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Your Update from Ron Hays of RON
Friday, July 6, 2018
Scott Pruitt Resigns from EPA - Read Statements from Scott Pruitt and Sen. Jim Inhoffe
The polarizing tenure of Scott Pruitt as head of the Environmental Protection Agency has come to an end. President Donald Trump tweeted on Thursday afternoon that he's "accepted the resignation of Scott Pruitt as the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency," noting that Pruitt has done a "good job within the Agency." The Senate has already confirmed Deputy Administrator Andrew Wheeler, who will take over as the acting Administrator next week.
The departure of Pruitt follows months of scrutiny that gathered momentum following reports that Pruitt had rented a Capitol Hill condominium from an energy lobbyist on very favorable rental terms. There were already concerns about the high cost of Pruitt's travel and security detail, as well as the allegations of Pruitt fostering a working environment filled with workplace retaliation and wasteful spending. The steady flow of news stories prompted multiple government agencies to inquire into Pruitt and the agency, which still faces over a dozen probes into spending, ethics, and policy decisions.
Pruitt cited "unrelenting attacks" from his critics in his letter to President Trump, that have destabilized his personal life and prompted his resignation.
"That is why it is hard for me to advise you I am stepping down as Administrator of the EPA effective as of July 6th. It is extremely difficult for me to cease serving you in this role first because I count it a blessing to be serving you in any capacity, but also, because of the transformative work that is occurring. However, the unrelenting attacks on me personally, as well as on my family, are unprecedented and have taken a sizable toll on all of us."
Click here to read more of Pruitt's comments addressed to President Trump, regarding his resignation and listen to our last interview with Pruitt recorded earlier this year about his efforts to repeal and replace the controversial WOTUS rule.
Oklahoma's Senior Senator Jim Inhoffe issued a statement after the news broke, defending Pruitt's performance as Administrator of the EPA.
"Scott Pruitt did great work to reduce the nations regulatory burdens facing our nation while leading the Environmental Protection Agency. He was single minded at restoring the EPA to its proper statutory authority and ending the burdensome regulations that have stifled economic growth across the country. I was pleased to work with him on critical issues, like pulling out of the Paris Climate Agreement and prioritizing the cleanup of Superfund sites."
Read Inhoffe's complete statement, by clicking here.
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Click here for a complete list of the Commission firms that make up the Livestock Exchange at the Oklahoma National Stockyards- still the best place to sell your cattle- and at the heart of Stockyards City, where you can go around the corner enjoy a great steak and shop for the very best in western wear.
Industry Reacts to Administrator Scott Pruitt's Departure from the EPA with Wide Range of Opinions
While Scott Pruitt had his critics, he also developed a strong group of supporters as well during his tenure as EPA Administrator. Those affiliations became apparent yesterday in the wake of the President Trump's announcement that he had accepted Pruitt's resignation over Twitter, as industry groups shared their reactions.
"We're extremely disappointed about the announcement that Adm. Pruitt has made the decision to resign," said Colin Woodall of the National Cattlemen's Beef Association in a phone interview with us Thursday evening. "He has been a great friend to all of us in agriculture, but especially those of us in the cattle industry since he took over as Administrator of the EPA."
Prior to Pruitt's transition into that role, Woodall says the ag industry had always had an adversarial and contentious relationship with the EPA.
"Adm. Pruitt came in and he changed all that," he commented. "He actually wanted to work with us and talk with us about the overregulation of agriculture and we welcomed that. So, we sure hate to see him go."
Click here to read more or listen to mine and Colin's complete conversation.
The Renewable Fuels Association had a much different view of Pruitt's performance, described in their own statement reacting to the news.
"For the past year, Scott Pruitt had been waging war against the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS), the biofuels industry, and the millions of farmers and rural Americans who helped Donald Trump get elected," said RFA President and CEO Bob Dinneen. "It appears these missteps finally caught up with Mr. Pruitt, who apparently thought that RFS stood for 'Refinery First Strategy.' Mr. Pruitt's failure to follow President Trump's directive to remove the red tape that restricts E15 from being sold in the summertime likely played a part in his demise, and the straw that broke the camel's back may have been Mr. Pruitt's recent proposal for 2019 RFS requirements that failed miserably to repair damages done to our nation's farmers and biofuel producers."
The Environmental Working Group was perhaps the most harsh in its reaction, with President Ken Cook calling Pruitt a "disgrace" to the office and "leaves a legacy as unquestionably the worst head of the agency in its 48-year history."
Click here to read the EWG's full reaction.
|Soapbox Time- the Scott Pruitt Resignation Showcases the Farm- Ranch Rift- and Who Really is the Enemy
I am going to invoke the name of Richard Gebhart this morning as I rant just a bit about the resignation of Scott Pruitt as the Administrator of EPA- there are those of you out there who have blasted me for interviewing him as Administrator because of his role within the Administration, the charges of ethics gone bad and more- calling me a cheerleader and worse.
Well- we did interviews with Gina McCarthy on WOTUS and more- and no one was offended.
As we talked to McCarthy about the Obama Administration efforts to regulate the Waters of the US- my conversations with Richard Gebhart come to my mind- I am thinking it was a summer Cattle Industry Meeting when we stood in the Hyatt Regency in downtown Denver and he explained he had just finished reading the WOTUS proposal a couple of times and he was VERY WORRIED about what this would mean for everyone in the farm and ranch community.
Others followed his lead- and I cannot think of a farm or ag group that was not blasting the EPA and Army Corps and Gina over WOTUS. It was the poster child for Regulatory Overreach.
I even remember talking with Roger Johnson of the National Farmers Union- who did not blast the Obama Administration over WOTUS- but had serious concerns about it- and was advocating pulling it and back doing some more work on it.
Fast forward to the last Presidential Campaign. Trump campaigns on rolling back regulations- and EPA and WOTUS was the bullseye on the target he was describing.
Trump wins- he picks Scott Pruitt to be his guy to go after that regulatory overreach. And Apparently- President Trump continued to keep his focus on that objective of Regulatory Rollback for all the days that Pruitt was his guy. White House Reporter Jennifer Jacobs for Bloomberg tweeted "PRUITT CHOSE TO RESIGN, Trump said on the record on AF1. "No final straw." "He came to me and he said look I have such great confidence in the administration I don't want to be a distraction and I think Scott felt that he was a distraction." "It was very much up to him."
Here at the end- the NCBA was one of the few supporters for Scott Pruitt- focusing on Regulatory Rollback- Colin Woodall's comments are featured above.
Farmers who are tied to Ethanol cheered the resignation- see the Bob Dinneen comment above- and one that we did not post came from the National Corn Growers Association who basically choose to be critical of Pruitt regarding ethanol and the RFS- with no mention of WOTUS- and they were a MAJOR critic of the WOTUS rule during the Gina McCarthy days- and were happy with Pruitt early on as he peeled away the layers of WOTUS one by one.
Animal Agriculture interests who buy corn to feed their livestock and farmers who embrace ethanol continue to have serious differences of opinion over the RFS- and Pruitt's problems and approach to the RFS highlight the rift.
Then- consider the comments above of Ken Cook of the EWG- he talked about the ethics issues- but his real beef was the regulatory rollback- HATING that and promising to assault Andrew Wheeler (if he is elevated to the top EPA post) just as savagely if he pursues this same unwinding of regulations in the days to come.
Perhaps this summation of what happened to Scott Pruitt is best summed up by Wall Street Journal contributor Kimberly Strassel- "Lesson to other Trump officials from Pruitt resignation: Give the left/media/organized greens any molehill and they will turn it into K2. Most of the accusations were overwrought, but the barrage was overwhelming."
During the Oklahoma Pork Congress last week, we caught up with Dan Kovich, director of science and technology with the National Pork Producers Council. Kovich discussed with producers at the Congress how the intersection of science and policy is steering the path of innovation in the industry currently.
Touching on several topics, such as issues surrounding CRISPR technology, the need of a national Foot & Mouth Disease vaccine bank and the rise of fake meat among others, Kovich offered his expert opinions from an NPPC perspective.
Regarding the FMD vaccine bank, the jury is still out... or at least Congress is. While both the House and Senate have included language in each of their versions of the Farm Bill authorizing the bank, only the House bill includes mandatory funding to get the project off the ground. Kovich says the US livestock industry is "woefully unprepared" for an FMD outbreak, making this facility an absolute necessity. As the House and Senate prepare to enter into conference negotiations to produce a final Farm Bill, Kovich says the industry waits anxiously to see if any funding is appropriated in the end.
When it comes to the experimental gene-editing CRISPR technology and the growing sophistication of "fake meat" production, essentially Kovich says it comes down to a matter of what parameters are appropriate in regulating these innovations and which agencies have jurisdictional authority over them.
The main issue here, is to ensure that new and useful technologies with a high-potential for positively impacting the industry, be given adequate controls while at the same time allowed enough flexibility to be fully explored and developed.
Read more or listen to Kovich further explain these and other challenges related to the development of industry innovations, by clicking here.
Little Change Noted in This Week's Drought Monitor as Recent Moisture is Offset by Hot Weather in Oklahoma
Looking back over June, Oklahoma received some significant drought-reducing rainfall thanks to substantial amounts of tropical moisture carried up from the Gulf of Mexico by a succession of storm systems that made their way across Oklahoma into the Northern Plains. However, sustained hot weather throughout the month slowed and in some cases counteracted progress where drought persists in the state.
More of the same is forecast for this month which Oklahoma State Climatologist Gary McManus commented in his latest newsletter, the Mesonet Ticker, "does not bode well for Oklahoma's ongoing drought."
Little change was noted in this week's Drought Monitor, aside from some minor downward adjustment in the Extreme Drought category from 11.75 percent to 8.51 percent bringing the total area in Oklahoma affected at least by Abnormally Dry Conditions to 76.75 percent. Land area under the worst category of drought or "Exceptional Drought" is less than 1 percent, currently.
For a closer look at this week's Drought Monitor, or to review the latest edition of the Mesonet Ticker newsletter, click here.
We are pleased to have American Farmers & Ranchers Mutual Insurance Company as a regular sponsor of our daily update. On both the state and national levels, full-time staff members serve as a "watchdog" for family agriculture producers, mutual insurance company members and life company members.
Click here to go to their AFR website to learn more about their efforts to serve rural America!
This Week on SUNUP - Kim Anderson Says Markets Need Russian Wheat to Fail Before Prices Rise
Over the last few weeks, the wheat market has watched as cash prices have declined by as much as a dollar leading up to the rollover of bidding from the July Kansas City contract to the September contract, which led to a roughly a 20 cent drop in the basis with no change in the cash price.This week on SUNUP - Oklahoma State University Extension Grain Market Economist Dr. Kim Anderson addresses these new developments in the market with host Lyndall Stout and offers his advice to producers revising their marketing strategies in accordance to this news.Since the most recent drop in prices at the beginning of this week, Anderson says part of that 18 cents or so was recaptured the following session. From here, though as we move toward fall, Anderson says what happens in the market will depend heavily on what transpires in the foreign markets."Let's get real. Basically, it's what happens in Russia and right now they're having some problems in their production," Anderson said. "It's projected to be about 400 million bushels less than last year. That's good news for us. But, to get a good rally we've got have a crop loss in Russia and we are going to have to lose more than 400 million bushels."
For Anderson's advice on how producers should modify their marketing strategies in light of these recent price fluctuations and to see what else is on the lineup for this week's episode of SUNUP, click or tap here
to jump to the full story on our website.
Canada Hits US Beef Industry Hard with New Tariffs in Retaliation Against Trump's Trade Policies
The US beef industry took a direct hit this past week when Canada announced its intentions to retaliate against US tariffs placed on steel and aluminum imports, with its own set of tariffs targeting US beef products. Jim Robb of the Livestock Marketing Information Center remarked in a recent interview that this development adds another layer of worry and uncertainty to onto an already tense global market, reeling from the tremors of a mounting trade war instigated by the United States.
"At this time, most of (Canada's tariffs) is targeted towards further processed beef items, in terms of the frozen food items and much of the packaged food items etc. that have been in it. That's really a very important sector of US products," Robb said. "So, there's a lot of moving parts in these trade agreements and these arrangements, but certainly precarious is probably at this point a descriptor of where we might be."
The situation at the moment is still very fluid, constantly changing as new developments occur. However, if these tariffs play out and are fully implemented before a resolution can be reached, Robb laments that the US beef industry could have a real problem on its hands concerning the nation's 4th largest beef customer, with over 12 percent of US beef exported to Canada annually.
"These things, as we've seen already, tend to be iterative and retaliatory in nature and so once the ball starts turning, we're not sure where it's going to stop. So, that will add uncertainty clearly into the marketplace and cause buyers to step back and we have to remember meat is largely a non-storable product and so if we have buyers even step back for a week or two, there's kind of reverberations through the marketing chain. So, we have to watch this very closely."
Listen to Robb explain the developing dynamics in the trade relationship between the US and Canada regarding beef exports, on today's Beef Buzz - click here.
|Texas Tech Food Safety Expert Mindy Brashears Earns Distinguished Research Award
Texas Tech's Mindy Brashears, has been presented the American Meat Science Association's (AMSA) 2018 Distinguished Research Award, for her research focused on interventions in pre- and post-harvest environments and on the emergence of antimicrobial drug resistance which has resulted in the commercialization of pre-harvest feed additives that reduce E. coli and Salmonella in cattle.
The award, established in 1965, recognizes members with outstanding research contributions to the meat industry and was presented at a special awards banquet at the AMSA's Reciprocal Meat Conference (RMC) on June 26 in Kansas City, Missouri.
Brashears, who also serves as director of Texas Tech's International Center for Food Industry Excellence, was nominated in May by President Donald Trump to be the new Undersecretary for Food Safety at the U.S. Department of Agriculture. She soon will begin the process of Senate confirmation.
Read the complete story for more details on Brashears' work, by clicking here.
|The 30th Annual Week in the Rockies Ready to Begin Monday in Colorado
The numbers are down just a bit this year versus last- and the venue has changed from Steamboat Springs to Breckenridge- but the Week in the Rockies XXX of Superior Livestock is set to begin on Monday morning- and it will be another dandy.
217,000 head of cattle will be offered this coming week- on DISH Network 232 and DirecTV Channel 601- plus on Superior Click to Bid.Com.
Monday morning- July 9th- the Week in the Rockies Sale will feature the following- starting at 9:00 AM Central Time:
FLORIDA WEANED CALVES & CALVES ON COWS
LOUISIANA, SOUTH & CENTRAL TEXAS & OKLAHOMA CALVES ON COWS
REGION 3/4/5/6 WEANED CALVES (PURCHASED)
REGION 3/5/6 WEANED CALVES (HOME RAISED FOR JULY & AUGUST DELIVERY)
REGION 3/5/6 WEANED CALVES (HOME RAISED FOR SEPTEMBER - DECEMBER DELIVERY)
WEST TEXAS, NEW MEXICO & OKLAHOMA PANHANDLE CALVES ON COWS
KANSAS WEANED CALVES & CALVES ON COWS
Oklahoma sits right in the middle of region 3.
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