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|Oklahoma's Latest Farm and Ranch News
Your Update from Ron Hays of RON
Thursday, December 13, 2018
Governor-Elect Stitt Chooses Blayne Arthur to Serve as Oklahoma's First Ever Female Secretary of Ag
Oklahoma's Governor-elect Kevin Stitt has announced his selection of Blayne Arthur to be the state's next Secretary of Agriculture. She will be the first female to ever hold the office in the state's history. Arthur currently serves as the Oklahoma 4-H Foundation's Executive Director and prior to that, served as Deputy Commissioner for the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, Food, and Forestry under outgoing department head, Jim Reese, after being hired by his predecessor Terry Peach. She talked about the appointment in an exclusive interview with us, yesterday, prior to the official announcement's release.
"I am very excited for this opportunity and the chance to work for Governor-elect Stitt. I am familiar with how the agency works and I am very excited about the vision that our Governor-elect has for the state of Oklahoma. Something I am very passionate about is our ag producers here in the state. So, when I was asked to interview for the position, I was very humbled to just have the chance to visit with him and his staff."
Arthur says she is very excited about the opportunities to improve the business and regulatory environment for our ag producers here in the state and says she hopes to continue the tradition set by former Secretary Peach, to facilitate cooperation and collaboration among the various ag interests in Oklahoma.
"Everyone has kind of a focus of who they are representing and what their interest is, but when you get them to work together as a unit or a coalition, you can really get some positive things done, whether it's policy or legislation - when all of the ag groups get behind something, they are usually very successful," she said. "There are some things where you just have to say 'ok we can't all agree on that.' But, I think you take the things that are important to all of ag and they can work really, really well together. Having a good dialogue really makes a big difference."
You can listen to that complete interview with Arthur, by clicking or tapping here.
And some bonus reading on Blayne- click or tap here for the feature piece on her after her selection as the Significant Woman in Agriculture in 2017.
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House Passes Farm Bill 369-47, Bill Heads to White House for President Trump's Signature
The House of Representatives followed through with passage of the farm bill Wednesday, sending the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018 to President Trump for signature. House members voted 369 to 47 in favor of the bill. Of the votes against the bill, 44 were Republicans and just three were Democrats. The action followed Tuesday's passage in the Senate, 87 to 13.
The long-awaited five-year farm bill replaces the expired 2014 farm bill. House Agriculture Committee Chairman Mike Conaway, says the bill "sets us on a better path - for producers, for rural communities and American consumers." The House action met obvious fanfare from the agriculture community.
House Agriculture Committee Ranking Member Collin Peterson stated that he was very happy to see his colleagues pass the bill.
"As I said in my floor speech, rural America is facing so many challenges and this bill goes a long way toward providing needed certainty to farmers and ranchers," he said. "I encourage President Trump to sign the farm bill into law quickly."
Click here to read the full comments made by House Ag Leaders Conaway and Peterson.
Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue, whose department will be charged with implementing the bill once signed, said there were "missed opportunities" in forest management and work requirement for certain SNAP recipients, but adds the bill does provides a strong safety net for farmers and ranchers, "who need the dependability and certainty" from Washington.
Click here to read the full remarks made by Secretary Perdue.
Ag Industry Cheers Farm Bill's Long-Awaited Passage
The ag industry has waited with bated breath for the moment that the 2018 Farm Bill would finally make it through both the House and Senate. That moment finally arrived late yesterday, spurring the many organizations that make up the ag industry and rural community to sing universal praise for the leaders of the House and Senate Ag Committees and their colleagues that passed the bill through the house with an overwhelming majority.
"This is a huge win for the livestock industry," said National Pork Producers Council President Jim Heimerl, a pork producer from Johnstown, Ohio. "The ability to respond to foreign animal disease emergencies is critical to safeguarding the well-being of our animals, our economy and the safety of our food supply."
"The certainty of a new farm bill is very welcome news for farmers as they begin to look toward the new year," said National Corn Growers Association President Lynn Chrisp
. "NCGA is pleased to see a return to the bipartisanship that has been a hallmark of past farm bills and we look forward to the President quickly signing the bill into law."
"Historically low prices, trade instability, and the current weather challenges are all weighing heavily on the minds of growers," stated NAWG President and Sentinel, OK wheat farmer Jimmie Musick. "The 2018 farm bill provides the certainty they need to get through these arduous times and many of the programs within the bill can help growers stay in business."
"America's cattlemen and women want common sense and certainty from Congress this holiday season and throughout the year - today they received that through the passage of the Farm Bill," said National Cattlemen's Beef Association President Kevin Kester.
"Certainty that a Foot-and-Mouth Disease vaccine bank will be authorized and funded. Certainty that important conservation programs will be reauthorized and funded. And certainty that trade promotion and access to foreign markets will remain a priority in the years to come."
"We applaud today's final passage of the 2018 Farm Bill, and especially thank Chairman Mike Conaway for his skillful leadership that made it possible," said Robert McKnight, Jr., president of the Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association. "The legislation retains many of the hard-fought provisions that were essential to cattle raisers, including authorization for a foot-and-mouth disease vaccine bank and enhancements to important conservation programs such as the Environmental Quality Incentives Program.
"Today's passage of the 2018 farm bill by the House of Representatives, and the Senate's approval yesterday, is welcome news to America's farmers and ranchers and the consumers who depend on them for our food, fiber and energy crops," said American Farm Bureau President Zippy Duvall. "Passage means we are one signature away from renewal of risk management tools, foreign market development and environmental stewardship programs that farmers and ranchers need to survive a prolonged and painful downturn in farm income and be sustainable.
Following several years of low farm prices, trade disruptions and increasing international competition, passage of the 2018 Farm Bill comes at a crucial time for our farmers and ranchers. U.S. Wheat Associates (USW) thanks Congress for renewing the long-term investment in export market development programs and urges President Trump to sign the Farm Bill into law as soon as possible," said USW Chairman Chris Kolstad, a wheat farmer from Ledger, Mont. "We also want to thank the National Association of Wheat Growers for working to present our positions on export development funding and we are very pleased that members of Congress and their staff addressed those concerns effectively in this Farm Bill. Now President Trump has the opportunity to seal a deal that will help us stay competitive in a world that needs more high-quality wheat."
Three organizations from Oklahoma's ag industry, including the Oklahoma Farm Bureau, American Farmers & Ranchers and the Oklahoma Cattlemen's Association,
submitted their reactions to us as well - all of them unified in their praise for Oklahoma's Congressional Delegation in the role they each played in getting the Farm Bill passed. Read their full reactions, here.
Piecing the Puzzle Together - Climate Hub Teaches Farmers to Mitigate Impacts of Extreme Weather
Clay Pope is with the Southern Plains Climate Hub, headquartered at the Grazing Lands Laboratory at Fort Reno USDA complex. He recently spoke with us about the Hub's purpose and some of the recent work. According to him, the Climate Hubs were originally created to coordinate the activities of the different USDA agencies on issues dealing with extreme weather events that he says are being exacerbated by a changing climate. As the name suggests, The Southern Plains Climate Hub covers Oklahoma, Texas and Kansas and is affiliated with the USDA's Agricultural Research Service (ARS).
"We do a lot of work trying to help agricultural producers come up with strategies to deal with extreme weather events. We deal with the agencies to see what they're doing because every agency has a piece of the puzzle in dealing with the challenges we see from weather," Pope said. "Our job is to bring everybody to the table - see what pieces they have to that puzzle - assemble that puzzle and then see where the holes are."
The work that Pope and the Climate Hub does he says, helps producers better prepare themselves and their operations for both extreme rain events and extended droughts. It also has a major focus on improving soil health which improves soil's overall capacity for moisture retention and helps farmers have more control over soil erosion. One issue that the Hub is promoting right now, though, is the benefits of prescribed burning. Pope says this practice can be very beneficial to land managers as it not only reduces the fuel load for potential wildfires, but also helps the ecology of the land.
Pope will be teaching land owners and managers first hand about the benefits and best practices when it comes to prescribed burning at the upcoming Fire Suppression Through Prescribed Fire Training School being hosted by the Southern Plains Climate Hub and its partners on January 5, 2019 in Concho, Okla. To learn more about this training seminar, keep reading or listen to our complete conversation by clicking here.
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US Farmers & Ranchers Alliance Elects Bowling Chairman
With U.S. Farmers & Ranchers Alliance (USFRA) new 2.0 focus of elevating farmers and ranchers as the solution for sustainability, the organization has proudly announced Chip Bowling as its fourth Chairman.
"I truly believe farmers and ranchers are the change makers, and real sustainability starts with each acre," said Bowling, a Maryland crop farmer. "With 48 percent of our land in the stewardship of America's farmers and ranchers, now more than ever, we need all of food and agriculture to speak in unison and ensure we have a seat at the table across the entire value chain."
Since USFRA's inception in 2010, Chip's predecessors include Bob Stallman, Nancy Kavazanjian and Brad Greenway.
Elected at the USFRA board meeting on November 8, Bowling will be joined by a new executive committee consisting primarily of farmers and ranchers.
To review a complete list of those elected to serve on this board, and to learn about USFRA's new podcast that was recently launched - click here.
What's Selling: Assoc. of Equipment Manufacturers Releases November Ag Equipment Sales Report
The Association of Equipment Manufacturers' November U.S. Ag Tractor and Combine Report from November shows overall sales remained positive year-to-date.
U.S. Sales of self-propelled combines gained 9.2 percent in November compared to last year, and U.S. sales of four-wheel-drive tractors increased 60.7 percent month-over-month.
November year-to-date U.S. sales showed a 16.6 percent growth for combines and 15.9 percent growth for four-wheel-drive tractors. Total November sales of two-wheel-drive tractors declined .9 percent compared to last year, a two percent gain for under-40 horsepower tractors, a 7.8 percent drop for 40-100 horsepower tractors, and a 4.4 percent gain for 100-plus horsepower tractors.
November year-to-date growth for overall U.S. sales of two-wheel-drive tractors grew 6.9 percent; under-40 horsepower tractors gained 9.3 percent; 40-100 horsepower tractors increased 1.4 percent, and 100-plus horsepower tractors grew 5.5 percent.
Curt Blades, AEM senior vice president of ag services, says overall, sales "have been resilient this year. However, end of year sales are softening as "trade issues remain a major concern."
Click here to read more highlights from this report.
National FFA Announces National FFA Convention & Expo will Stay in Indianapolis Through 2031
The National FFA Organization announced Wednesday that its National FFA Convention & Expo will be staying in Indianapolis through 2031.
"We are proud to keep the National FFA Convention & Expo in Indianapolis," Mark Poeschl, the National FFA chief executive officer, said. "The city has extended its very best brand of Hoosier hospitality to our members for many years, and we are very pleased that our convention will remain here through 2031."
The annual national convention and expo, which has been held in Indianapolis since 2016, hosts more than 67,000 attendees from across the country. The event was estimated to have an economic impact of $39.8 million for Indianapolis during 2018.
"Indianapolis is excited to welcome back the National FFA Convention & Expo through 2031," said Mayor Joe Hogsett. "Not only does this commitment create an estimated $39.8 million in annual economic impact for Central Indiana, but attendees from across the state and around the globe uplift our residents through community projects each year. There is so much success on the horizon for Indianapolis and I'm thrilled the FFA Convention will continue to be a part of that story."
Click over to the Blue-Green Gazette on our website to read more.
|Bonus Farm Bill Coverage- Our Conversation with Oklahoma Congressman Frank Lucas
The 2018 Farm Bill Conference has now cleared both the Senate and the House- passing the House by a wide 369 to 47 final vote. After a few high fives, Oklahoma's third district Congressman and former Chairman of the House Ag Committee, Frank Lucas, hopped on the long line with me and talked about the historic vote and what aspects of the bill that he believes will be especially helpful to farmers, ranchers and landowners in the Third District and across the country.
Click here to go and listen to our visit with Roger Mills County farmer and lawmaker Frank Lucas for his in depth look at the 2018 farm bill soon to become farm law.
|Our thanks to Midwest Farms Shows, P & K Equipment, Livestock Exchange at the Oklahoma National Stockyards, Oklahoma Farm Bureau, Stillwater Milling Company, National Livestock Credit Corporation, Oklahoma Beef Council, Oklahoma AgCredit, Oklahoma Pork Council, the Oklahoma Cattlemens Association and KIS Futures for their support of our daily Farm News Update. For your convenience, we have our sponsors' websites linked here- just click on their name to jump to their website- check their sites out and let these folks know you appreciate the support of this daily email, as their sponsorship helps us keep this arriving in your inbox on a regular basis- at NO Charge!
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