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|Oklahoma's Latest Farm and Ranch News
Your Update from Ron Hays of RON
Monday, May 21, 2018
The Friday attempt to approve the Agriculture and Nutrition Act of 2018 failed in the U.S. House, 198-213. 30 Republicans voted against the bill, along with 183 Democrats, without a Democrat supporting the legislation, as expected. The House Freedom Caucus refused to budge on its demand that the House considers immigration issues before passing a farm bill, thus voting against the bill. The House Freedom Caucus consists of roughly three-dozen conservatives that have made immigration a signature issue.
We reached out to Oklahoma's 3rd District Congressman Frank Lucas, Chairman of the House Agriculture Subcommittee on Conservation and Forestry, after the bill's failure to get his reaction.
"I am disappointed that the House has failed to pass the 2018 Farm Bill," said Congressman Lucas. "This legislation builds upon the successes of the 2014 Farm Bill by protecting the safety net for producers and ensuring our fellow citizens have access to affordable, high quality food. Low commodity prices have created a challenging environment for our country's farmers and ranchers so the farm safety net is more important than ever in providing producers with much-needed economic certainty."
Lucas says he was reminded of the process to ratify the last Farm Bill when he was Chairman of the House Ag Committee, with flashbacks of many similarities to this one, though he says he remains committed to helping Chairman Mike Conaway find common ground among those who oppose the bill to get it passed as soon as possible.
"For the sake of farmers and ranchers across rural America and the consumers who rely on access to safe and affordable products, we must begin the Farm Bill process in a timely manner. The previous Farm Bill presented similar challenges, and I am committed to continuing a dialogue with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to move this process forward."
Click here to check out the statement released by Lucas' office and while you're there, listen to our complete conversation to hear Congressman Lucas react to the Farm Bill's failure in the House.
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.
Ag Community Sounds Off Over Farm Bill's Failure to Pass on the House Floor Friday
Congressman Frank Lucas, as mentioned in the story above, wasn't the only supporter of House Ag Chairman Mike Conaway's that shared in the disappointment of the Farm Bill's ultimate failure in the House this past Friday. Many in the ag community sounded off expressing their frustration with this setback.
American Farm Bureau President Zippy Duvall remarked about how farmers across the nation, were "perplexed and outraged" by the outcome of the vote.
"They are facing very real financial challenges. We call on all members of Congress not to use farmers and ranchers as pawns in a political game," he said. "The risk management tools of the farm bill are too important, particularly at a time of depressed farm prices."
Rodd Moesel, president of the Oklahoma Farm Bureau backed up those comments saying, "Oklahoma Farm Bureau is deeply disappointed in today's House vote on the 2018 farm bill. Agriculture is the backbone of our state's economy. When farmers and ranchers succeed, our rural communities prosper and our economy thrives." Click here to read Moesel's complete response.
The National Association of Wheat Growers echoed Farm Bureau's remark stating, "Congress needs to enact a Farm Bill before the current one expires to give farmers long-term certainty that a safety net will be available through these uncertain and difficult economic conditions." The NAWG statement was made by Oklahoma wheat producer and current President Jimmie Musick of Sentinel.
AFR President Terry Detrick was another farm leader expressing disappointment by the Friday vote- "we hope House members from both sides of the aisle can work together to bring a bill back to the floor soon. We trust Congress will follow the process in a timely manner and pass a farm bill that benefits all Americans." Detrick's complete statement is available here.
Other groups joined in the lament of these organizations, releasing their own similar statements. Click on the following links to review the different statements released by each organization including the National Corn Growers Association; Independent Community Bankers of America; the National Association of Conservation Districts; National Council of Farmers Cooperatives; American Soybean Association; National Cattlemen's Beef Association.
One organization had a bit of a different perspective regarding the bill's failure. The National Farmers Union released a statement that explained its position - saying that the bill's failure to pass was reflective of some of the real concerns farmers and ranchers have with the bill.
"The rejection of the House version of the 2018 Farm Bill highlights the host of concerns that family farmers have with this failed legislation," NFU stated. "Major changes need to be made to this bill. Farmers Union urges the House to send it back to committee to make significant improvements worthy of the men and woman who feed, fuel and clothe our nation."
USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue also weighed in on the conversation, reiterating the importance of having a Farm Bill.
"A Farm Bill is necessary to provide our farmers, ranchers, foresters, and producers with the stability and predictability they need," he said. "Our farmers feed the people of this nation and the world, and they deserve the certainty of a Farm Bill."
China Drops Investigation into Alleged Dumping Charges, US Sorghum's Top Market Now Reopened
China has dropped its anti-dumping and countervailing duty investigations into U.S. sorghum. National Sorghum Producers Chairman Don Bloss says NSP is "gratified" by the announcement and quick result.
China has determined that the investigations do not serve public interest. Bloss says that NSP demonstrated that "we were helping, not injuring," Chinese consumers and farmers.
The U.S. Grains Council also applauded the decision by China. Grains Council President and CEO Tom Sleight in a statement said the announcement is a "step in the right direction for U.S.-China trade relations."
While U.S. sorghum exports to China won't resume immediately, the announcement comes roughly a month before the U.S. sorghum harvest is set to begin, boding well for new-crop sales.
Click here to read the release from the National Sorghum Producers or click here for a look at the statement submitted by the USGC.
|Farm Income Decline Slows in First Quarter But Continues to Weaken, According to Federal Reserve
Farm income and credit conditions continued to weaken in the first quarter of 2018, but at a slower pace than in previous quarters.
According to the Tenth District Survey of Agricultural Credit Conditions, compiled by the Kansas City Federal Reserve Bank, reduced farm income contributed to intensifying cash-flow concerns and tightening lending standards. Cash-flow shortages continued to limit the availability of working capital, and financing needs continued to rise.
The report released last week says the decline in the first quarter makes 2018 the fifth consecutive year that bankers have reported lower farm income than the year before. The report says reduced farm income also restricted cash flow and contributed to more farm loan denials than in recent years.
In the first quarter, more than eight percent of farm loan requests were denied because of customer cash-flow shortages. And, despite a recent uptick in commodity prices, cash-flow shortages have reinforced concerns about liquidity in agricultural lending.
Click here for a look at the original webstory and to have a look at the full report.
The Oklahoma Cattlemen's Association is the trusted voice of the Oklahoma Cattle Industry. With headquarters in Oklahoma City, the OCA has a regular presence at the State Capitol to protect and defend the interests of cattlemen and cattlewomen.
Their Vision Statement explains the highest priority of the organization- "Leadership that serves, strengthens and advocates for the Oklahoma cattle industry."
To learn more about the OCA and how you can be a part of this forward-looking group of cattle producers, click here for their website
. For more information- call 405-235-4391.
The Organic Farmers Association, applauded the U.S. Department of Agriculture's recent action to terminate the rulemaking process to establish a mandatory national research and promotion program for organic (Organic Checkoff). The proposed program was divisive among the organic community, and checkoff programs must have industry support to be instituted-this proposal did not.
The proposed Organic Research and Promotion Program (ORPP) would have required all certified organic operations, even those exempt from the checkoff itself, to submit annual gross sales reports. All entities whose organic gross sales exceed $250,000 would have been mandated to pay 0.001% of their annual organic net sales. Jennifer Taylor, Vice President of Organic Farmers Association and certified organic farmer in central Georgia says the addition of more paper work to an already large amount filed by organic growers would be overly burdensome.
The OFA and the Organic Trade Association agree that organic research and promotion are necessary and needed by the whole community. However, they hope all organic stakeholder groups can come together to find creative solutions that grow organic markets without getting in the way of growers' productivity.
The OFA is encouraging the USDA to continue its collaboration and support of organic farmers and their markets. Click here to read more about this story on our website.
Langston University to Teach the Tools for Success at 23rd Annual Small Farmers Conference in May
Langston University's School of Agriculture and Applied Sciences will host its 23rd Small Farmers Conference at the Best Western Plus Saddleback Inn and Conference Center in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma on May 22-24, 2018.
The conference this year will focus on the "Tools for Successful Small Farmers and Ranchers." Attendees will have the option to participate in several concurrent sessions covering such areas as Alternative Enterprises, Value-Added Enterprises, Nutrition and Wellness, Farm Access, Livestock Management, Marketing, Rural Prosperity and Youth Emphasis in the Agricultural Sciences. The Oklahoma industrial hemp pilot program will also be discussed in full.
Bus provided field tours at different agricultural and enterprise sites around Langston and Luther will be available for the first 100 to sign up as well.
Registration for the conference is FREE and can be done either online or onsite. For more details about the schedule of this conference and its agenda, click over to our website.
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|Missouri Cattlemen's Fake Meat Bill Passes
A Missouri omnibus agriculture bill containing provisions against so-called fake meat has passed the state legislature. The language prohibits misrepresenting a product as meat that was not derived from harvested livestock.
The Missouri House passed the bill 125-22 following previous passage in the Missouri Senate. Missouri became the first state to address the issue with legislation, sending a signal to other states to follow suit.
Missouri Cattlemen's Association Executive Vice President Mike Deering expects other state cattle organizations to lead legislation in their respective state. Deering says the legislation ensures "the integrity of our meat supply and reduces consumer confusion."
"This isn't a Missouri issue. This is about protecting the integrity of the products that farm and ranch families throughout the country work hard to raise each and every day," said Deering. "I never imagined we would be fighting over what is and isn't meat. It seems silly. However, this is very real and I cannot stress enough the importance of this issue. We are beyond pleased to see this priority legislation cross the finish-line."
The passage of the legislation follows a vote by the U.S. House Appropriations Committee supporting regulatory oversight of lab-grown meat substitutes by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Missouri Cattlemen's, along with the National Cattlemen's Beef Association believe USDA is "best-placed to ensure food safety and accurate labeling of these products."
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