From: Ron Hays []
Sent: Friday, February 22, 2008 01:24
Subject: Oklahoma's Farm News Update
Oklahoma's latest farm and ranch news
Your Update from Ron Hays of RON for Friday February 22, 2008!
A service of Farm Credit of East Central Oklahoma, American Farmers and Ranchers & Midwest Farm Shows
-- Field of Dreams- Beijing style!!!
-- Lots of Speculation about Nine Billion Over the Budget Baseline Among Farm Bill Watchers...
-- Deadline for the Oklahoma Ag Hall of Fame Nominations is Next Tuesday.
-- US Wheat Assuring All Concerned- No Export Restrictions Coming on Wheat from the USA.
-- Big Doings First of the week in Seoul- Cross Your Fingers for some good news for US Beef Access into South Korea!
-- Express Ranches to Sell 600 Bulls March 6 & 7...
-- China Quick Takes...

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 have 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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Field of Dreams- Beijing style!!!
Yesterday was another great day for the OALP travelers to China- and one of those unique moments of satisfaction for one of the class members- Joey Meibergen out of Enid. Joey's family agribusiness is W.B. Johnston and one of their divisions is Johnston Seed, whose President is Gene McVay. Johnston sells grass seed globally- and they have had great success with grasses suited for golf courses and sports fields.

But the crown jewel of sports fields is an Olympic venue- and Joey and a couple of us from the OALP delegation got to go and see the Olympic baseball field that will be used this summer in the 2008 Beijing Games that is seeded with Riveria Bermuda Grass seed supplied by Johnston Seed!

Because of security- there were only a limited number of folks they would allow inside the Baseball Stadium construction site. I accompanied Joey and Brian Jervis (Tulsa County Extension Horticulturist) to walk the field as we were hosted by Top Green, the sales outlet for the Johnston Seed products in China. We have a picture of the field- it was planted last May from seed and currently has a black plastic over it to keep it warm during the cold Beijing winter- but that will soon be swapped out for a clear plastic cover which will promote some early springtime growth- check out the picture as well as our conversation with Joey as we stood on his own Olympic Field of Dreams- an Oklahoma connection to the 2008 Summer Games in Beijing!

Click here for our page with coverage of the OALP group in China- go to the entry dated Feb. 21 for details on the trip to the Olympic Baseball park!

Lots of Speculation about Nine Billion Over the Budget Baseline Among Farm Bill Watchers...
It's still very much a state of flux when it comes to the 2007-2008 Farm Bill discussions- all behind closed doors. We are hearing from about three different directions that we could end up with a funding number of about nine billion dollars over the ten year budget baseline for the farm bill- with Senate leaders wanting to count separately a permanent ag disaster program that would be smaller than what the Senate passed at the end of this last year- five billion dollars to be spent over a five year period.

If that is the budget number- and it's announced as early as today or else the first half of next week- there is talk that we could see conferees named in the House and the hammering out of what you get for the money would really begin.

It still appears to be a fluid situation and there are no guarantees on anything- including how the Bush Administration will weigh in on any sort of deal. Ag Secretary Schafer has said George W. Bush's blessing on the measure will depend on the level of the reforms in the bill. Stay tuned- we have just about gotten through the President's Day weeklong recess- and it's hoped that we will move faster as Congress returns for a few weeks until a multiweek Easter holiday recess arrives March 15.

Deadline for the Oklahoma Ag Hall of Fame Nominations is Next Tuesday.
Let me give you a "final call" for nominations for the 2008 inductee into the Oklahoma Ag Hall of Fame as nominations need to be at the State Department of Agriculture no later than next Tuesday, February 26.

The 2007 Inductee was L.E. Castle, a retired vocational agriculture teacher who was the tenth inductee into the Hall of Fame.

We have the linked below for information about the call for entries and an entry form to be downloaded if you still need one. Be sure and get those in to Jason Harvey by close of business February 26 for them to be considered.

Click here for more information on the Oklahoma Ag Hall of Fame Entry Process.

US Wheat Assuring All Concerned- No Export Restrictions Coming on Wheat from the USA.
The President of US Wheat Associates, Alan Tracy, has offered some words in the weekly email newsletter of the organization about his conviction that we will not see Uncle Same try micromanage wheat supplies with any sort of restrictions on US wheat entering the global market.

Tracy says "U.S. wheat supplies will not be withheld from the world market. Nothing has changed since we stated last year that there is always wheat available at some price, to both domestic and international buyers, in today's genuinely open U.S. market. Supplies may be plentiful or tight, but the system finds a price that rationalizes the supply/demand balance. That is happening now. Last week, net U.S. export sales of 83,000 metric tons were 74 percent below the previous week, 80 percent under the prior 4-week average and well below trade estimates of 300,000 to 500,000 metric tons (MT). The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) forecasts 2007/08 U.S. wheat exports to reach 32.66 million MT. Commitments to date are 96 percent of total projected exports. With our remaining supplies dwindling, those who did not cover their needs in advance have been scrambling for what is left, driving prices to new heights.

"In the aftermath of the 1980 grain embargo against the former Soviet Union, federal law was changed to ensure that any sales embargo by the U.S. cannot single out agriculture. The Food Security Act of 1985 declares that U.S. policy is to foster and encourage agricultural exports and not to restrict or limit such exports except under the most compelling circumstances. More specifically, the Export Administration Act of 1999 states that any prohibition or limitation on agricultural exports should be imposed only when the President declares a national emergency under the Act. The global wheat situation may be uncomfortable for some players and is certainly unusual, but it is not even remotely close to being a national emergency. "

Big Doings First of the week in Seoul- Cross Your Fingers for some good news for US Beef Access into South Korea!
Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice will lead a U.S. delegation to the inauguration of President-elect Lee Myung-bak in South Korea scheduled for February 25th. The White House announced last week that Rice will head a delegation that will include new NCBA President Andy Groseta, along with Assistant U.S. Trade Representative Wendy Cutler, William Rhodes, chairman of the U.S.-Korea Business Council, Korean- American football star Hines Ward (2006 Superbowl MVP for the Pittsburgh Steelers), U.S. Forces Korea Commander Burwell Bell and U.S. ambassador to Seoul Alexander Vershbow.

The delegation is expected to make a strong case with Korean officials in support of resolving the U.S.- Korean beef trade issue and passing the U.S.-South Korea Free Trade Agreement.

Class 13 of the OALP will be right there at this historic time in Seoul- as we arrive the day after the swearing in of the new President and have meetings planned with our USDA Ag Trade Officer in Seoul as well as the US Meat Export Federation and even a Korean Ag Cooperative to discuss the beef issue. Here's hoping it turns out to be a turning point week for our beef exports into this important Asian market!

Express Ranches to Sell 600 Bulls March 6 & 7...
Express Ranches has set March 6 and 7 for their annual spring bull as commercial heifer sale at the ranch just north of Yukon, Oklahoma. In addition to the 600 bulls that are scheduled to be sold- there will be some 300 Commercial and Registered Females offered as well.

The Sale schedule will start on Thursday March 6 at 12:30 PM with 102 Limousin Bulls to be offered- followed by those 300 females at 3:00 PM. The next day, March 7, will see the sale begin at 10 AM with 498 Angus bulls expected to be offered.

We have a link below to their website where you can look at the catalog- or you can call for more information at -1800-664-3977. Express is offering free delivery on bulls purchased, with volume discounts starting with a five percent discount on 5 to 9 bulls and ten percent discounted when you buy ten or more bulls. And, if you pick the bull up on sale day- you can earn another $50 off per bull.

Click here for details on the Express Ranches Spring Bull Sale at their website...

China Quick Takes...
Some brief thoughts as we end the first half of our China-Korean travels with the Oklahoma Ag Leadership Program.

Chinese officials assured the group on Thursday that they are doing great in providing enough food for their people- but at the end of the presentation, did admit that they would need to import as much as 100 million tons of food grains by the year 2030- assuming that they could cover 95% of their projected needs. When you have 1.6 billion mouths to feed- and you want them eating not protesting- that's a tall order. I have linked below the powerpoint presentation from the Chinese on their food production and import situation.

Smog Rules! It was very smoggy on our last day in Beijing- and we hoped it would get better when we got to the smaller city of Xian- but it seemed as bad or worse when we arrived on China Eastern Airlines Thursday night- and Friday as I look toward the downtown of Xian- it looks mighty smoggy. Air pollution is a big issue for the Community Rulers to deal with.

The Labor Force Continues to Trump Mechanization- we noticed in the cattle feeding operation we walked through instance after instance where in the United States we flip a switch and a machine takes care of the job. At the feedlot, the silage is chopped by hand, loaded by hand, unloaded in the pit by hand, loaded by hand when they need it for feed, unloaded in the mixing room where corn meal and vitamins are added by hand- then they reloaded it into a truck by hand- carry it to the feedbunk where the cattle are- unload it into piles and then have a person come along and fork it into the feedbunk by hand. Get the picture???

Old is older than the US- Ancient is WAY BACK! We sat in a small courtyard of a home that is still used in the middle of Beijing where the pressure is on to tear these tiny homes down and build high rise apartments. These homes that surrounded the courtyard were built in 1620. Now what really qualifies for old is the city where Class 13 currently is staying in- the ancient capital of Xian- it's reign of being the capital of China stretches back before the time of Christ. And it's origins date back to 2000 BC. By the way, the group is not in Xian just to count the old things to be seen- but will be traveling on Saturday to the Agricultural Research hub of China- about 80 kilometers outside of Xian. We'll tell you more about that first of the week.

Click here and you can download the presentation given to the class by the Chinese Ministry of Agriculture while in Beijing!

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