From: Ron Hays [] on behalf of Ron Hays []
Sent: Saturday, December 26, 2009 5:49 PM
Subject: Oklahoma's Farm News Update
Oklahoma's latest farm and ranch news
Your Update from Ron Hays of RON for Monday December 28, 2009
A service of Johnston Enterprises, P & K Equipment/ P & K Wind Energy and American Farmers & Ranchers Mutual Insurance Company!
-- SURE Signup Begins at FSA Offices January 4 for 2008 Losses
-- NCBA Files Appeal of EPA's "Endangerment Finding" Rule
-- Including DNA Information in EPDs May Allow Producers to Select Animals Truly Superior at a Younger Age
-- Oklahoma Firm Recalls 248,000 lbs. of beef on E. coli concerns
-- The Biggest Biotech Stories of 2009- Borlaug, Chinese GM Rice and the Corn Genome
-- Oklahoma Department of Ag Employees Facing Three Days of Furlough in January
-- Let's Check the Markets!

Howdy Neighbors!

Here's your morning farm news headlines from the Director of Farm Programming for the Radio Oklahoma Network, Ron Hays. We are pleased to have American Farmers & Ranchers Mutual Insurance Company as a regular sponsor of our daily update- click here to go to their AFR web site to learn more about their efforts to serve rural America!

It is also great to have as an annual 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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SURE Signup Begins at FSA Offices January 4 for 2008 Losses
Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced on Christmas Eve that USDA has implemented the new Supplemental Revenue Assistance Payments program (SURE) in accordance with the 2008 Farm Bill. Vilsack also encouraged producers to visit their USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA) county office beginning on January 4, 2010, to participate in the program if they suffered crop production losses during the 2008 crop year. It is our understanding that signup for 2009 losses will follow in the near future- altho payments for 2009 will not occur for quite some time.

"This program is an important component of the farm safety net and will provide financial assistance to producers who have suffered crop losses due to natural disasters," said Vilsack. "Producers will receive payments beginning in January, in time to help them with planning for next year's crop."

SURE provides crop disaster assistance payments to eligible producers on farms that have incurred crop production or crop quality losses. The program takes into consideration crop losses on all crops grown by a producer nationwide. SURE provides assistance in an amount equal to 60 percent of the difference between the SURE farm guarantee and total farm revenue. The farm guarantee is based on the amount of crop insurance and Non-insured Crop Disaster Assistance Program (NAP) coverage on the farm. Total farm revenue takes into account the actual value of production on the farm as well as insurance indemnities and certain farm program payments.

In touching base with Francie Tolle, Oklahoma State FSA Director, there has been a lot of training for SURE- and she believes that county offices will be ready to handle signup come next Monday. She adds that it is a very complicated program and the big difference that farmers will have to understand that any payments for loss will be based off of your whole farm situation.
Click on the link below for more on the announcement- and we hope to be talking with Francie this week to get her insights on how this program will work for Oklahoma farmers.

Click here for more on the SURE program- now ready for signup as of January 4, 2010

NCBA Files Appeal of EPA's "Endangerment Finding" Rule

The National Cattlemen's Beef Association (NCBA) filed a petition yesterday in the DC Circuit Court of Appeals challenging the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) recent greenhouse gas (GHG) "endangerment finding" rule. "EPA's finding is not based on a rigorous scientific analysis; yet it would trigger a cascade of future greenhouse gas regulations with sweeping impacts across the entire U.S. economy," said Tamara Thies, chief environmental counsel. "Why the Administration decided to move forward on this type of rule when there's so much uncertainty surrounding humans' contribution to climate change is perplexing," Thies said.

The endangerment finding does not in and of itself regulate GHGs, but it is a critical step in the process for GHG regulation under the Clean Air Act (CAA). The rule provides the foundation for EPA for the first time to regulate GHGs from small and large sources throughout the economy, including farms, hospitals, office buildings and schools. For example, because of this rule, EPA will be able to tell farmers that they can only emit a certain level of GHGs; if they go over that amount, they can incur severe penalties and be forced to curtail production. The rule also sets the stage for citizen suits against large and small businesses that are the backbones of the U.S. economy. In addition, increased energy costs associated with this ruling will be devastating for agriculture and the public as a whole.

Under the rule, EPA defined air pollution to include six greenhouse gases, and stated that manmade greenhouse gases endanger public health and the environment.

Click on the link below for more on the appeal that NCBA is mounting.

Click here for more on the NCBA Appeal of the GHG Rule that EPA Has Unveiled.

Including DNA Information in EPDs May Allow Producers to Select Animals Truly Superior at a Younger Age
Since the late 1970s, expected progeny differences (EPDs) have changed the way beef producers make selection and mating decisions. Dr. Matt Spangler, assistant professor and beef genetics extension specialist, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, says the introduction of EPDs empowered producers to make better decisions, leading to faster genetic progress.

"The accuracies associated with EPDs increase as more information becomes available," he says. "The first EPD calculations for a young animal are an estimate based on its parents' pedigree index values and possibly some of its own performance data. For this reason, the accuracies are low until an animal has recorded progeny data, which may never happen in a commercial setting."

One of the exciting advances for the beef industry is the addition of DNA data for use in the EPD calculation. Dr. Spangler says "DNA technology has the potential to supply us with information early in the animal's life that can help increase the accuracy of its EPDs. If the EPD accuracies are increased on a young animal, producers have the ability to make decisions about that animal with more confidence."

Read more about this brave new world when it comes to this fresh flush of data that comes with DNA data being included- just click on our link below for this story that is found in our Agri-Innovations area of our website.

Click here for more on DNA data being added into the EPDs for the Angus breed.

Oklahoma Firm Recalls 248,000 lbs. of beef on E. coli concerns
National Steak and Poultry is recalling about 248,000 pounds of beef products that may be contaminated with E. coli O157:H7, the USDA's Food Safety and Inspection Service announced on Christmas Eve. The extensive list of products made by the Owasso, Okla. establishment and the labels under which they were sold is available by clicking on the link below.

Each package bears a label with the establishment number "EST. 6010T" inside the USDA mark of inspection and packaging dates of "10/12/2009," "10/13/2009," "10/14/2009," or "10/21/2009." These products were shipped to restaurants nationwide. There are 21 products that USDA identifies in their release on the FSIS website.

FSIS became aware of the problem during the course of an investigation of a cluster of E. coli O157:H7 illnesses. Working with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and state health and agriculture departments, FSIS determined that there is an association between non-intact steaks (blade tenderized prior to further processing) and illnesses in Colorado, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, South Dakota and Washington. FSIS is continuing to work with the CDC and affected state public health partners on the investigation.

On the National Steak website, the following statement addresses this situation and explains that they have undertaken this voluntary recall. "We take the safety and wholesomeness of our products very seriously and that's why we are working with the USDA to conduct this recall. This is the first recall in our company's nearly 30-year history. Given our long history of focusing on product safety and our standards of excellence, we will error on the side of being cautious with this recall. If you have any questions please contact the National Steak and Poultry hotline #1-866-439-7348."

Click here for the USDA webpage that details this recall and the products that are involved.

The Biggest Biotech Stories of 2009- Borlaug, Chinese GM Rice and the Corn Genome
The Council for Biotechnology Information (CBI) experts have selected three 2009 stories that have stood out in terms of their significance and impact on the future of agricultural biotechnology worldwide. We have details of these stories on our website- click on the link below to read all about them.

One of the stories that the biotech folks think is noteworthy is the legacy left behind after the death in 2009 of Norman Borlaug. Dr. Borlaug's advances in plant breeding, which allowed countries like Mexico and India to become food self-sufficient and as a result, saved one billion lives. He truly was the father of the Green Revolution on a global basis.

Other CBI experts suggested that the mapping of the corn genome qualifies as the biggest ag biotech story of the year because of what can be achieved when we understand the genome sequence of this hugely important crop. Dr. Larry Heatherly of the University of Tennessee chose the mapping of the corn genome as the story of the year because "this achievement will lead to new/improved quality traits, enhanced genetic pest resistance, and increased production with fewer inputs resulting in lower cost of production and a more sustainable economic production system."

Read more about these two top stories in biotech for 2009- plus the third story that this Council selected as a major story of the past year- the Chinese deciding to move forward in producing a genetically modified rice.

Click here for more on these leading stories of the year from a Biotech perspective.

Oklahoma Department of Ag Employees Facing Three Days of Furlough in January
We talked just before Christmas with Secretary of Agriculture Terry Peach about the continuing budget shortfall that the state of Oklahoma is facing- and Secretary Peach says that most Oklahoma Department of Ag employees will be furloughed three days during the month of January. He says depending on what the Legislature does in either a Special Session or early in the regular session after February first, that level of furloughs could be a regular monthly fixture through June.

Certain critical employees, for example meat inspectors, will not be furloughed in order to continue to offer food safety services for the public.

Secretary Peach says that the amount of work will remain the same- but that it just will have to covered with three fewer work days over the course of the month of January.

We have our conversation with Terry Peach on our website- plus a link back to an earlier conversation we had with the Secretary about this budget crisis- and how that might impact the agency in the new fiscal year starting July 1, 2010. Click on the link below.

Click here for more with Secretary Terry Peach on the current budget shortfall and the fallout for the Oklahoma Dept of Ag.

Our thanks to Midwest Farms Shows, PCOM, P & K Equipment/ P & K Wind Energy, Johnston Enterprises, AFR and KIS Futures for their support of our daily Farm News Update. For your convenience, we have our sponsors' websites linked here- just click on their name to jump to their website- check their sites 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!

We also invite you to check out our website at the link below to check out an archive of these daily emails, audio reports and top farm news story links from around the globe.

Click here to check out WWW.OklahomaFarmReport.Com

Let's Check the Markets!
We've had requests to include Canola prices for your convenience here- and we will be doing so on a regular basis. Current cash price for Canola is $7.60 per bushel, while the 2010 New Crop contracts for Canola are now available are $7.80 per bushel- delivered to local participating elevators that are working with PCOM.

Here are some links we will leave in place on an ongoing basis- Click on the name of the report to go to that link:
Our Daily Market Wrapup from the Radio Oklahoma Network with Ed Richards and Tom Leffler- analyzing the Futures Markets from the previous Day-
Ron on RON Markets as heard on K101 mornings with cash and futures reviewed- includes where the Cash Cattle market stands, the latest Feeder Cattle Markets Etc.
Previous Day's Wheat Market Recap- Two Pager From The Kansas City Board of Trade looks at all three US Wheat Futures Exchanges with extra info on Hard Red Winter Wheat and the why of that day's market.
Daily Oklahoma Cash Grain Prices- As Reported by the Oklahoma Dept. of Agriculture. <
The National Daily Feeder & Stocker Cattle Summary- as prepared by USDA.
The National Daily Slaughter Cattle Summary- as prepared by USDA.
Finally, Here is the Daily Volume and Price Summary from the Texas Cattle Feeders Association.

God Bless! You can reach us at the following:
phone: 405-473-6144

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