~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Oklahoma's latest farm and ranch news
Your Update from Ron Hays of RON for Wednesday February 14, 2007!A service of Midwest Farm Shows
-- Oklahoma Department of Ag adds a Director of Investigations.
-- Wheat Growers Looking for Equal Treatment between Commodities
-- Former NAWG President goes after Frank Lucas over Cuba.
-- Debt Forgiveness Measure for Large Animal Vets has a chance- so says Scott Dewald of OCA.
-- Talking Beef Tenderness on Valentines Day!
-- OSU still searching for Animal Science Department Head
Here's your morning farm news headlines from the Director of Farm Programming for the Radio Oklahoma Network, Ron Hays. Our email this morning is a service of Midwest Farm Shows, featuring the Southern Plains Farm Show in Oklahoma City April 19-21, 2007, as well as the Tulsa Farm Show held each December. Check out details of both of these exciting shows at the official website of Midwest Farm Shows by clicking here.
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Oklahoma Department of Ag adds a Director of Investigations.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~State Secretary of Agriculture Terry Peach told the Winter Board of Directors meeting of the Oklahoma Cattlemen's Association that a new position has been created at the ODAFF- and that Colonel Mike Grimes has filled that position just this week. The new position is the Director of Investigations.
Peach tells us that Grimes will be assessing how well state agencies working with the private sector investigates and chases after those who steal cattle, horses, trailers or other property from folks in the country- as well as those who are involved in crimes like arson. The hope is that the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture can better coordinate the efforts from local and state officials to help catch thieves and return property as quickly as possible- as well as to find ways to deter such crimes across the rural Oklahoma landscape.
We visited with Secretary Peach for just a moment after his presentation midday Tuesday and have it linked below.
Wheat Growers Looking for Equal Treatment between Commodities
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~It was a jam packed program this past weekend at the Oklahoma Farmers Union Convention in Oklahoma City as they looked at a whole range of issues. On the farm policy front- they heard from Daren Coppock, Executive Director of the National Association of Wheat Growers. Coppock was preaching the farm policy position of NAWG that wheat producers have been shortchanged in the 2002 farm bill- getting only Direct Payments for a safety net as many producers have had drought reduced harvests several years. That has meant no bushels to claim LDPs and higher markets that have been at or above target prices, resulting in no counter cyclical payments. Coppock says that means no crop and very little support to help a producer have resources to plant the next year's crop.
Coppock adds that the USDA farm bill proposal has higher Direct Payments included in it- but is skewed to those crops who have been getting LDPs and Counter Cyclical payments and would only offer wheat a small bump three years into the implementation of the program.
What does NAWG want? A higher Direct Payment from the get-go, which Coppock says gives the wheat producer a better safety net and is potentially more WTO friendly. We had a conversation with Coppock that went beyond just the farm policy debate- and you can hear it by clicking below.
Former NAWG President goes after Frank Lucas over Cuba.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~One of the most animated moments of the OFU convention this past weekend was an exchange between former President of the National Association of Wheat Growers Jim Billington (and current Oklahoma Farmers Union member) and Oklahoma's Third District Congressman Frank Lucas. Lucas has not been a supporter of liberalizing trade rules with Castro's Cuba- siding with the Bush Administration in this ongoing war of words.
Billington called on Lucas to rethink his position- and Lucas stood his ground. This is perhaps the one issue that Lucas and many of his agricultural constituents do not see eye to eye on. The State of Oklahoma has had trade teams in Cuba to sell farm products- including wheat- and that trade has been hampered by rules advanced by the Administration on how and when those products have to be paid for. We have the audio of that encounter linked and you can hear it by clicking below.
Debt Forgiveness Measure for Large Animal Vets has a chance- so says Scott Dewald of OCA.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~The Winter Board of Directors meeting of the Oklahoma Cattlemen's Association was held on Tuesday- and Executive Director Scott Dewald updated his board members on several pieces of legislation that the cattle group is following- both measures they like and ones they would like to see die.
First, on those measures they want to see become law. HB 2052 is a bill that would put into place a debt forgiveness incentive for Veterinarians that are willing to come to rural Oklahoma and be involved in a large animal vet practice. Dewald says that the student loan debt of these young men and ladies out of Vet School can be as high as $70,000- and this incentive to help with that if they come and stay in Rural Oklahoma could be a real help in making sure we have a new generation of large animal practices remain in the state. He says that while this will have fiscal impact which makes it a tougher measure to pass- he feels we have an excellent chance to get that done.
A potential ban on 2-4-D between May first and October fifteenth annually across the state is a non starter for the OCA- and House Bill 1434 is one that Dewald says they would really like to see killed. One measure that is a rerun from 2006 is the Manure Definition measure that would declare that Manure is NOT a hazardous waste. Dewald told OCA leaders that "we may have a shot at that this year." The key will be how well Senate leaders can keep things from blowing up in that chamber. With the 24-24 tie between Republicans and Democrats- in many cases, deals will be treading on thin ice.
Talking Beef Tenderness on Valentines Day!
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~We continue our conversation with Dr. Jeff Savell of Texas A&M about the Beef Tenderness Study that was highlighted during the recent Cattle Industry Convention in Nashville- and we have today's Beef Buzz from the Radio Oklahoma Network linked below if you wish to go and hear Jeff's comments.
We talk today about the positive impact that Branded Beef has had on tenderness since the last survey was taken in 1998- and we also talk with Jeff about one part of the carcass that remains a challenge in the tenderness equation- and that's beef cuts coming from the Round.
The National Beef Tenderness Study was a joint project of several Land Grants, including Oklahoma State- the study was designed to show what progress has been made in making sure that consumers get a great eating experience every time.
OSU still searching for Animal Science Department Head
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~We touched base in recent days with the Dean of Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources at Oklahoma State University, Dr. Bob Whitson, about how we are coming in finding a new Department Head for the Animal Science Department in the Division.
At one point, it appeared we were getting close- but the animal science arena has proven to be a very competitive one across the country- and several of the top candidates that OSU searchers had identified have taken other positions before OSU could work through the process. So in a response to an email to Dr. Whitson on the subject, he tell us that "We have extended the search process for another 6 weeks. This is to allow some additional time for applications. The Search Committee will review these mid-late March." He did indicate to us that several top candidates that initially did not apply are now looking at seeking this key position that opened up with the retirement of Dr. Don Wagner. Dr. Whitson says they are committed to finding the right fit for this position that will be working closely with the livestock industry here in the state.
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