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|Oklahoma's Latest Farm and Ranch News
Your Update from Ron Hays of RON
Monday, June 25, 2018
As Farm Bill Efforts Progress, Rep. Frank Lucas Lays Out the Work Ahead for Congressional Leaders
As we await our legislators' next move closer to passing a new Farm Bill to replace the existing one before it expires this coming September, our Third District Congressman and former House Ag Committee Chairman Frank Lucas sat down with us last week to talk about the work lawmakers have ahead of them.
According to Congressman Lucas, the main issue at hand will be finding common ground - not just between the Senators and House members at Conference committee, but between House leaders themselves.
Ranking House Ag Committee Member Colin Peterson has been very vocal about his disapproval of Chairman Mike Conaway's Farm Bill proposal, specifically his changes to the SNAP program which would require those enrolled in the program to meet certain expectations in order to earn their food stamps. However, Lucas says once Conference negotiations begin, it will be critically important for both the Chairman and Ranking Member to come to the table as a unified front if they expect to accomplish anything. Lucas maintains that despite his differences regarding SNAP, Peterson has just as much invested in this bill as Conaway. He believes those differences will eventually be set aside and it is more than likely Conference negotiations will result in softer language pertaining to SNAP requirements.
Before all this can happen, though, the Senate will have to pass its own version of the bill. The Senate Ag Committee recently marked-up its draft proposal in surprisingly quick fashion. It now waits to be voted on by the full Senate.
The one thing that hasn't been discussed much at this point, though, is the President's attitude toward the Farm Bill. While Lucas believes the President will probably sign what Congress presents, based on the direction things are going, he says Mr. Trump has hinted at what his overarching agenda is.
"In several personal meetings, he's made it quite clear to me, he means to make the world trade system more equitable and fair to all US producers of all commodities, both agricultural and non," he said. "And he is bound and determined to prevail."
Click here to listen to my complete conversation with Congressman Lucas to hear him explain these and other challenges lawmakers face as they work to finalize a new Farm Bill.
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Pork Producers Praise House Leaders for Farm Bill's Inclusion of Provisions for an FMD Vaccine Bank
The National Pork Producers Council praised House members for the recent passage of the "Agriculture and Nutrition Act of 2018," which includes several provisions important to U.S. pork producers.
Chief among the important provisions is language establishing and funding a Foot-and-Mouth Disease vaccine bank. Although this highly-infectious livestock disease was last detected in the United States in 1929, it is endemic in many parts of the world and would be financially devastating to U.S. agriculture if an outbreak were to occur here. While permanent authorization for the bank has been included in the proposed bill, adequate funding to complete the project was not.
Likewise, the House version of the five-year agricultural blueprint includes only a portion of the needed funds for the first year, plus some minor provisions for subsequent years. NPPC argues the US is unprepared for an FMD outbreak and is strongly encouraging lawmakers to reconsider their financial support in this effort to improve that situation.
Click here to read the complete release from the NPPC and learn more about the funds needed to complete this vaccine bank and what other provisions the Senate Farm Bill provides the US pork industry.
|Weekend Rains Help Turn Drought Into Something Less Than Drought
Rainfall amounts have been remarkable since last Friday morning- with significant rain making systems hitting Oklahoma in waves- on overnight Friday into Saturday, overnight Saturday into Sunday and now overnight Sunday into Monday- with a huge line of showers and thunderstorms stretching from southern Nebraska down to north Texas as we write this- here is what the three day rainfall map looks like- which takes us back to Friday morning:
You can click here to see the real time interactive version of this snapshot of rainfall totals- the most impressive number is the Fairview Mesonet site- the proud owner of 7.15 inches of rainfall since last Friday morning.
I would suspect that the blue areas of northeastern Oklahoma will be adding to their totals as the morning goes along with the big line of showers that has been working its way across the region overnight.
It appears that after today- things start to dry out for the balance of June- but these rains will definitely impact this coming Thursday morning's Drought Monitor- and in general should boost the well being of spring planted crops and pasture and range conditions- all good things for sure.
OSU's Derrell Peel Returns from Month-Long Expedition in China with New Insight into Its Ag Industry
Oklahoma State University Extension Livestock Market Economist Dr. Derrell Peel recently returned from a near month-long stay in China, spending the first half of the trip teaching a class at the China Agricultural University, as part of a joint agribusiness program between the two institutions. He talked about the second half of his trip with us, during which he was able to travel across the country and observe China's agricultural industry up-close. He offered a summary of what he learned interacting with farmers during his travels.
"China is a big country and a big producer. You see a lot of wheat, corn, rice, soybeans... In general, the scale is smaller. Smaller farmers, smaller farmer units. There is some mechanization but again it tends to be small scale machine kinds of things that you see," Peel described. "It is fairly labor intensive in addition to that, so it's coming from those very traditional roots. I think it's making some changes but it's still kind of on that end of things at this point."
Regarding its beef market, Peel says China has historically always had a lot of beef production and consumption. But in recent years, the country as a whole has steadily increased beef consumption to the point that it has rapidly begun to significant outstrip production there. As a result, China has become a very large importer of beef, which has prompted the US beef industry to work aggressively at building its market share there. However, US stakeholders are now getting more and more nervous about how China's recent promise to retaliate to ongoing trade disputes with the implementation of harsh tariffs on several agricultural products originating from the US. Peel says that the impacts on the US beef industry from Chinese tariffs, though, will be minimal - at least directly - as the export volume of US beef to that country is quite limited. What is more concerning are the indirect impacts that might occur, say if US pork stopped selling there. That could create a situation where domestic competition might build between the two proteins and cause a decline meat values here at home. Despite these challenges, Peel says there is still a lot of promise for the US beef industry, regarding the Chinese market.
"It's going to be a long, slow process," he said. "But, there is certainly enormous potential in that market."
Listen to Peel speak with us about his experiences travelling through China and what he learned about its agricultural industry, on Friday's Beef Buzz - click here.
Jill DeRusha of Willow, Okla. Recognized as a Significant Woman in Agriculture by Oklahoma Ag Department
Jill DeRusha of Willow, Okla. was named last week by the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture as a Significant Woman in Agriculture.
She and husband Randy raise cattle, cotton, wheat, alfalfa and some milo. They've had roughly 2,000 acres of cotton in recent years. They also have 350 mama cows. They own some acres and lease the rest.
DeRusha's story in agriculture begins with her parents, Jimmy and the late Joyce (Wheeler) Heatly, who were taught her to drive a tractor by the time she was in second grade and travelled with her near and far to show cattle through her involvement in 4-H and FFA. It was during this time she says she learned the value of hard work and responsibility and grew a deep appreciation for caring for livestock.
In college, she finished in the top 10 of her class and later went on to work in the OSU Extension Service at the county level as an Ag Agent. She was a pacesetter in that regard.
Today, DeRusha uses that practical knowledge and experience from her career in Extension education in her daily work on her own operation.
You can read more about DeRusha's story and what makes her a Significant Woman in Oklahoma Agriculture, by clicking here.
Midwest Farm Shows is proud to produce the two best Farm Shows in the State of Oklahoma annually- the Tulsa Farm Show each December and the Oklahoma City Farm Show each April.
They would like to thank all of you who participated in their 2018 Oklahoma City Farm Show.
Up next will be the Tulsa Farm Show in December 2018- the dates are December 6th, 7th and 8th. Now is the ideal time to contact Ron Bormaster at 507-437-7969 and book space at the 2018 Tulsa Farm Show. To learn more about the Tulsa Farm Show, click here.
AFR Boasts Record Attendance at Annual Golf Tournament, Generates Thousands for Charity Show
Our friends at American Farmers & Ranchers put on another great golf tournament this year, benefiting what will be AFR's inaugural Gold Star Classic Special Needs Livestock Show.
This event will be held during the last week of August, Thursday the 30th at the Grady County Fairgrounds in Chickasha, during which AFR invites youth with special needs to participate in the show where they will have the chance to interact with donated show stock and local 4-H and FFA student volunteers.
This is the third year in which AFR has hosted a charity golf tournament and it only seems to be getting bigger and better. This was a record year for the tournament in both attendance and fundraising. Early reports from AFR say approximately 120 folks, including our Associate Farm Director Carson Horn, participated in the event generating more than $10,000 - though we have not yet been given an exact total, yet.
AFR President Terry Detrick says this event will help the organization reach out to Oklahoma's rural communities and inspire our youth.
Listen to Detrick speak with Carson about the success of this event - click here.
BIO Applauds Congressional Action to Reauthorize Funding for USDA's Biotech & Ag Trade Program
The Biotechnology Innovation Organization (BIO) released last week responded to the introduction of the bipartisan "Growing American Food Exports Act of 2018" which reauthorizes funding for USDA's Foreign Agriculture Service (FAS) Biotechnology and Agricultural Trade Program, first established in the 2002 Farm Bill.
BIO insists the program provides essential technical assistance and outreach that facilitates the export of products produced with innovative technologies, and specifically biotechnology. Ultimately, this bill will ensure the U.S. government has the resources it needs to address non-tariff barriers that deny U.S. farmers access to new production technologies, according to a release from BIO.
"Trade is critical to America's agricultural economy, as 20 percent of U.S. grown goods are sold in foreign markets," it says. "It is essential that USDA is properly equipped to advocate for America's farmers and for the innovative technologies that make U.S. grown goods the best in the world."
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American Angus Association Annual Convention Coming to the Buckeye State November 3 - 5, 2018
For the first time ever, the Angus Convention is headed to the Buckeye State during the first weekend in November. Angus breeders, commercial cattlemen and allied industry partners will join together to learn and set a vision for the future, participate in the organization's Annual Convention of Delegates, take in the bustling trade show and enjoy all the Angus history Ohio has to offer.
With the Certified Angus Beef headquarters just a short trip, the brand' 40th Anniversary will be at the core of the "celebration"-themed event.
"We want to invite everyone to the 2018 Angus Convention in my home state of Ohio," said American Angus Association Board Member John Grimes of Hillsboro, Ohio. "The state is home to a large agricultural sector and most importantly, is home to some unique Angus legends and history."
Nearly 2,500 cattlemen and women attended the 2017 Angus Convention in Fort Worth, Texas, making it the largest-ever Angus Convention. The American Angus Association looks forward to a growing crowd for this year's event in Columbus.
Before the official start of the convention, the Ohio Angus Association will host the National Angus Tour on Friday, Nov. 2, where participants will spend a day exploring the area's leading Angus operations and the Certified Angus Beef brand headquarters. The tour will be followed by three fully-packed days featuring inspiring guest speakers, informative and educational break-out sessions, the Angus Genomics Symposium and of course one of the best trade shows in the industry.
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