~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Oklahoma's latest farm and ranch news
Your Update from Ron Hays of RON for Friday February 12, 2010A service of Johnston Enterprises, P & K Equipment/ P & K Wind Energy and American Farmers & Ranchers Mutual Insurance Company!
-- Southern Oklahoma Digs Out From Latest Storm
-- Key Facts Disagree with CBS Evening News Segment on Antibiotics Aired on February 9, 2010
-- Ad Hoc Disaster Program Pushed by Blanche Lincoln Included in Jobs Bill
-- KSU Beef Cattle Institute to host international symposium on beef cattle welfare
-- Smithfield's Larry Pope Speaks at National Meat Association Gathering
-- With All the Antibiotic Talk- Is Beef Safe and Healthy?
-- AFR Convention Begins Today in Oklahoma City
-- 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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Southern Oklahoma Digs Out From Latest Storm
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~East of Lawton- all the way to the Arkansas state line, the southern tier of counties has received four to nine inches of wet snow. The heaviest snowfall fell across the Red River with more than a foot hitting Fort Worth and Dallas. Generally, the snow in southern Oklahoma is welcomed by farmers and ranchers, as it will melt and help rebuild the moisture profile that has not been there in recent seasons.
Further north in Oklahoma- most pastures are very soft, making it challenging to get hay and supplement out to cattle- except early mornings when we have a good freeze. The muddy conditions are beginning to worry Oklahoma wheat farmers who need to topdress their wheat. A few days of sunshine and open weather seems to be possible for early next week- and that will be welcomed by those who need a window to make those fertilizer applications.
The wet conditions of this winter has meant feedlots are going backwards in cattle performance- reports from Texas and Oklahoma feedlots indicate we have cattle losing from 40 to 50 pounds per animal because of the stress from the muddy conditions.
Key Facts Disagree with CBS Evening News Segment on Antibiotics Aired on February 9, 2010
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Dr. Scott Hurd, who is on the faculty at Iowa State Unviersity's College of Vet Medicine, has looked at the claims of Katie Couric in her CBS Evening News and found many of the statements are misleading or in some cases- simply not true.
For example- CBS stated " Antibiotic resistance is an emerging health
crisis that scientists say is caused not only by the overuse of
antibiotics in humans, but in livestock as well. Antibiotics fed to
healthy animals to promote growth and prevent disease."
Click on the link below for a complete look at the quotes from CBS from their first segment on antibiotics this week- and the response from Dr. Scott Hurd.
Click here for more with Dr. Hurd and his rebuttal to claims made by CBS in their attack on antibiotic use in US animal agriculture.
Ad Hoc Disaster Program Pushed by Blanche Lincoln Included in Jobs Bill
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~A 52-billion dollar bipartisan jobs bill that includes disaster assistance to farmers has been introduced in the U.S. Senate. Senate Ag Committee Chairman Blanche Lincoln says the disaster assistance included in the HIRE jobs bill is based on legislation she and Senator Thad Cochran introduced in November. Direct payments would bridge the gap until 2009 Supplemental Revenue Assistance Program, payments are issued next fall.
Growers of "program" crops - grain, soybeans and cotton - in counties nationwide declared a primary disaster area by USDA in 2009 would be eligible for a disaster payment equal to 90 percent of their yearly Farm Bill Direct Payment provided they suffered at least a 5 percent crop quantity or quality loss. Producers enrolled in the Average Crop Revenue Election or ACRE program would also be eligible to receive the supplemental payments in an amount equal to the reduce Direct Payment they received for the 2009 crop year.
The latest version of Lincoln's disaster aid language, co-sponsored by
Mississippi Republican Sens. Thad Cochran and Roger Wicker, also includes
$150 million to assist producers of specialty crops, $50 million for
livestock, $42 million for first-handlers of cottonseed and $25 million
Click here for more on the JOBS bill and the agricultural components of this measure.
KSU Beef Cattle Institute to host international symposium on beef cattle welfare
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Amid consumers´ growing interest in how their food is produced, Kansas State University´s Beef Cattle Institute will host the 2010 International Symposium on Beef Cattle Welfare May 19-21 on the K-State campus in Manhattan. "Beef cattle well-being is the foundation to any beef cattle operation," said Dan Thomson, K-State associate professor and director of the Beef Cattle Institute. "Ranchers and farmers strive to provide the best care possible for their animals. Today, 97.4 percent of Americans eat meat. This symposium is an example of how the beef industry and its researchers continue to find new advances in animal well-being for the cattle they raise for beef."
It's an all star cast of characters that will be on the program at this event coming up in May. Temple Grandlin has a couple of presentations- and Dr. Bob Smith of Stillwater will also be a presenter at this Symposium.
We have more details of the event- and a link to the website dedicated to the Symposium all included in the story we have linked for you below.
Click here for more on this unique Beef Cattle Handling Conference Coming in May.
Smithfield's Larry Pope Speaks at National Meat Association Gathering
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~In a story that we saw at Meatinplace.Com this morning- CEO Larry Pope of Smithfield Foods had meat processors both laughing and consternating here Thursday at the National Meat Association's annual conference, as he roasted himself on the company's performance amid economic doldrums but pointedly expressed a grim outlook for the industry's future.
Pope was quick to warn that the industry's challenges are not over and will continue for a long time, with near-term threats including unfavorable federal policies such as increased ethanol production and long-term threats including increasing pressure from the media and a deteriorating public image. "We have to educate other people," Pope said. "I don't know how involved any of you stay with our elected representatives, and I think that most of the issues are coming out of Washington. I don't think that inside the Beltway they're getting the message."
Pope went on to say that processed meats had been a bright spot for his
company over the last year, but he added that it's difficult to raise
prices because meat processors these days are under intense pressure by
customers such as Wal-Mart to not raise prices, so processors are going to
have to focus on getting their costs in order. Beyond selling meat to
customers, processors increasingly have to explain their positions with
regard to issues such as animal handling and sustainability. "Just this
week I promoted somebody — and I can't even believe I'm saying this word
here, folks — to a chief sustainability officer," Pope said, prompting
With All the Antibiotic Talk- Is Beef Safe and Healthy?
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~These are fair questions that many consumers may be asking- and one guy with the answers to these questions talked to cattle women at the recent Cattle Industry Convention in San Antonio. Jason Sawyer, assistant professor of beef cattle science at Texas A&M says that we need to offer consumers good information and a bit of common sense to put everything they hear in the media in perspective.
On the question- is beef safe?- Dr. Sawyer says it is a matter of perspective. There are 5,000 deaths per year in the U.S. from foodborne illness, a figure that includes all food not just beef. By comparison, there are 16,500 deaths per year in the U.S. from use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as Aleve. “So, what's safer in America: eating or taking a pain pill?” Sawyer asked. “Although we all sincerely wish that those 5,000 deaths from foodborne illness did not occur, when you consider that those were out of a population of more than 300 million, those are pretty good odds. I'll continue to ‘take my chances' eating beef, especially since most incidences of foodborne illness are the result of incorrect handling by the consumer.”
On the questions of healthiness of beef- Sawyer says one key is to blow up the notion that beef has too much fat. The U.S. government guidelines for a healthy 2,000-calorie-per-day diet includes up to 16 grams (g) of saturated fat. Given those guidelines and the nutritional content of today's lean beef, you could actually eat 24 ounces (or eight 3-ounce servings) of lean beef every single day before consuming the daily maximum recommended amount of saturated fat.
Click here for more on this story- which is our Beef Buzz for this Friday on the Radio Oklahoma Network
AFR Convention Begins Today in Oklahoma City
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~The 105th Annual Convention of the American Farmers & Ranchers kicks off today at the Biltmore Hotel in Oklahoma City. In the official convention program, AFR President Terry Detrick says "Welcome to the 105th Annual AFR Convention! "New Directions" is the theme of our two-day convention. The theme reflects not only the challenges that we as a company and organization have faced since the last convention but also new opportunities to create a roadmap of stabilization and future growth."
We will be helping on Saturday as we moderate one of the educational sessions planned during the day- in and around the election of officers and the setting of policy for the coming year for the organization.
Saturday night- the group will honor George W Stone- longtime Farmers Union leader here in the state as well as the recently retired head of the Oklahoma Association of Electric Coops- Larry Watkins. The banquet on Saturday night will conclude their annual meeting.
Click here for more details of the 105th annual convention of the AFR and Oklahoma Farmers Union
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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 $7.55 per bushel, while the 2010 New Crop contracts for Canola are now available are $7.75 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:
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