~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Oklahoma's latest farm and ranch news
Your Update from Ron Hays of RON for Thursday March 12, 2009A service of Johnston Enterprises, KIS Futures and American Farmers & Ranchers Mutual Insurance Company!
-- Wrong E-Coli- the Link between chicken litter and the disease outbreak last August in Locust Grove is Non Existent
-- The House version of the Cow Tax Block Dropped into the Legislative Hopper by Congressman Frank Lucas
-- The Pros and Cons of Animal ID Debated by House Ag Subcommittee
-- Be on the Look Out for "Fugitive Dust"
-- "Local Food" Production Efforts in Ag Track of State Sustainability Conference
-- Smithfield Loses $103 million in latest quarter
-- K101 is Your Place for Ron on RON (and Ed on RON, too)
-- Let's Check the Markets!
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!
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Wrong E-Coli- the Link between chicken litter and the disease outbreak last August in Locust Grove is Non Existent
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~The poultry industry, after claims where made that chicken litter may have had a direct link to the Locust Grove E Coli outbreak of last year- is pleased that the latest tests of water wells in the Locust Grove area failed to show the type of E Coli that has been called the culprit of last summer's disease outbreak. Gary Mickelson of Tyson Foods, one of the company's that is involved in the Poultry Industry lawsuit that Drew Edmondson has brought forth on behalf of the state of Oklahoma, says that the latest allegations that have come up lacking of substantiation shows the AG's office as trying "desperately trying to manufacture evidence" to use in his case that is due to go to trial this fall.
The announcement came yesterday that the Oklahoma State Department of Health has the results of the latest tests- showing that bacterial isolates taken from private water wells in the Locust Grove area indicate no presence of E. coli 0111, the bacteria identified as the cause of an outbreak of illness associated with the Country Cottage restaurant in Locust Grove last year.
The isolates were sent to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) last week for confirmatory testing in an effort to determine if disease-causing types of E. coli were in private water wells sampled recently by the state Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ). The DEQ had initiated a voluntary well inspection of private wells in the Locust Grove area following concern that some had bacterial contamination. The CDC found three different types of E. coli bacteria: 0141, 0179, and 0113. All three types have the potential to cause illness in humans.
We have more on this story- click on the link below to jump to our website and this latest chapter of the battle between the Oklahoma AG and the Arkansas poultry companies.
Click here for more on the Edmondson versus Chicken Litter story
The House version of the Cow Tax Block Dropped into the Legislative Hopper by Congressman Frank Lucas
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~The measure introduced by Senators John Thune and Charles Schumer to prevent what's been referred to as the cow tax now has companion legislation in the House. Frank Lucas of Oklahoma - the Ranking Member on the House Ag Committee - introduced the bill Wednesday to prevent the government from requiring livestock producers to obtain Title V (five) operating permits under the Clean Air Act. That's something the American Farm Bureau estimates could cost farmers and ranchers 175-dollars per dairy cow - $87.50 per beef cow and $21.87 per hog.
"I don't think we can take any chances with this administration when it comes to putting greater burdens on our farmers and ranchers. With the release of the President's budget, this administration has already demonstrated it is out of touch with production agriculture. I have heard from many farmers in my district who are concerned that this 'cow tax' will become a reality. This bill is a way to protect our livestock producers from costly and burdensome government intervention. And, it would end any and all discussion about regulating emissions from livestock under the Clean Air Act," said Ranking Member Frank Lucas.
The Pros and Cons of Animal ID Debated by House Ag Subcommittee
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~The House Agriculture Subcommittee on Livestock, Dairy, and Poultry held a hearing to review animal identification systems. Committee Chairman David Scott of Georgia said - I believe a mandatory system is necessary and carries with it many benefits. Scott pointed out - it would help protect producers against the spread of minor animal diseases, as well as from the devastating economic effects - of major diseases. And, it would save the government money and provide a vital tool in maintaining the safety and integrity of the food supply.
Meanwhile, the lead Republican on the subcommittee says the case has not been made by anyone that mandatory Animal ID is needed or desirable. Subcommittee Ranking Member Randy Neugebauer of Texas says "today's testimony highlighted the many issues USDA has yet to address with regard to animal ID. It has become increasingly clear that the protection of our constituents' proprietary information needs to be a greater concern for USDA, and they have not made a convincing argument that the capability of protecting that information exists today. "Many of the witnesses made a strong case that the benefits of a mandatory animal ID system do not measure up to the costs for such a system. I continue to believe we must work to develop a voluntary national animal ID program that allows flexibility for different types of producers and ID methods."
The hog industry, because of several diseases they have battled in recent years, are largely already there when it comes to a national Animal ID system and so they are supportive of a mandatory program. There appears to be little support from cattle groups for the efforts being orchestrated by the Chairman of the House Ag Committee, Collin Peterson. We have more details on our story on the website- click to check it out.
Click here for more on Animal ID- the yeas and the nays of the issue
Be on the Look Out for "Fugitive Dust"
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~The story of "Fugitive Dust" was told earlier this week by the Republican Senator from Iowa, Charles Grassley, who is very concerned about the direction that the Environmental Protection Agency may take on this issue. EPA released a final rule on regulating particles in the air under the Clean Air Act in October 2006, which says that states should focus on regulating dust in urban areas instead of rural areas because of a lack of scientific data on health or environmental affects of agriculture dust. However, the EPA stopped short of exempting agriculture dust from regulation.
A court ruling this past fall has kept open the possibility that EPA could issue onerous rules on those working and living in rural areas of the country- and that brings us to the concept of "Fugitive Dust" as described by the Iowa Senator as he spoke to the National Farmers Union convention in Arlington, Va. on Monday of this week.
We hear those comments from Charles Grassley on today's Beef Buzz- click on our link below to jump to the Thursday Beef Buzz to hear those thoughts from the only Republican on the NFU program on Monday.
Click here for more on today's Beef Buzz with Charles Grassley.
"Local Food" Production Efforts in Ag Track of State Sustainability Conference
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~The 8th annual statewide Oklahoma Sustainability Conference will be held March 20-21 at the University of Central Oklahoma in Edmond. The conference has several agriculture tracks and sessions that may be of interest to the farm and ranch community. Those subject areas and speakers include:
Oklahoma Urban Farming- Julia Laughlin, OSU-OKC
We have more details on the full conference- the agricultural track is just one of several directions that the program goes- just click on the link below for our calendar listing of this conference planned for Edmond a week from tomorrow and Saturday.
Click here for more on the Oklahoma Sustainability Conference
Smithfield Loses $103 million in latest quarter
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~The nation's largest hog producer lost a lot of money in the latest quarter, but actually seemed to improve their balance sheet along the way, as they reduced debt by over $300 million, lowering their debt to capitalization to 53%. A good bit of their "loss" was due to the restructuring plan they had announced recently. The company is feeling pretty good about the direction of their business- as their President Larry Pope says that "fiscal 2010 should be a much better year for the company." He bases that on the packaged meat business continuing in a positive direction, and a turnaround in the price of livestock because of tighter supplies.
Some of the specific highlights about their meat and live hog
Smithfield offers these comments about their hog operations: "Hog
production losses continued due to extremely high feed costs. Domestic
raising costs increased to $62 per hundredweight versus $49 per
hundredweight in the prior year. Live hog market prices in the U.S. were
$40 per hundredweight compared to $37 per hundredweight last year. Grain
prices have fallen dramatically from record high levels of last summer.
While some thought last year that the industry might run out of corn,
Smithfield locked in availability through the end of this fiscal year at
price levels over $6 per bushel, well above current market prices. Pig
raising costs will begin to reflect lower corn prices beginning in the
first quarter of fiscal 2010.
Smithfield will have a conference call this morning- the link to information about that is linked below- if you don't catch it live- it will be available as an archive for several days.
Click here for more on the Smithfield Conference Call about their latest financial results.
K101 is Your Place for Ron on RON (and Ed on RON, too)
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~We have a great lineup of stations around the state of Oklahoma- and today we spotlight K101, KWOX FM in Woodward as one of our partners that deliver ag programming out across the countryside on a daily basis. At 101.1 on the FM dial, you can hear the latest farm and ranch news as well as comprehensive market coverage weekdays on K101 across much of the northwestern quarter of the state.
The Radio Oklahoma Ag Network offers eleven programs daily on K101- with in depth coverage of the farm and ranch news scene unmatched by any other station in the state.
Click on the link below for a listing of the programs and the times they air on K101 out of Woodward. And you can go to our button on the left hand side of the page and click on the button entitled RON Radio Affiliates to see a listing of our radio stations that carry Radio Oklahoma Ag Network programming. If you have questions about these stations- or how to get a station in your immediate area on with us at the RON radio network- drop me an email at the address at the bottom of today's report- we'll see if we can add them to the list of radio stations that care about rural Oklahoma prospering through a strong agricultural economy!
Click here for more on K101 in Woodward- including when they carry farm reports from RON
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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.
Let's Check the Markets!
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~The OKC West in El Reno cattle market saw yearling cattle go a little cheaper, while stocker steers and calves were steady to a little higher. The market report wrote about the Wednesday market conditions "Cattle futures ended the day slightly down, despite grains closing sharply lower. Boxed beef prices continue in a holding pattern as slaughter rates slowly inch higher for the week. Demand remains good for grazing cattle. Warm front moved thru the state leaving up to an inch of rain in some spots. Feeder cattle in medium to fleshy conditions with average to full weigh-ups." To see the full OKC West cattle market report- complete with prices for the day- click here.
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:
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