From: Ron Hays []
Sent: Thursday, January 31, 2008 06:53
Subject: Oklahoma's Farm News Update
Oklahoma's latest farm and ranch news
Your Update from Ron Hays of RON for Thursday January 31, 2008!
A service of Farm Credit of East Central Oklahoma, KIS Futures & Midwest Farm Shows
-- High Stakes Poker- Congressional Democrats and Administration Officials are checking their cards.
-- Economic Stimulus Package Could Double Section 179 Deductions for this year...
-- Oklahoma Burn Ban Does Have a Few Exceptions...
-- Pasture Raised Livestock Guru to Speak in Oklahoma Next Month
-- Tomorrow is Deadline for Women in Ag Conference Registration.
-- Humane Treatment of Livestock Brought into Question with Damming Video from HSUS.
-- Super Bowl Sunday This Weekend Will Usher in a New Taco Bell Menu Item...

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.

We 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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High Stakes Poker- Congressional Democrats and Administration Officials are checking their cards.
It pretty well sums up where we are right now in the 2007-2008 farm bill debate as the Chairman of the House Ag Committee the last time we constructed a farm bill, former Texas lawmaker Larry Combest, told one of his constituent groups this week over in Arkansas that both sides are trying to get as much as they can in this battle that includes both different ideas on where policy needs to go and how it should be paid for.

Combest believes the date that is most critical for the Democrats is March 15- as that is the date he believes they have to deliver a Conference Report by that can easily pass both the House and the Senate. He believes there is huge political downside to the Democrats if they fail to perform.

On the other hand, he believes it is a huge policy and political mistake for the President to veto what he expects will be a fairly good farm bill that will likely come out of conference. He adds that he would probably be using the same poker card that Colin Peterson is playing right now if he was still in Peterson's position- that is sign our bill or get ready to implement the 1949 Permanent Law. Combest thinks there are a lot of folks that do not want to see that happen- and at the top of the list is the Bush Administration. We have some of Larry Combest's comments linked below- they are also on our website on our Farm Bill page on www.OklahomaFarmReport.Com.

Click here for an assessment of where we are in the 2007 Farm Bill Debate by Larry Combest.

Economic Stimulus Package Could Double Section 179 Deductions for this year...
Farmers that have a good income year in 2008- and with high wheat, corn, cotton and soybean prices- that is a possibility- it looks like the Economic Stimulus package that will give families the so called "tax rebate" which the Federal government will hand out and encourage folks to go out and spend spend spend to save the economy- this package will also give farmers a way to offset more income at least in 2008 compared to 2007 through the Section 179 deduction.

The stimulus proposal includes both a temporary increase in the first year direct expensing allowance under Section 179 of the tax code and a bonus depreciation deduction of 50 percent in the first year of depreciation. Both the increase in the Section 179 allowance and the bonus depreciation are available for this year only. The direct expensing allowance would increase to $250,000 from the current level of $125,000. The proposal also contemplates an increase in the phase out cap based on total equipment purchases in a year (i.e., you buy a $1 million worth of machinery in the year, you cannot utilize Section 179). The cap would be raised to $800,000 from the current $500,000.

In 2007, the Section 179 max was $128,000. Farm Equipment dealers could see more interest from farmers to update their equipment if this measure is passed and income flows freely this calendar year (assuming the cost of everything in the ag input world doesn't eat all the cash flow up).

Oklahoma Burn Ban Does Have a Few Exceptions...
The statewide burn ban announced by Governor Brad Henry on Tuesday makes most outdoor burning illegal but state forestry officials today said a few exemptions are available. Welders, cutting torches and metal grinders cause many fires each year but these activities are allowed as long as the work is conducted over a non- combustible surface at least 10 feet by 10 feet and when welding blankets or screens are used to cover vegetation. Wind speed must be less than 20 mph and a person other than the one doing the work must be present to serve as a fire watch with a pressurized water source or fire extinguisher.

Because of the ice storm of December, many farmers have lots of tree limbs and branches that came down and need to be dealt with. Woody debris such as limbs and branches may be burned under the following conditions:

An air-curtain incinerator is used to burn the debris below ground level.
Department of Environmental Quality Open Burning rules are followed.
The area where the burn is conducted is cleared of vegetation for a 100' radius.
Wind speed is less than 15 mph.
Water and water pumping equipment is onsite.

Campfires and bonfires are not allowed. Coleman- type pressurized stoves may be used outside but any fire resulting from the use of one of these stoves or any type grill will be considered an illegal fire. Native American ceremonial fires such as conducted for sweat lodges are exempt as long as the area around the fire is cleared of vegetation for at least 10 feet.
All the Burn Ban Rules are online at the ODA website, that we have linked below.

Click here for the ODAFF's page on the 2008 Burn Ban.

Pasture Raised Livestock Guru to Speak in Oklahoma Next Month
February is one of the busiest months of the year when it comes to events that staged to help farmers and ranchers in their farm/ranch operations. An event that has been brought to our attention that is coming up February 11-12 will feature a legend in the non traditional livestock production world- Joel Salatin- as he will be presenting his profitable approach to pasture raised livestock. He will explain the principles behind his success at a seminar at the La Quinta Inn at I-40 and Meridian in Oklahoma City. This seminar is being sponsored by the Oklahoma Land Stewardship Alliance.

The Virginia farmer sells pastured beef, pork, poultry, eggs, and rabbits to over 1,000 families, 30 restaurants, and four retail stores, all near his farm's Shenandoah Valley location. Known as an articulate, inspirational speaker, Salatin will describe his creative livestock management methods during the intensive two-day seminar. At Polyface Farm, each enterprise is "stacked" to complement the others. First cattle graze a pasture, eating the tall grass down to make space for the chickens. When the chickens follow, they peck fly eggs from the cow patties, supplying chemical-free pest control and fertility.

Salatin, whose son Daniel helps manage the farm, will also discuss "creating the farm your children will want." To register, contact Kim Barker with the Oklahoma Land Stewardship Alliance at 580.732.0244- deadline to register is this coming Monday, February 4. More details and a registration form is available on the Kerr Center's website- and we have that linked for you below.

Click here for more info on Joel Salatin's visit to Oklahoma Feb.11-12.

Tomorrow is Deadline for Women in Ag Conference Registration.
The Women in Ag Conference for 2008 is set for February 8 in Tonkawa and will have as it's theme "Hat's Off to Women in Agriculture." The conference will recognize the many roles that women play in today's agricultural community and provide these women with management skills that are needed to make informed business and family decisions.

Some of the sessions that will be offered include
Understanding and Reading Your Credit Score Financial Risks on Today's Farms
Sheep and Goat Care
Landowner Liability
and Understanding the Sandwich Generation-Caring for Parents, Children and Grandchildren

The deadline for registration is tomorrow, Friday February first. Registration forms and brochures about the conference have been distributed to many different rural banks, extension offices and Conservation District offices. If you don't have a registration form- or need more information, contact Susan Henning at the Kay County Conservation District office at 580-362- 2438.

Humane Treatment of Livestock Brought into Question with Damming Video from HSUS.
Video footage has been released by the Humane Society of the United States showing workers at a California slaughterhouse delivering repeated electric shocks to cows too sick or weak to stand on their own; drivers using forklifts to roll the "downer" cows on the ground in efforts to get them to stand up for inspection; and even a veterinary version of waterboarding in which high-intensity water sprays are shot up animals' noses. The Humane Society points out that these are all violations of state and federal laws designed to prevent animal cruelty and to keep unhealthy animals out of the food supply.

The President of the Humane Society of the United States, Wayne Pacelle, says the footage was taken at Hallmark Meat Packing in Chino, California. Hallmark's operations manager, Steve Mendell, expressed disbelief that employees used stun guns to get sick or injured animals on their feet for inspection. He said - that's impossible - electrical prods are not allowed on the property. As for other actions seen in the video, Mendell used such words as - I can't imagine that - that's absolutely not true - and impossible.

The American Meat Institute says the practices shown in the just-released video are disturbing and stand in sharp contrast to animal handling practices in the meat industry broadly. AMI Senior Vice President of Public Affairs, Janet Riley, says the video is - simply not typical of animal handling at U.S. meat plants.
New Secretary of Agriculture Ed Schafer quickly issued a statement saying that USDA will be investigating the facts behind this video and that as a result of the investigation, any violations of food safety or humane handling laws will be immediately acted upon.

One question that begs to be answered (and was raised by Schafer) is if you had such video footage- why would you not release it immediately? What's the agenda of the Humane Society by holding it? Secreatry Schafer said it is unfortunate that the Humane Society of the United States did not present this information to us when these alleged violations occurred in the fall of 2007. He adds - had we known at the time the alleged violations occurred, we would have initiated our investigation sooner and taken appropriate actions at that time.

Click here for the video footage released by the HSUS.

Super Bowl Sunday This Weekend Will Usher in a New Taco Bell Menu Item...
We reported a few weeks back that the Kentucky Fried Chicken folks were hoping to entice one of the players from either team to do the "chicken dance" in the endzone after a touchdown- and if they do- the player can earn $260,000 in his name to Colonel's Scholars, a scholarship fund set up by KFC. Well, that's not the only high profile fast food chain that will be pitching on the Super Bowl broadcast.

Taco Bell has announced the debut of its new Fiesta Platters, which will premiere in a television spot during the big game on Sunday. The Fiesta Platters feature either two soft tacos or a Grilled Stuft Burrito, available with either grilled chicken or carne asada steak, beans, rice and a side of tortilla chips. Taco Bell will offer the new meals for $4.99 for a limited time only.

Taco Bell is promoting its new Fiesta Platters with a 30-second television ad that will air during Super Bowl XLII, and will then offer the meals nationwide starting Monday February 4. The spot will feature two office employees who are stopped by a Mariachi who encourages them to sit down and enjoy their Fiesta Platter lunches.

Our thanks to Midwest Farm Shows, KIS Futures and Farm Credit of East Central Oklahomafor 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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Click here to check out WWW.OklahomaFarmReport.Com

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