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Oklahoma's Latest Farm and Ranch News
Your Update from Ron Hays of RON
Thursday, September 19, 2019
| Featured Story:
Dan Halstrom, president and CEO of the US Meat Export Federation, participated in a recent trade mission to Japan, which incidentally is the No. 1 destination for US beef exports. According to Halstrom, one of the most popular products imported there are not the typical middle or end cuts, but rather a varietal meat - beef tongue specifically. In an interview with me, Halstrom remarked on the love affair Japanese consumers have with beef tongue and how that demand has benefitted the US beef industry.
"Asia in general, but Japan specifically, culturally has a real affinity for our variety meat products and beef tongue is a good example of that," Halstrom explained. "It's really about the texture and taste. They greatly prefer the grain-fed tongue out of the US. I think the younger animals compared to our competition makes it a real delicacy item in Japan."
Halstrom attests that the popularity of tongue and other variety meat products in Japan and throughout Asia is extremely important and valuable to the American beef industry. While tongue for instance, has some value here in the US (approximately a dollar or less per pound), in Japan consumers are willing to pay upwards of $6 per pound. That alone adds tremendous value back to US beef producers, Halstrom says.
And, while the US is currently at a disadvantage to its competitors being subject to higher tariff rates as a non-participant in the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), he points out that demand still continues to grow. Variety meats to date are up 30% January through July of this year at 38,000 mt. To Halstom, that indicates that with a level playing field, US producers could enjoy even greater growth in this area. The announcement made earlier this week by the Trump Administration, formally establishing a new trade agreement with Japan is a good indicator that achieving a level playing field could be accomplished in the near future.
You can listen to the whole conversation between Halstrom and I on Wednesday's Beef Buzz - click here.
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News On 6 in Tulsa this week reported that two Webbers Falls farmers have been defrauded out of thousands of dollars while attempting to rebuild their farms after floods ravaged their town this spring. The farmers complain a grain storage company didn't fill their order after a local representative allegedly took their money.
Cody Sloan and Damon Sheffield said this year has been hard, and that's putting it lightly. They not only lost their crops to historic flooding this spring, they also say they're out tens of thousands of dollars for new grain bins that were never delivered.
Sloan and Sheffield are out $35,000 and $25,000, respectively, and according to News On 6, they're not the only farmers in the hole. Collectively, the losses from the victims of this scammer total over $110,000.
Sloan said they shelled out money for the down payments for grain bins to a Salt Fork Grain representative, identified by Sloan as the Sukup Manufacturing affiliated dealer out of Alva, OK. The grain bins were supposed to be built and ready by August 1st. He says they still have not received any parts for the bins nor any satisfactory attempts by the corporate office to right the situation.
We reached out to Sloan for his side of the story. Hear him describe what happened in his own words, by clicking or tapping here.
The Executive Committee of the National Cattlemen's Beef Association says Colin Woodall will serve as the group's new Chief Executive Officer. Woodall was named to the post this week after an extensive national search.
He most recently was the Vice President of Government Affairs and managed NCBA's efforts in Washington, D.C., for more than ten years. He first joined NCBA in 2004 and was instrumental in ensuring the interests of NCBA members and the beef community were well-represented in DC.
"Colin has served NCBA members for 15 years, and in that time, he's done a great deal for beef producers everywhere," says NCBA President Jennifer Houston. "Much of his work and many of the victories registered by NCBA in Washington are the result of his ability to build coalitions and bring people together."
Ethan Lane was chosen to replace Woodall as the Vice President of Government Affairs. Most recently, Lane was the Executive Director of the Public Lands Council and NCBA Federal Lands. Houston says Lane has been a "driving force in many of NCBA's most important policy wins."
You can read more about Woodall and Lane's new positions, by jumping over to our website.
Oklahoma Cattlemen's Association executive vice president Michael Kelsey, released a statement regarding Woodall's new position.
"Congratulations to Colin Woodall as the new CEO of NCBA. Colin is a true professional with a passion for beef and the men and women that raise cattle. He will be a fantastic leader for NCBA and we look forward to working with him. We should also note a congratulations to Ethan Lane in his new role leading the NCBA DC office. Ethan will do a fantastic job leading the top notch team that defends and promotes our beef cattle industry every day within the Beltway."
South Korea is now the ninth Asian country to find itself positive for African Swine Fever. The pigs that tested positive for the disease were located near the border with North Korea, which has been ASF positive since May.
The South Korean agriculture minister says the country's first case of the highly-contagious disease was confirmed on Tuesday. Officials ran tests on five pigs that had died on a farm just miles south of the North Korean border. The South Korean government is making a stronger effort to disinfect farms and transport vehicles.
The government also ordered a 48-hour standstill on all pig farms, slaughterhouses, and feed mills across the country to help prevent the disease from spreading further. South Korea has about 6,000 farms that produce more than 11 million pigs.
The country doesn't import any pork products or live pigs from China due to the severe outbreak of ASF inside that country. South Korea mainly imports from the United States and Germany. Pork imports account for about a third of the country's total pork supply.
After soaring to new heights in 2018, US pork exports to Korea have moderated with January-July volume down 11% to 131,354 mt, valued at $369.6 million (down 13%).
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Farmers and ranchers are being denied due process as part of an abuse of discretion by officials from the Natural Resources Conservation Service. That comes straight from a scathing ruling by the Seventh Circuit's U.S. Court of Appeals. The ruling is highlighted in a letter sent from the American Farm Bureau Federation to Ag Secretary Sonny Perdue asking him to enact much-needed reforms in the agency.
The letter focuses on the case of an Indiana farm owned by David and Rita Boucher. The battle between the Boucher family and the NRCS has gone on for 17 years. The Bouchers removed nine trees on 2.8 acres the agency declared a wetland, and the NRCS demanded they plant 300 trees per acre as compensation.
The court found that the NRCS wrongly accused the Bouchers of harming a non-existent wetland on their property. The NRCS made no effort to correct the decision, even after the accusations were proven to be groundless. The Farm Bureau letter notes that the Bouchers aren't the only victims of regulatory abuse.
AFBF is asking Secretary Perdue to accept the Seventh Circuit's decision and compensate the family for costs incurred during the battle against the government.
Click here to read more from AFBF regarding the NRCS treatment of an Indiana producer.
The Road to Rural Prosperity podcast features stories about rural Oklahoma and rural America, focusing on the state's journey to Top Ten status and the people and organizations driving us toward that goal. In Episode 3, this week, I visit with Teresa Rose Crook, CEO and executive director of the Communities Foundation for Oklahoma, about the organization's role and how it helps rural communities across the state prosper by leveraging their assets and resources.
Crook explains the function of the CFO and how it assists rural communities plan, organize and manage various public projects that improve the quality of life for the citizens residing in those communities. By doing so, she says the entire state benefits from the impact these projects, small or large, make.
"We are a 'Community Foundation' which is a specific component of the IRS Code and what we are allowed to do is kind of spread our 501-C3 umbrella over individuals, businesses, organizations, projects and communities- so in other words, they don't have to go set up a separate 501-C3 to receive the benefits, the tax benefits as well as the distribution benefits."
You can read more about the Communities Foundation of Oklahoma or listen to the whole conversation between Crook and I on the Road to Rural Prosperity podcast - click or tap here The Podcast is available there or you can click or tap here to jump over to Soundcloud and listen to it as well.
House Agriculture Committee Ranking Member K. Michael Conaway (TX-11) called on Speaker Nancy Pelosi this week to shut down House Democrats' attempts to deny USDA the funds necessary to make Market Facilitation Program (MFP) and Farm Bill payments to farmers and ranchers via the CCC.
In a statement released yesterday, Conaway remarked, "House Democratic leaders are not listening to their own rank and file members and continue to hold vital aid for our farmers and ranchers hostage by blocking replenishment of the CCC. I had not waded into this issue publicly because I had hoped that cooler heads would prevail. They have not. I call on Speaker Pelosi and Chairwoman Lowey to stop using our nation's farmers and ranchers and rural communities as pawns in your fight with the president. Fully fund USDA so it can do its job."
Conaway continued his argument denouncing the action by Democrats as a shameful display of partisan politics.
"It is no surprise that China would try to hold our farmers and ranchers hostage so it could continue to cheat on its trade commitments," he said, "but we should not expect the leaders of the United States House of Representatives to use rural America as a bargaining chip."
You can read more from Conaway, by clicking or tapping here.
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