From: Ron Hays []
Sent: Sunday, March 02, 2008 22:41
Subject: Oklahoma's Farm News Update
Oklahoma's latest farm and ranch news
Your Update from Ron Hays of RON for Monday March 3, 2008!
A service of Farm Credit of East Central Oklahoma, KIS Futures & Midwest Farm Shows
-- Ag Secretary Schafer Confident That a Farm Bill Deal Will Come Together...
-- NFU Invades Sin City and Gets a Live Update From Inside the Washington Beltway on Sunday Night...
-- The Wheat Priorities from Outgoing NAWG President John Thaemert of Kansas
-- Was the Humane Society of the US truthful in their testimony to Congress???
-- Glover Cattle Company Purebred Sale Set for this Wednesday.
-- Beef Buzzing with Secretary Schafer, Randy Blach, Kevin Good and Andy Grosetta!!!
-- China- 2008 versus 1984!!!

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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Ag Secretary Schafer Confident That a Farm Bill Deal Will Come Together...
Speaking to the Commodity Classic in Nashville, Ag Secretary Ed Schafer offered his optimistic take on the 2007-2008 Farm Bill Standoff by saying he thinks that we will find a way to get a bill done that both bodies of Congress will approve and that will be acceptable to the White House.

He did tell reporters on Friday midday that comments by Senator Tom Harkin that the Administration is not being cooperative in helping find suitable budget offsets for increased farm bill spending actually means that the Admninistration has offered no offsets that Senator Harkin defines as "suitable." Schafer says the reality is that all three sides are offering budget offsets and that the trick is to find a mix that all three sides can live with and adds up to enough to pay for increased levels of spending above the budget baseline- whatever that number finally is.

Secretary Schafer did talk a little about the Beef Recall from the Westland plant in California as well- he treaded lightly around any criticism of the Humane Society of the US- praising them for offering the video "evidence" of abuse of the downer cows in the pictures they took. He did not offer any thoughts on the revelation that the Humane Society may well have lied to Congress as to the reason they did not offer the video promptly to USDA officials to prevent months of abuse to continue at that now closed plant.
We have some of Secreatary Schafer's comments linked below in a special roundup for you- click to take a listen.

CLick to listen to Ron with comments from Secretary Ed Schafer on the Farm Bill Standoff.

NFU Invades Sin City and Gets a Live Update From Inside the Washington Beltway on Sunday Night...
With the Farm Bill Discussions at a critical juncture, House Ag Committee Chairman Colin Peterson of Minnesota elected to stay in Washington and not travel to Las Vegas to keynote the opening banquet of the National Farmers Union. However, NFU members got a real time update from the ongoing negotiations and word that the Bush Administration seems to be caving on several key demands at this point in the talks. Peterson shared with the group a letter that some media outlets had earlier on Sunday from USDA that signals a willingness to go along with $10 billion above the budget baseline- and to back off the extreme AGI payment limits cap of $200,000 annually- now the Administration is talking a $500,000 cap- something the House Ag Committee has had as part of their plan. The Administration is still demanding real reform beyond that given the House Ag Committee Leadership back earlier in February when Peterson and Bob Goodlatte first proposed a measure that was loudly condemned for being too Draconian at six billion dollars above the budget baseline.

Peterson did take potshots at the Administration for some of their "offset" ideas. For example, the Administration is proposing limits on payments for Oxygen reimbursement under medicare- something that Peterson expressed disgust about- and Tom Buis added his unhappiness about in reaction after the Peterson presentation.

Peterson did say that if they can come to an agreement in general of how the money is to be offset- and how the monies are to be divided up between the various titles- he expects the Staffs to work over the Easter Recess the second half of March- and that Congress can return and pass a final farm bill version in early April in time to make an April 15 deadline- adding that he would support another thirty day extension to preserve budget baseline dollars till mid April to make all of this work.
We have an overview of Peterson's comments to the NFU on the farm bill, plus reaction from Tom Buis as well as from Ray Wulf, President of the American Farmers and Ranchers who tells us that he and the Oklahomans from AFR have their Oklahoma Farmers Union delegate badges on this week here in Vegas- does what happen to those wearing those OFU badges here in Vegas stay in Vegas? Stay tuned- we keep you update from this event. ANYWAY- we have on our front page of our website those three audio links for your review- check them out- the Peterson comments show what the Chairman is really expecting as we head into the first full week of March.

Click here to be jumped over to our front page of our website- go to the entry for March 3 for the coverage from the NFU Convention in Las Vegas.

The Wheat Priorities from Outgoing NAWG President John Thaemert of Kansas
The National Association of Wheat Growers had their time with the media late on Friday afternoon- which limited coverage of their news conference- but we were there in Nashville and heard from John Thaemert- outgoing President of NAWG.

The Kansas wheat farmer spoke of the need to get a farm bill done NOW- and he also defended Direct Payments and deplored the idea of cutting funding to crop insurance- he indicated the combination of a direct payment plus crop insurance has acted as a good safety net for many wheat producers who have had crop failures during the life of the 2002 farm bill- and he says that wheat has different risk compared to many of the row crops- and has to have that Direct Payment to have some certainty in the ups and downs of wheat production.

He also spoke of the wheat industry being at risk because of not having transgenic wheat accepted by domestic and international customers. The wheat industry feels they are slipping behind in the ability to capture a share of the overall US acreage because other crops that have biotech traits can be grown more economically on a per unit basis than wheat can.

You can hear some of the John Thaemert's comments during the Commodity Classic Wheat News Conference by clicking here.

Was the Humane Society of the US truthful in their testimony to Congress???
Maybe not. The meat industry website reported at the end of this past week that the District Attorney that has jurisdiction in Chino, California where the Westland beef processing plant is located is saying that they never told HSUS to not talk to USDA about the video they had secretly shot in the meat processing firm. In fact, the Meatingplace story says the DA's office recommended that HSUS should consult with USDA on the Downer Cow video.

The Meatingplace report says "There was never any suggestion that (HSUS) not speak with USDA. That was never our advice to them. In fact, we did recommend to them that they speak with USDA," San Bernardino County Assistant District Attorney for Criminal Operations Dennis Christy told in a telephone interview. Christy's statements counter testimony that HSUS Public Health Director Michael Greger gave at a House subcommittee hearing. He said the group withheld the video at the request of the district attorney's office."

It's interesting that the story adds that the Humane Society did not want to include USDA in their dealings with the DA's office as the public attorney's interviewed the informant working for the Humane Society. It appears that the Humane Society was not interested in getting any abuse addressed inside the plant as they were not willing to bring the video to USDA, the government entity that could have dealt with the issue almost instantly.

Glover Cattle Company Purebred Sale Set for this Wednesday.
National Cattle Services is helping put on the Glover Cattle Company Angus Bull Sale on this Wednesday, March 5, 2008 at 12:30 p.m. It will be held at the Stockman- Oklahoma Livestock Auction, Apache, Ok

Ronnie Glover will be selling 85 registered Angus bulls. All cattle will be at Auction barn by noon tomorrow for your inspection! Prior to that time they can be seen at the ranch, located 3 miles w of Elgin on US Hwy 277 to Jake Dunn Rd, 1 1/4 miles s. For more information on these cattle, call Ronnie Glover at 580/595-1494 or Eddie Sims- his number is 580/595- 1626 .

We have the link on the National Cattle Services website for the catalog for this sale of the Glover Cattle Company- Click and check it out.

Click here for the Catalog page for both the Glover Cattle Company sale as well as the Blackjack Angus Sale set for Saturday.

Beef Buzzing with Secretary Schafer, Randy Blach, Kevin Good and Andy Grosetta!!!
One of the issues brought up by the media in talking with Secretary Schafer on Friday while he was at the Commodity Classic in Nashville was the fallout of the Class 2 Beef Recall from the Hallmark/Westland plant in Chino, California.
Schafer told us from the question that we raised that he thinks this downer cow incident video taped by the Humane society was an isolated case- but that USDA is doing an audit of other processing plants to verify that.

He also believes that they will do a better job in monitoring the movement of older cows into slaughter in the days ahead because of this incident. You can hear the Secretary's comments on our Monday edition of the Beef Buzz, heard on great radio stations that are a part of the Radio Oklahoma Network. We also have it linked on our website on our Beef Buzz page- and invite you to check out not just this Beef Buzz- but also the programs from the last two weeks that are finally up on the Beef Buzz page at WWW.OklahomaFarmReport.Com.

We have them listed by date- and the week of February 18, we have Beef Buzz shows with Andy Grosetta, new President of the NCBA and Kevin Good of Cattlefax. The week of February 25- all five shows are with Randy Blach- and if you want some of the best insights on where the Beef Cattle Industry is today that are available anywhere at any price- go listen to these five Beef Buzz reports.
The Ed Schafer Beef Buzz on the Westland Beef Recall is the one dated March 3 at the bottom of the page.

Click here for the Beef Buzz with Ron and Secretary Schafer on the California Beef Recall Status...

China- 2008 versus 1984!!!
We have concluded our journey to China and to Korea with Class 13 of the Oklahoma Ag Leadership Program. I want to thank Dr. Joe Williams, Director of the Program, for allowing me to join the class in these travels- and a thank you to the class for making both Dr. Jim Trapp of OSU and myself feel welcome and a part of their group during our almost two weeks together.

As we wrap up our coverage of this event- I wanted to offer you five areas of differences that stick out to me in comparing China in 1984 when I traveled there with Class One of this Program versus China here in 2008. Here goes:
ONE- We were watched. In 1984, we were closely watched from the time we arrived in Beijing to the time we took the train across the border into Hong Kong. There was a feeling of relief when we left China and entered the then British Controlled Hong Kong. The feeling in the country was a tightly controlled and ruled Communist country. We saw soldiers with weapons everywhere we went- and westerners really stood out. In 2008, we were watched, but it was much lower key and the oppressive feeling I had several times back in 1984 was not really felt in 2008. Some of our class members did mention cars that were obviously following our group- and it was mentioned to me once that they were really nervous about having me around as a journalist- worried I might write something that would be negative.
TWO- Smog!!! The air around Beijing was dirty in 1984 when we arrived in the dead of winter and it was soot as much as anything. I remember being bothered some by the smoke of all the coal being burned to keep people warm. Here in 2008- it was a constant smell and look to the air- smog from automobiles as well as industrial output that gave us a constant curtain of smog that hung down upon all three cities that we were in.

THREE- Modern Transportation. I remember when we arrived in Beijing in 1984 seeing a small 1940ish truck pulling luggage carts around on the tarmac outside our plane. It was also seeing folks traveling mostly on foot or by bicycle. My, how things have changed as the Beijing airport was brand new- with their new terminal opening right after we left- and the Shanghai airport a magnificent structure that looked like two massive sea gulls. There were cars everywhere- millions in Beijing when there were probably not 50,000 when we were there in 1984. Add to that modern buses and subways- a lot of people are getting around in very modern transportation.
FOUR- The West has arrived! When we were in Beijing in 1984- there was almost nothing "western" in the city of Mao. That included clothes for the average Chinese. Except for their children, who did have some clothes that were from our world, adults were drably clothed in gray, black or olive green- mostly in the so called "Mao" jackets. There were no stores that bulged with modern stuff- the closest was a couple of small stories we saw in some of the neighborhoods that boosted of small nine to 13 inch black and white TV sets. Today, it's all about High Fashion and Fast Food- McDonalds, KFC, Pizza Hut and lots of Starbucks. The shopping in Beijing was truly world class- but also a good dose of third world peddler thrown in as well. At the Silk Street Market, nearly every vendor called out to us as we passed and wanted to sell us what we needed. Capitalism has arrived and currently co- exists with Communism.

FIVE- Private Enterprise. When in China in 1984, we were glorified tourists- we had a couple of stops that were somewhat farm related-we had a historic meeting with Chinese Ag officials in the Great Hall of the People- but not much more. Here in 2008, stop after stop showed off dairy processing, beef production, wholesale marketing, private Ag research and greenhouse research and production. And, in every case, it was a private enterprise that had been started in the late 1990s or early this decade. China is letting their people have enough wiggle room to work on solutions to feed their 1.3 billion mouths (and growing) three times a day.
It was a remarkable journey- and the progress made by China is nothing short of amazing. They have their problems as they modernize- and I think we saw a lot of opportunities of selling them Oklahoma farm goods, if we can successfully think like them to understand what they believe they want and need. The key is perception- and building relationships that can help you deliver on either the need or the want- or perhaps both.

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