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Oklahoma's Latest Farm and Ranch News
Your Update from Ron Hays of RON
Tuesday, January 12, 2016
Election Day Has Arrived for Farm Bureau in Orlando
Most years- the Tuesday of the American Farm Bureau
annual meeting is important for the policy debates that have been
anticipated leading up to the meeting.
As the nation's largest general farm organization, the
position that the group takes on an issue like COOL or the Federal
Farm Safety Net matters in circles well beyond the
But, here in 2016, the delegates are not buzzing about
one policy vote or another expected this morning- but rather what
will happen after lunch today here in Orlando- the official
nominations for President and Vice President- and the delegates then
choosing who will lead their organization for the next two years.
This is the first open election- where no incumbent is
involved- for AFBF for decades. The last time that an incumbent
was challenged in a national Farm Bureau Presidential election was in
won his first two year term as AFBF President.
Here in 2016- there are four candidates for National
President- current AFBF Vice President and Oregon Farm Bureau
Bushue, Georgia Farm Bureau president Zippy Duvall,
Arizona Farm Bureau president Kevin
Rogers, and Indiana Farm Bureau's Don Villwock.
The Vice Presidential race has special meaning
for Oklahoma Farm Bureau members- as OFB President
is running against three other state Farm Bureau Presidents to be the
AFBF Vice President. Buchanan faces the current Presidents from South
Dakota, New York and Florida in his bid to grab the number two
elected post in the organization.
We have been told the hope is that the resolutions
process will be handled by midday- and that the election process can
get underway at about 2 PM eastern.
We will be tweeting and posting on our Radio Oklahoma
Ag Network Facebook page from the delegate session as the day
sponsor of our daily email is the Oklahoma Farm Bureau - a
grassroots organization that has for its Mission Statement- Improving
the Lives of Rural Oklahomans." Farm Bureau, as the
state's largest general farm organization, is active at the State
Capitol fighting for the best interests of its members and working
with other groups to make certain that the interests of rural
Oklahoma are protected.
Click here for their website to
learn more about the organization and how it can benefit you to be a
part of Farm Bureau.
AFBF's Mary Kay Thatcher
Says It's Crunch Time for Congress to Take Up "Unfinished
Progress on key agricultural policy issues will grind
to a halt later on this year on Capitol Hill. That's according to American Farm Bureau
Senior Director of Congressional Relations Mary Kay Thatcher.
I interviewed Thatcher at the American
Farm Bureau Federation's 97th Annual Convention. She
talked about the challenges with it being an election year.
"Every election year is tougher to get things done than a
nonelection year and when you figure this is a presidential election year
and both the Republican and Democratic conventions have been pushed
up a month - I mean now you're looking at really having until about
June to get everything you need to get done, done," Thatcher
said. "So, with all the budget issues out ongoing, it's pretty
doubtful we'll get much major legislation passed."
The U.S. House may take up a resolution of disapproval of the "Waters of the United
States" rule this week. The measure passed the
Senate in November by a vote of 53-44. Thatcher thinks there is good
chance it will pass, but not by a veto proof margin. The President
has been pretty adamant that he will veto the measure. While there is
a nationwide stay on the WOTUS rule right now, she said that could
change at almost any time.
"You know, we don't have the magic bullet right now,"
Thatcher said. "We are still looking for every opportunity to
find ways to continue to do it, but it sure doesn't look like we are
going to make any progress with this administration on this issue
until they are out of office."
Thatcher also discusses the Trans
Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade agreement and the key
priorities of the year. Click
or tap here to hear the full interview.
Peel Finds International
Beef Trade Situation Improving
Derrell Peel, Oklahoma State University Extension
Livestock Marketing Specialist, offers his economic analysis of the
beef cattle industry. This analysis is a part of the weekly series
known as the "Cow Calf Corner" published electronically by
Dr. Peel and Dr.
Peel writes in this week's analysis "the latest international
trade data for November confirms that the trade picture for beef and
cattle is recovering from the dramatic changes in recent months. A
variety of factors contributed to the adjustments in beef and cattle
imports and exports late in 2015.
"November beef imports were down 26.6 percent year over year,
the second monthly decrease following a 12.9 percent year over year
decrease in October. Total beef imports for the first eleven months
of 2015 are still up 19.7 percent. Beef imports were down most
dramatically from Australia, with November imports 43.5 percent lower
than one year earlier. For the year to date, imports of Australian
beef are up 25 percent year over year. Australian imports dropped
sharply in the fourth quarter in part because Australia reached their
import quota limit and faced increased over-quota tariffs. Australia
will start over with a new quota in 2016 but there is reason to
expect beef imports from Australia to decrease sharply in 2016. Low
cattle numbers and improved drought conditions in some regions of
Australia will likely restrict beef exports from the country this
year. November beef imports were also down from Canada and New
Zealand compared to last year. Beef imports from Mexico continue
higher, year over year, but at a slower pace in October and November
compared to earlier in the year. The four major import sources of
Australia, New Zealand, Canada and Mexico, accounted for 87.3 percent
of total beef imports with Brazil, Uruguay and Nicaragua each
accounting for less than five percent of total imports."
Continues for Oklahoma Producers to Consider Beef Checkoff Fee
There are few opportunities for the U.S. beef industry
to increase the nation's beef checkoff. It may not be until the next
Farm Bill is considered in the next two to three years before a fee
increase could be considered. As a result, several states are looking
at establishing a secondary beef checkoff as the best opportunity to
get additional resources for beef promotion, education and research.
Texas has already established and implemented a secondary beef
checkoff and Oklahoma has begun the process to get a secondary
Cattlemen's Association Executive Vice President Michael Kelsey
said they are working to collect signatures to call for an actual
referendum sometime this year. Right now there are a lot of petitions
distributed throughout the state. He said they are starting collect
those petitions, so OCA can gauge the progress of the signature
"We've got a good database of signatures in place," Kelsey
said. "I don't know that we have the 5,000 that we need yet. I
think we are getting much, much closer than where we were even a
Beef producers still have an opportunity to sign the petition. The
petition is available through the OCA website, plus it was published
in the "Cowman" publication the last two months. Beef
producers are encouraged to sign the petition and mail it to the OCA
"We're excited, we think we've got some momentum," Kelsey
said. "We think for sure this year, we're going to get this done
and have an opportunity for a referendum."
Kelsey also talks about the next steps in the
referendum process. I featured Kelsey on the Beef Buzz feature.
or tap here to listen to today's Beef Buzz.
To read more about an Oklahoma Beef Checkoff, click
We are happy to
have the Oklahoma
Cattlemen's Association as a part of our great lineup
of email sponsors. They do a tremendous job of representing cattle
producers at the state capitol as well as in our nation's capitol.
They seek to educate OCA members on the latest production techniques
for maximum profitability and to communicate with the public on
issues of importance to the beef industry. Click here for their
website to learn more about the OCA.
Charlie Arnot with Center
for Food Integrity Says Transparency Key to Building Consumer Trust
With research affirming that increased transparency
boosts consumers' trust in the food they eat and how it was produced,
transparency is no longer an option for farmers and ranchers, the Center for Food Integrity's
Charlie Arnot told farmers and ranchers from across
the country during a workshop at the American Farm Bureau Federation's 97th Annual
Convention and IDEAg Trade Show.
As farms have grown bigger over the decades, people's trust in
agriculture has declined, Arnot said. Consolidation, integration and
technological advances in agriculture have resulted in safer, more
available and more affordable food- and more skepticism from the
"As we've changed in size and scale and in the kind of
production techniques and technology we use, we now reflect a
different type of agriculture than many people anticipated,"
Arnot said. "We consistently hear from people that they trust
farmers but they don't trust farming."
As a result, agriculture has lost its social license-
the privilege of operating with minimal formalized restrictions, such
as laws and regulations, based on maintaining public trust by doing
what's right. I interviewed Charlie Arnot. Click
or tap here to listen to our conversation.
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Pork Crisis Alert Text
Pork Board Monday introduced a pork industry crisis
text news service, Pork
Crisis Alert, which will immediately deliver
essential information to U.S. pork producers in the event of a major
"Every day, America's pork producers are busy on their farms and
may not always have immediate access to information that could impact
their operation," said Derrick
Sleezer, National Pork Board president and a pig
farmer from Cherokee, Iowa. "Disease outbreaks and other
emergency situations can spread quickly, so America's pig farmers
need a news service to notify them immediately and enable them to
take early action to safeguard their farms."
When a pork industry-wide emergency is declared, Pork Crisis Alert
will text instructions to farmers alerting them on how to access
information and other critical resources online or by calling the
Pork Checkoff Service Center at (800) 456-7675. Pork Crisis Alert is
just one element of the Pork Checkoff's overall risk management
program, defined in the strategic plan introduced early in
or tap here to read more about the Pork Crisis Alert texts.
Farmland Values Defy
Lower Farmgate Prices Seen in 2015
Led by weak crop prices and exacerbated by a sharp
decline in livestock prices, particularly for cattle, net farm income
dropped significantly in 2015, according to a Federal Reserve Bank
In fact, farm income has dropped 55% since 2013, said
Nathan Kauffman, an economist who also serves as assistant vice
president and Omaha, Neb., branch executive with the Federal Reserve
Bank of Kansas City, Mo. Kauffman addressed farmers and ranchers from
across the U.S. during a workshop on trends in farm income and land
values here in Orlando at the American Farm Bureau annual convention.
"I don't have the best of news to share this
morning," Kauffman said: The "sky is not falling, but this
is definitely a period of adjustment."
However, he said the drop in income has so far not
been accompanied by a drop in farmland values.
"Farmland values have, in many ways, defied
expectations associated with lower crop values," he said.
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