~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Oklahoma's latest farm and ranch news
Your Update from Ron Hays of RON for Thursday July 28, 2011A service of Producers Cooperative Oil Mill, Midwest Farm Shows and KIS Futures!
-- House Deficit Reduction Plan Appears to be Friendlier to Farm Program Spending- So Says Congressman Frank Lucas
-- USDA Issues Disaster Declaration for 74 Oklahoma Counties
-- Future Use of Precision Agriculture GPS Could Be Hampered
-- U.S. Cattlemen's Association and National Farmers Union Hosting National Discussions on Beef Checkoff
-- Beef Checkoff- Revamped Roles and Responsibilities Rolled out for Review
-- Helping Livestock Handle Heat is Essential in Summer Months
-- National Corn Growers Association Voices Concerns with Clean Water Act Draft Guidance
-- Let's Check the Markets!
Here's your morning farm news headlines from the Director of Farm Programming for the Radio Oklahoma Network, Ron Hays. We are proud to have KIS Futures as a regular sponsor of our daily email update. KIS Futures provides Oklahoma Farmers & Ranchers with futures & options hedging services in the livestock and grain markets- Click here for the free market quote page they provide us for our website or call them at 1-800-256-2555- and their IPHONE App, which provides all electronic futures quotes is available at the App Store- click here for the KIS Futures App for your Iphone.
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House Deficit Reduction Plan Appears to be Friendlier to Farm Program Spending- So Says Congressman Frank Lucas
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~There is a significant difference in how agricultural programs will be treated in the bills that continue to be developed by the House and Senate to address the debt ceiling/deficit reduction discussions that have captured the attention of the financial and political worlds. According to the Chairman of the House Ag Committee, Oklahoma Congressman Frank Lucas, the Senate proposal under development by Senate Leader Harry Reid would call for immediate ag spending cuts of several billion dollars- and the measure is very prescriptive in which programs the money will come from. In contrast, the House proposal that is being reworked for more savings by House Speaker John Boehner is not specific about how the cuts are to be made in agricultural programs- but rather will offer a number for the House Ag Committee to then decide how to spend those dollars by looking at which programs are most important to the farm community.
Congressman Lucas also believes that under the House proposal- farmers have a very good chance of getting a Direct Farm Program payment after the first of October when the new fiscal year begins- this would be for the fifth year of the five year farm law that we are currently operating under.
Lucas sat down on the telephone with us after he had offered an opening statement to the "audit" by the House Ag Subcommittee on General Farm Commodities and Risk Management- click here for the opening statement that Congressman Lucas offered.
In our conversation with Congressman Lucas, we also talked about the
timing of the writing of the 2012 farm bill, how the priorities for a new
farm safety net may be determined in the writing of this next farm bill,
Congressman Lucas' contention that we need to call it a "food safety net"
to better convey to consumers and those outside of agriculture the true
benefit to society that farm program spending provides, conservation
priorities, a GIPSA update and what the Congressman is hearing from House
leaders closest to the discussions with the Obama Administration in
getting the Free Trade Agreements for Colombia, Panama and South Korea
transmitted to Capitol Hill for a ratification vote.
USDA Issues Disaster Declaration for 74 Oklahoma Counties
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) today issued a Secretarial disaster declaration in 69 Oklahoma counties and five contiguous counties. The declaration came in response to a June 10 request by Governor Mary Fallin, who asked the USDA to issue a disaster declaration in order to help farmers hit by drought and wildfires.
Seventy-four Oklahoma counties are currently covered under the USDA declaration. Nowata, Craig and Ottawa counties are not. According to the USDA, a Secretarial disaster designation makes farmers in designated counties eligible to be considered for federal assistance from the Farm Service Agency (FSA).
That assistance includes FSA emergency loans and the Supplemental Revenue Assistance Payments (SURE) Program. Farmers in designated counties have 8 months from the date of a Secretarial disaster declaration to apply for emergency loan assistance. Farmers interested in requesting additional information should contact their local FSA office.
"The weather has made this an extremely tough year for Oklahoma
farmers," Governor Fallin said. "This declaration will help those who have
been hard hit by drought and other bad conditions to get the assistance
Future Use of Precision Agriculture GPS Could Be Hampered
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~At the recent Ag Technology Field Days in Afton and Kingfisher, the question was raised regarding interference with GPS by a proposed 4G cellular network. LightSquared was granted a conditional waiver by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to use frequencies near the L-band GPS frequencies. A Technical Working Group was recently formed (mandated by the FCC) to evaluate the potential interference.
This group, consisting of more than 100 individuals with expertise in GPS systems, tested more than 100 GPS devices representing many facets of users (aviation, cellular, general navigation and location, high precision, etc.) and issued a 1000-plus page report to the FCC. With regard to the high precision receivers used in agriculture, the report concluded "The LightSquared Base Station 4G LTE signals harmfully interfere with High Precision, Timing, and Network GPS receivers over long ranges."
The short story is that if LightSquared's proposed 4G network is implemented, precision GPS use in agriculture will be severely hampered and likely cease. While there have been some proposed solutions by LightSquared, none of these have been evaluated. The best source for more information on this topic is the Coalition to Save Our GPS website.
Our thanks to Randy Taylor, Oklahoma State University Plant and Soil Sciences, for providing this article through the Extension News.
U.S. Cattlemen's Association and National Farmers Union Hosting National Discussions on Beef Checkoff
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~The U.S. Cattlemen's Association (USCA) today released a joint letter from USCA and National Farmers Union (NFU) to Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack indicating the two groups will host a national discussion of the beef checkoff and the program's future.
On July 1, USCA requested Secretary Vilsack's intervention into the controversy surrounding the beef checkoff. Representatives of USCA and NFU were in Washington, DC last week to meet with U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) officials about the checkoff program. The groups say that after conferring with the Secretary as well as other national cattle, farm and marketing organizations, the decision was made to proceed with plans to host industry-wide meetings to seek consensus on the divisive issues that are eroding investor trust and confidence in the beef checkoff and threatening the very future of the program.
USCA and NFU say the time has come for an expanded cattle industry-wide discussion of the checkoff that will go beyond the policy changes being addressed by the Cattlemen's Beef Board (CBB) next week at its meeting in Florida.
"The upcoming Farm Bill process in Congress presents an excellent legislative opportunity to make enhancements to the beef checkoff," wrote USCA and NFU. "The planned industry-wide meetings will provide an opportunity for an agreement within the cattle industry on amending the Beef Promotion Act and Order to achieve the changes necessary for meaningful reform of the program."
Beef Checkoff- Revamped Roles and Responsibilities Rolled out for Review
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Next week at the Gaylord Resort in Florida, the summer conference of the cattle industry will be happening- and that will mean meetings of the National Cattlemen's Beef Association, American National Cattlewomen and the Cattlemen's Beef Board. Earlier this summer, we had anticipated that this could be a very contentious meeting for the cattle industry, as feelings were running strong between many state cattle groups and the leadership of the Cattlemen's Beef Board. In fact, both the Texas Cattle Feeders Association as well as the Texas and Southwest Cattle Raisers had written letters calling for the resignation of CBB leadership.
Those resignations became a reality, as both CEO Tom Ramey and Chairman Tom Jones are now gone. In addition, many of the state beef councils that are a part of the Federation of State Beef Councils raised major objections to what was called the Roles and Responsibilities report- which was initially put up for a vote by email to the CBB membership- then pulled back and was expected to be voted on in Kissimmee next week. Brett Morris, Chairman of the Oklahoma Beef Council wrote on behalf of the Oklahoma Beef Council that they were concerned with three of the proposals offered in the CBB plan- and expressed real disdain for the idea of the CBB overseeing the work of state beef councils- "It would be impossible to articulate our unhappiness with #18 of the R&R document which would seek to establish evaluation oversight of state beef council programs. It is not your role or responsibility to evaluate the effectiveness of state beef councils. It is the role of our respective boards of directors. We are highly disturbed it was even recommended because it reeks of government overreach."
On Tuesday of this week- a major reworking of the Roles and
Responsibilities was released by the CBB Executive Committee- it backs
away from dissolving the joint Committee structure and acknowledges the
Operating Committee as the body that sets the budget of the national
checkoff efforts. In fact, the biggest change you can see from the
language of current procedures is it drops the term NCBA as jointly
working in several areas with the CBB- and specifies the joint partner on
the beef checkoff as the Federation of State Beef Councils- typical of the
statements is the one about setting budgets and program plans- "The
Cattlemen's Beef Board and the Federation of State Beef Councils will
jointly develop annual plans and priorities, in accordance with
checkoff-appropriate strategies within the Industry Long Range
Helping Livestock Handle Heat is Essential in Summer Months
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~The widespread use of air-conditioning has made life much better for people, but little has changed for our livestock. Summer is still a high stress time and your livestock can have serious issues when the thermometer climbs. Males are more affected be extreme heat than females; fat animals more than thin animals; and older animals more than young. Animals with any compromise of the immune or respiratory systems are at serious risk. According to Dave Sparks D.V.M., Oklahoma State University Food Animal Quality and Health Extension Specialist, some advance planning and observation of your livestock can make a big difference in their comfort and in your profits.
Unlike horses and humans, cattle, sheep, goats, and pigs do not sweat, at least not in amounts sufficient to be beneficial for body cooling. They maintain their body temperature at or near a constant, normal, level by panting. This moves air across the highly vascular and moist mucous membranes of the mouth, tongue, and nasal passages, thus cooling the blood passing through these tissues much like the water in an engine is cooled as it passes through the radiator. For this to occur they need a lower environmental humidity and adequate water for evaporation on the surface of the membranes. If livestock are not able to maintain their normal body temperature they start to show signs of reproductive compromise first, followed by heat exhaustion at about 105 F, and cell breakdown and death at about 107 F.
In extremely hot weather it is normal for body temperatures to rise moderately above normal during the heat of the day and to cool off at night when environmental temperatures are less. It takes several hours, however for this to occur. Although air temperatures often decline in the late afternoon or evening the animal's body temperature may not fully recover its normal level until 2 or 3 o'clock in the morning after several hours of cooler temperatures. Because of this, taking the temperature to determine if an animal is sick is best done early in the morning to get a true indication. If you must "work" or handle livestock during hot weather, do it as early as possible in the morning and be finished before their body temperature starts to rise. The digestion of grain generates a lot of heat so in hot weather it is best not to feed high levels of grain and to feed grain early in the morning.
National Corn Growers Association Voices Concerns with Clean Water Act Draft Guidance
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~In comments submitted to the Environmental Protection Agency today on the draft guidance that identifies which waters are protected under the Clean Water Act, the National Corn Growers Association outlined concerns including the new proposal could expand EPA's authority over isolated waters such as ditches and farm ponds.
The draft guidance, which was announced in April, was developed to clarify the scope of protections under the law following two Supreme Court decisions over the past decade. While the guidance maintains existing exemptions for normal farming and ranching activities, NCGA remains concerned that the new proposal could expand EPA's authority over isolated waters which would require growers to obtain additional permits.
For example, the proposal could significantly expand the scale of the pending NPDES permit program for pesticide applications. In addition, NCGA believes states should have the authority to regulate certain waters and that specific distinctions between state and federal jurisdiction are important.
"Our growers are concerned that this guidance modifies the current regulatory structure without the benefit of formal rulemaking and that if implemented as proposed it has the potential to impose significant regulatory burden and costs to growers," NCGA's comments stated. "The Guidance creates more uncertainty and confusion for landowners and farmers. As such, this proposed guidance will pervade all stages of operations, and will have a substantial impact on producers."
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Let's Check the Markets!
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~We've had requests to include Canola prices for your convenience here- and we will be doing so on a regular basis. Current cash price for Canola is $12.99 per bushel, while the 2012 New Crop contracts for Canola are now available are $12.94 per bushel- delivered to local participating elevators that are working with PCOM.
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