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Oklahoma's Latest Farm and Ranch News
Your Update from Ron Hays of RON
Elections Moves State Closer to 2017 Legislative Session- Maintains
Status Quo in Congressional Delegation
The 2016 Primary Election turned out to be no problem for the five
Republican members of Congress that represent the state of Oklahoma.
All five, Congressmen Frank
Lucas, Tom Cole, Markwayne Mullin, Steve Russell and Jim Bridenstine
rolled to easy victories over their GOP challengers. All five face
Democratic opposition (and in some cases Independent and/or
Libertarian candidates) in the November general election. All are
expected to cruise to victory and another two years in Congress.
In the US Senate race for a full six year term- Incumbent James Lankford
(R) will face Mike
Workman (D), Robert
Murphy (L), Sean
Braddy (I), and Mark Beard (I) in the general
election on November 8, 2016. Lankford and Workman faced no primary
opposition, while Murphy defeated Dax Ewbank to win the Libertarian
nomination. Lankford ran two years ago and won the right to fill out
the remaining two years of the term originally won by Senator Tom Coburn,
In the state races, there were several that had agricultural
overtones to them. In Oklahoma Senate District 19, former Oklahoma
Farm Bureau board member Roland
Pederson of Burlington came close to an outright win-
but was forced into a runoff in August with Enid Doctor Ross Vanhooser.
Pederson won 48.8% of the primary vote- Vanhooser won 40.3%.
In Oklahoma Senate District 31- three candidates ran- the two that
survived and will face each other in August are Toni Hasenbeck
with almost 41% of the vote and Chris Kidd, who received 38% of
For more on the Primary election results- click
here for our story detailing several more of the state races that
have ag storylines.
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and agriculture with loans and financial services. Providing loans
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equipment and operating costs is all we do.
We are the state's
largest agricultural lending cooperative, serving 60 Oklahoma
Counties. To learn more about Oklahoma AgCredit, click here for our website or
Growers Cheer EU Decision to Extend Glyophsate Authorization by 18
farmers of the American Soybean Association (ASA) welcomed news late
Tuesday that the European Commission will re-extend authorization for
the herbicide glyphosate for another 18 months. ASA President and
Greenwood, Del., soybean farmer Richard Wilkins noted in a
statement that the announcement comes as only temporary relief for
American farmers searching for certainty in the European marketplace:
"An 18-month extension gives U.S. farmers and exporters the
assurance that they will at least have access to the European market
for that period of time. Clearly that's not the certainty the
industry needs, but it's better than nothing. That said, we are still
extraordinarily frustrated by the unscientific approach in the EU.
Remember, the European Food Safety Authority found that glyphosate is
"Given this repeatedly proven fact, it's a relief that the
Commission decided to step in and issue this reauthorization, even after
the Council of Ministers was unable to find the support among its
members to affirm the EFSA finding. Continued progress is needed,
however. A logical and welcomed next step will be for the EU to
finalize approval of the three pending biotech varieties. With that
approval, our farmers can move forward with the certainty they
OCA's Michael Kelsey
Urges Farm and Ranch Community to Get Involved with the Yes Campaign
for SQ 777
With the primary elections on our minds this week,
many in the agriculture community may be wondering where we stand in
regards to the campaign to approve State Question 777, Oklahoma's
Right to Farm. SQ 777 will amend the state consitution to provide
language that many believe will ensure farmers and ranchers
protection from future unwarranted laws and regulations. Oklahoma
Cattlemen's Association Executive Vice President Michael Kelsey tells
us that proponents of the question are active in working to gain a
Kelsey encourages farmers and ranchers to get involved with the
campaign. "Number one is to raise funds", Kelsey says. He
believes that every $20 or $25 check is important to help gain
passage. He adds that those with high-visibility roadside locations
can help by requesting a large 4x8 sign, which will be available
after the 4th of July. Funding for those signs will be greatly
appreciated as well.
"We know that our adversaries are going to come with their
message of deception and falseness and they will be well funded to do
that", he says. "They want to continue placing restrictions
on livestock producers and they're well funded in order to do
that." Kelsey warns that it is important that supporters of 777
are also well funded in order to defend our position.
He continues that it is important to inform everyone in your rural
community as well. "One of the things that will hurt us is if we
assume rural Oklahoma is voting for this", he says. "Share
that message with your local folks and neighbors." Kelsey
advises that you can share that message by starting the conversation
in your community, placing a bumper sticker on your vehicle, or
putting a sign up on your property.
His third message is to "share the message with your urban
friends". It is important for urban friends and family near the
Oklahoma City and Tulsa areas to hear about the issue and to be
encourage to vote "yes." "It is vitally important that
we do that right now".
here to listen to my conversation with Kelsey about State
Question 777, Oklahoma's Right to Farm.
AFBF and NAWG Both
Give Thumbs Up to Roberts-Stabenow Bill
The American Farm Bureau Federation is supporting
proposed Senate legislation that establishes federal pre-emption of
what was expected to grow into an unruly patchwork of state-by-state
mandatory GMO labeling laws.
"Our nation's top scientists agree that crops enhanced through
GMO technology are safe, and this bill will act to stop the expansion
of state laws that threaten interstate marketing and effectively
ignore science," said AFBF President Zippy Duvall,
following a vote by the AFBF Board of Directors to support the bill.
"The bill is far from perfect, but it correctly puts the federal
government in the driver's seat in important areas such as protecting
interstate commerce and new crop development techniques. There is no
public health or scientific justification for the bill's mandatory
disclosure provisions, but the national uniformity established by
this bill is paramount."
The National Association of Wheat Growers echoes AFBF
and expressed their support for the compromise GMO Labeling Bill
jointly authored by Senator
Pat Roberts of Kansas and Senator Debbie Stabenow
NAWG applauds the bipartisan efforts to secure a national standard
that preempts a state-by-state patchwork, thereby avoiding a conflict
of regulatory laws between states. NAWG supports the proposed bill,
which allows for a variety of labeling options which do not vilify
"GMOs have been scientifically proven to be safe for human
consumption and there is no nutritional difference," says NAWG
Stoner. "It is vital that a patchwork of state
laws not jeopardize access to safe, sustainably produced food; this
national standard will assure food security for generations to
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A Thousand Plus Groups
and Companies Tell the Senate- Consider Roberts-Stabenow GMO Labeling
Bill NOW- Before July 4th
Over a thousand groups and companies have put their
name on a letter sent to the US Senate, calling for a vote right away
on the so called Roberts-Stabenow GMO Labeling Compromise bill. The
letter reads in part:
"We, the undersigned organizations, represent all segments of
the U.S. food chain- producers, cooperatives, agribusinesses,
processors, seed makers, handlers, food and feed manufacturers,
restaurants, lenders, and retailers. It is vitally important for the
Senate to call up and pass the legislation drafted by Chairman Roberts
Member Stabenow on biotech labeling in order to avoid
the economic costs of a patchwork of state laws that will directly
impact consumers, farmers, and the entire food value chain.
"We strongly support the Roberts - Stabenow biotech labeling
agreement, which buildson the Biotechnology Labeling Solutions Act,
that was approved by the Senate Agriculture Committee 14- 6 on March
first. The issue of biotech labeling is one of the most significant
issues that the agriculture and food industry has faced in recent
years. The U.S. agriculture and food industry creates over 17 million
jobs, representing nearly 1 in 10 jobs. This very system. which
produces the most abundant, the highest quality, and the most
affordable food supply in the world will be threatened with large
economic costs without a national uniform solution to the biotech
"The application of biotechnology to agricultural production has
led to increased crop yields, decreased use of pesticides, and lower
food costs for consumers. Congress must ensure we avoid senseless
mandates that will thwart agricultural advancement and hurt
consumers, especially those low income Americans who can least afford
to pay more to feed their families."
At least nine groups and companies with direct Oklahoma ties signed
the letter- including Reasors Supermarkets, the Oklahoma Ag Coop
Council, Oklahoma AgCredit, Oklahoma Agribusiness Retailers, Oklahoma
Agricultural Coop Council, Oklahoma Beverage Association, Oklahoma
Grain and Feed Association and the Oklahoma Soybean Association.
here to find a link to the complete letter and the twelve pages
of names signing it.
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Local Farmer Convinced No
Till has its Benefits
Back in 2009, you couldn't pay Scotty Herriman
to try no-till. "Our bottomland is tight, heavy clay,"
he insisted. "It won't work here."
Scotty has been growing corn, soybeans, wheat and milo on 2,000 acres
in Nowata County, Oklahoma for over 50 years, so it's generally wise
to take his word when it comes to farming. But Scotty is the first to
acknowledge he misjudged no-till. Six years into his total no-till
conversion, now he says "it will work here, and I've proved
As is the unfortunate truth for many producers, it took a series of
disasters to get Scotty to consider changing from the conventional
farming practices he had used for decades. He had seen others try
no-till as early as the 1970s, but even during the severe drought of
1980-1981, Scotty doubted the cost-effective and water-saving system.
He was convinced a chisel was necessary to break up his soil, and the
cost of a no-till drill was a gamble that outweighed the potential
After the first no-till planting, Scotty's wife, Jo, described
the farm as the ugliest in the county-referring to the crop residue
that is intentionally left on the soil surface to protect the soil
from erosion and temperature extremes. But the results are undeniable:
the Herriman's have cut equipment and fuel costs and reduced
fertilizer usage in certain crops. Today, both Scotty and Jo have
reversed their opinions on "ugly" soil. It's the exposed
soil without residue that's really an eyesore.
here to read more about Scotty Herriman's success with no-till
Annual Summer Ranch Tour Goes International in 2016
Dr. Derrell Peel,
Oklahoma State University Extension Livestock Marketing Specialist,
recently led a group of Oklahoma Cattlemen's Association members
south across the border to take a closer look at both culture and
agriculture in Mexico. The Oklahoma cattle producers visited ranches
and feedlots from Veracruz on the Gulf Coast up to Mexico City.
The group learned about the limitations Mexican cattle producers face
in terms of the kind of cattle best suited for the country's tropical
climate. Peel says the Zebu/dairy cross often used as the basis for
Mexican cattle limits the genetic opportunity for beef quality and
quantity. Despite the challenges, Peel says the Mexican cattle
feeding sector is still quite progressive.
"One of the things I think producers were impressed by was the
fact that there's a growing, very modern, very technologically
advanced feeding industry developing in those tropical regions,"
Peel says trade between Mexico and the United States has evolved
significantly over the last few years.
"For many, many years, of course, the U.S. has been a recipient
of Mexican cattle exports. That was augmented about 20 or 25 years
ago with Mexico becoming a significant destination for U.S. beef
exports," he says. "Most recently, Mexico has become a significant
producer of boxed beef and is now a significant global trader, with
the U.S. being the predominant destination for Mexican beef
As a result, Peel says we will probably begin to see changes in the
flow of Mexican cattle that have historically crossed into the United
"They're being retained now - and are likely to continue to be
retained - in Mexico for domestic production," he says. "So
the focus may shift more toward the meat flows and a little bit less
from the cattle flows that we've seen in the past."
to Peel talk more about the OCA tour and the Mexican beef industry
during the latest Beef Buzz.
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