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|Oklahoma's Latest Farm and Ranch News
Your Update from Ron Hays of RON
Friday, December 21, 2018
| Featured Story- President Trump Praises Lawmakers as he Signs the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018 into Law
President Donald Trump signed the farm bill -- the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018 -- into law on Thursday in a ceremony at the White House.
"We have to take care of our farmers and our ranchers, and we will take care of them," Trump said before signing the bill.
The President praised lawmakers from both parties for their work on the five year bill and mentioned several elements of the bill as being very important to rural America- including Crop Insurance and Broadband Improvements.
Trump signed the farm bill surrounded by lawmakers and a group of leaders from farm organizations. The president pointed to elements in the bill such as increased loan amounts for farmers and more programs and funding to expand rural broadband.
"It's amazing how sophisticated the whole farming industry has become," Trump said, highlighting the need for the technology.
Click or tap here to read more and to be able to listen to President Trump's remarks about the Farm Bill that he was signing.
Two Oklahomans stood behind the President while he signed the bill- Jimmie Musick of Sentinel, representing the National Association of Wheat Growers as their President and Piper Merritt of Owasso who represented the National FFA- she has just completed her year of service as a National Officer of the organization.
Merritt was placed between the House and Senate Ag Committee leadership- perhaps as a symbol that this bill will help US Agriculture to be better and brighter looking into the future.
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U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue Celebrates President Trump's Signing of the 2018 Farm Bill as an Early Christmas Gift to Farmers
U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue celebrated President Trump's signing of the 2018 Farm Bill, yesterday, remarking on what a great day it was for the agricultural community, likening President Trump's signature on the bill to a Christmas present for American agriculture.
"Farmers take financial risks every year as a matter of doing business, so having a Farm Bill in place gives them peace of mind to make their decisions for the future," Perdue stated. "Since early talks on this Farm Bill began back in 2017, I've always believed it would be more evolutionary, rather than revolutionary, and that has borne out to be true."
In his comments, Perdue highlighted the bill's farm safety net programs, its protection of federal crop insurance, and its inclusion of strong rural development and research initiatives. The Secretary also pointed out specifically, the legislation's changes to the Margin Protection Program for dairy producers and its provisions for a new Animal Disease Prevention and Management program.
"While we would have liked more progress on forest management reforms and work requirements for certain Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program recipients, we look forward to using our authorities to make improvements in those areas," he said. "All told, this is a Farm Bill that should be welcomed by producers, and at USDA we will eagerly implement its provisions."
You can read more of the Secretary's remarks or listen to the comments he made during Thursday's signing ceremony, by clicking or tapping here.
The agriculture community was quick to respond to news that President Trump had signed off on the long-awaited 2018 Farm Bill. We have included a few of those reactions below. To view any of the others listed further below, just follow the corresponding links to our website.
Terry Detrick, American Farmers & Ranchers President stated, "We're very pleased that our farmers and ranchers can now make plans for their operations for the future. We appreciate all of our Oklahoma delegation supporting it."
The signing ceremony was held in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building at the White House. NAWG President and Sentinel, OK wheat farmer Jimmie Musick was invited to attend the official signing of the bill. He offered his reaction to the bill's signing.
"Today marked a historic event not only for wheat growers but all of American agriculture," Musick stated. "The 2018 Farm Bill provides farmers with the certainty and stability they need to continue producing a safe and nutritious food supply, while using fewer resources, and maintaining healthy soil for their crop."
House Ag Chair Mike Conaway, who played a key role in the process of getting the Farm Bill passed, remarked that Trump signing the bill is America keeping its faith with our hard-working farm and ranch families.
Because of the support of the President, Sec. Perdue and a Republican Congress, we were able to deliver a new farm bill in the same year that the legislation was first introduced, which marks a first in nearly 30 years," Conaway said. "I'm proud of this bill and I'm honored to have served as chairman throughout this process. I'm thankful to all those who worked to help make today's enactment of the farm bill possible."
Ranking Member of the Senate Ag Committee, Debbie Stabenow, also expressed thanks to the President for signing the bill, but addressed her reservations over SNAP reforms being pushed by the Administration as well.
"After many months of hard work, the 2018 Farm Bill is now the law of the land," said Senator Stabenow. "This bill expands the diversity of our agricultural economy, maintains a strong food and farm safety net, creates new opportunities in our small towns and rural communities, and makes significant investments in land and water conservation.
"While I'm pleased the President has signed the Farm Bill, I have strong concerns that the Administration's rule on nutrition assistance will take food away from families. I will oppose any attempt by this Administration to undermine our bipartisan Farm Bill that protects food assistance."
Check out more reactions to President Trump signing the 2018 Farm Bill, by clicking on the links below.
Disclosure Standards Draws Praise from Ag Community
Ag Secretary Sonny Perdue says USDA has established the National Bioengineered Food Standard. The standard will require food manufacturers, importers, and certain retailers to make sure bioengineered foods are properly disclosed to consumers. Perdue says the new standard will increase the transparency of our nation's food system by establishing guidelines on how to disclose bioengineered ingredients.
"This ensures clear information and labeling consistency for consumers about the ingredients in their food," Perdue says. "The standard also avoids a patchwork of state-by-state systems that could be confusing to consumers."
The Standard will define bioengineered foods as those that contain detectable genetic material that has been modified through lab techniques and can't be created through conventional breeding or found in nature. The implementation date is January first of 2020. Smaller food manufacturers will have an implementation date of January first, 2021.
There are several disclosure options, including written text, symbols, electronic or digital link, and/or text message. Options like phone numbers or websites will be available to smaller food manufacturers. A congressional law passed in June of 2016 required USDA to come up with a standard to disclose which foods that are or may be bioengineered. Click here to read more about the rule.
Most key agricultural groups seem to support the USDA rule. The National Corn Growers Association
says the standard is designed to inform consumers about the presence of bioengineered genetic material in their food. USDA's disclosure standard stands firmly with science is stating there is no risk to eating bioengineered crops.
NCGA President Lynn Chrisp says, "American's corn farmers need a consistent, transparent system to provide consumers with information without stigmatizing this technology."
Dave Stephens, American Soybean Association President, says soybean farmers are pleased that USDA took its time to do the rule in the right way.
"We believe it allows transparency for consumers while following the intent of Congress that only food containing modified genetic material be required to be labeled," Stephens says.
"This rule gives the public more information than ever before on how their food was produced," says Chuck Conner, NCFC President. "At the same time, farmers and food producers still have access to the technology needed to provide safe and affordable food to a growing world population."
American Farm Bureau Federation President Zippy Duvall
stated, "The rule is a victory not only for consumers who want transparency but for the entire food value chain, from the farmer to food manufacturers."
The Biotechnology Innovation Organization remarked on the rule as well.
"The final rule provides a mechanism for consumers to access clear, consistent and truthful information about food in a way that does not stigmatize the role of technology in food production."
USDA to Restore Original Intent of SNAP to "Give Recipients a Second Chance, Not A Way of Life"
It turns out Republicans could get more stringent work requirements added to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program after all. The USDA is changing requirements for states to issue waivers on SNAP benefits. Politico says it's not a coincidence that the announcement came out on the same day that President Trump is expected to sign the new farm bill.
As the current law is written, able-bodied adults without dependents can't get SNAP benefits for more than three months during a three-year period. To get more benefits from the program, those able-bodied adults have to be working or enrolled in an education or training program for 80 hours a month. However, states are allowed to waive those requirements when unemployment spikes or there aren't enough jobs available.
USDA issued a proposed rule that would tighten the requirements states have to meet in order to issue those waivers. An estimated 755,000 of those able-bodied adults would lose SNAP benefits over three years if the proposal is implemented. USDA says the plan should save up to $15 billion over a decade.
Click here to read the full story up on our website.
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.
Chairwoman Dawn Caldwell Refutes Critics' Claims About State Beef Council Federation's Work
The populist beef industry organization, R-CALF USA, currently has litigation against the United States Department of Agriculture and the Montana Beef Council - an action that has been expanded to additional beef councils across the heartland including Texas, Kansas and Nebraska. At the heart of the litigation is the money that's being handed over by state beef councils to the Federation of State Beef Councils. Chair of that group, Dawn Caldwell of Nebraska, explained to us recently, what this all really means for state Beef Councils.
"Right now, nothing has changed," she said. "The judge has not placed the injunction that Montana is experiencing on the other states. So, we are operating status quo."
She continued, "None of those states have anything wrong. The lawsuit is asking to validate federal oversight. All of those states have a Memorandum of Understanding in place - so each and every project they're doing even at their state level is being approved at the federal USDA level."
With that critical MOU in place, Caldwell is confident the councils will be able to maneuver their 50 cents through the system as they have been to continue to create beef demand. Caldwell argues that the work of the councils benefits all producers with the beef demand it creates. Especially right now, with beef demand at an all-time high.
"If we are not allowed to carry out that good work, then I get sad thinking about what could happen to beef demand and every producer. We want good market prices for our animals and beef demand is what brings that about for us," she said, reiterating that every dollar collected by the Beef Checkoff is allocated and brings value back to the producer that contributed it. "The benefit that comes from those dollars is incredible and to think that there is any question that these dollars cross paths makes me really sad."
Listen to Caldwell and Idiscuss further how the Federation of State Beef Councils in partnership with the USDA, creates consumer demand to help beef producers market their product, on today's Beef Buzz - click here.
One Lesson Learned by Iowa Corn Farmer Don Stall - Farmers Win with Pioneer Brand Corn Hybrids
Yesterday, the National Corn Growers Association released the results of its annual Corn Yield Contest. The event is designed to highlight the genetic yield potential of modern corn hybrids in the form of friendly competition among US corn growers. In total, NCGA passed out seven national and 189 state awards to growers who used Pioneer brand products in this year's contest.
Don Stall, a Michigan farmer using Pioneer hybrid P0574AM™, had the highest yield of all participants in the 2018 contest, posting a yield of 477.7 bu/A. Stall is a self-proclaimed student of corn. According to him, if he has learned one thing in a lifetime of studying the crop, it is that producers who use Pioneer brand corn hybrids - win.
Hear Stall talk about all that he has learned from participating in the NCGA contest, and find more information about Pioneer brand corn hybrids - Plus, a complete list of national winners, yield totals and hybrid numbers - by clicking over to our website.
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