President of the Washington office of the National Cattlemen's Beef Association- and we talked about the full gamut of things going on right now that impacts the livelihood of cattle producers.

One of those topics was the 2007-2008 farm bill- and especially one key programs in the measures. One of the proposals that came out of the Senate Ag Committee is a Packer Ban on Livestock Ownership- there was not attempt to strip that out on the Senate floor and we talk with Jay about the efforts to not allow it to survive the conference process.

We also talked about the compromise language on mandatory Country of Origin Labeling that was signed off on by major livestock groups back this past summer- and would change current law that is set to take effect this coming October. Jay says we really need the revision to become law sooner rather than later- so the rules and regs of COOL can be written by USDA and be ready for the industry to adapt to this fall.
We feature Jay's comments on these two issues on today's Beef Buzz- heard on the Radio Oklahoma Network- and you can check out today's program by clicking on the link provided below.

Click here to go Beef Buzzing with Ron and Jay Truitt as they talk Cattle and the Farm Bill.

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