~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Oklahoma's latest farm and ranch news
Your Update from Ron Hays of RON for Thursday September 20, 2007!A service of Cusack Meats, Farm Credit of East Central Oklahoma & Midwest Farm Shows
-- Bye Bye Johanns, Hello Secretary Conner or Maybe Secretary Combest.
-- Is Conner the Inside Choice to Move from Number Two to Number One at USDA? Maybe- maybe not.
-- Popplewell Representing Oklahoma Producers in Washington
-- We Salute Our RON Radio Stations in Enid- KOFM and KGWA!
-- Save the Date- Oklahoma Agritourism Conference coming November 6 and 7 in Ardmore!
-- Tyson Shuts Down Saturday Kill Schedule for a Couple of Weeks
-- Calf Prices May Be Impacted by Slow Wheat Seeding Pace...
Here's your morning farm news headlines from the Director of Farm Programming for the Radio Oklahoma Network, Ron Hays. We are proud to welcome Farm Credit of East Central Oklahoma as a regular sponsor of our daily email update. Farm Credit of East Central Oklahoma has ten branch offices to serve your farm financing needs and is dedicated to being your first choice for farm credit. Check out their website for more information by clicking here!
The newest sponsor on our daily email service is Cusack Meats, starting their 75th year of service- saluting Oklahoma's Farmers and Ranchers! You can go to the Cusack website and select some great gift packs of meat for yourself- or for giving! And, our email this morning is also a service of Midwest Farm Shows, producer of the Tulsa Farm Show coming up December 6-8, 2007, as well as the Southern Plains Farm Show in Oklahoma City next spring. Check out details of both of these exciting shows at the official website of Midwest Farm Shows by clicking here.
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Bye Bye Johanns, Hello Secretary Conner or Maybe Secretary Combest.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Secretary of Agriculture Mike Johanns will officially announce as early as this morning that he is stepping down as Secretary of Ag to pursue the Senate Seat opening up from the retirement of Senator Chuck Hagel of Nebraska. Media reports Wednesday indicate that Johanns is really "pumped up" about the prospects of the race for Senate. The former Nebraska governor and Lincoln mayor was reported to be house hunting in Omaha in recent days. While the announcement might not come until next week- we are hearing early this morning that a White House announcement with President Bush and Johanns might be made as early as later this morning.
While leading Republicans in Nebraska have been urging Johanns to run, he will be entering a crowded GOP field, with Jon Bruning, Nebraska attorney general; Hal Daub, former Omaha mayor and former Nebraska congressman; and Pat Flynn, a Schuyler businessman; declared as candidates.
On the Democratic side, Bob Kerrey, who has served as governor and as U.S. senator for two terms in Nebraska, is considering throwing in his hat. Kerrey currently is president of New School University in New York, where he has already informed his trustees that he may resign to run for the Senate race in Nebraska. Johanns, 57, resigned as governor in 2005 to take the secretary of agriculture post.
Is Conner the Inside Choice to Move from Number Two to Number One at USDA? Maybe- maybe not.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~One only needs to look down the ladder at USDA to find potential candidates. First up would be Deputy Secretary Chuck Conner. His position would make him a logical candidate. However, we are being told he has fell in disfavor with the President. Deputy Secretary Conner helped Indiana Senator Richard Lugar write the last farm bill. Mr. Lugar was chairman of the Senate Ag Committee at the time. But recently when Mr. Lugar came out against the President's war policy, it is being said that Conner, because of his previous ties with Mr. Lugar, took a hit in popularity within the administration.
One name that we have heard from several different directions that might be a player is the former Chairman of the House Ag Committee, Larry Combest of Texas. Combest has been retained by several commodity groups to help navigate through the farm bill writing process- and has really gotten into the swing of the farm policy ins and outs of the 2007 Farm Bill. If the President wanted to win some brownie points from southern lawmakers engaged in the ag policy arena, Combest could be a popular choice.
There are others who were discussed before Johanns was tapped in 2005. Two names come to mind- Missouri Farm Bureau President Charlie Kruse and former Democratic Lawmaker Charlie Stenholm of Texas- who helped Combest craft the 2002 farm bill. Stenholm would definitely be one of those looong shots- but stranger things can happen if President Bush decides he wants to extend a candidate choice to the Democratic Majority that could be considered a "middle of the road" choice.
Popplewell Representing Oklahoma Producers in Washington
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Hog producers from seventeen states are in Washington this week, meeting with Administration officials and pounding the halls of Congress. We caught up with Joe Popplewell of Seaboard Farms, the immediate past President of the Oklahoma Pork Producers who is in our nation's capitol this week with this group.
Popplewell told us that they did hear from Secretary Johanns who talked in generalities about the farm bill process- that was yesterday morning. Much of the rest of the time, they have been meeting with lawmakers, carrying several messages, including support for the deal struck in the House for Mandatory Country of Origin labeling as well as pushing for a positive vote on the various free trade deals that the Bush Administration has brought to the Congress. That includes the agreements with Peru and Columbia, which may be voted on fairly soon. Popplewell tells us that their message is simple- this current group of agreements that Congress needs to consider would raise demand for US pork and add up to eleven dollars of value per hog produced in this country.
The group continues their missionary work- spreading the Pork Industry message inside the Washington beltway through midday today.
We Salute Our RON Radio Stations in Enid- KOFM and KGWA!
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~We remind you that our radio reports are heard on some 33 radio stations across the state on a daily basis- and we are working on expanding that family of broadcast outlets to better serve Oklahoma agriculture.
Two of our stations that we are very proud of are actually the original flagship radio stations for our network, which started back in the mid 1990s in Enid. Hot Country 103.1 KOFM and Information Station KGWA at 960 on the AM dial both carry our RON agricultural reports weekdays- and we encourage you to take a listen.
The KGWA signal is a regional signal that carries from southern Kansas down into the Oklahoma City metro area- while KOFM has a great signal in the north central area of the state in Garfield and surrounding counties. We have linked below our web page which lists the times both stations carry our RON reports. AND, if your local station does not carry our daily updates, drop me a note and we can work together to encourage them to step up to the premiere agricultural information source in the state- the Radio Oklahoma Network with Ron Hays and Ed Richards!
Save the Date- Oklahoma Agritourism Conference coming November 6 and 7 in Ardmore!
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Nationally acclaimed direct marketing and agritourism expert, Jane Eckert, is coming to the state November 6-7 to be part of the Oklahoma Agritourism and Alternative Agriculture Conference in Ardmore.
Founder of St. Louis based Eckert AgriMarketing, Eckert travels the nation and has appeared on national television promoting agritourism and alternative agriculture, said Abby Cash, Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, Food, and Forestry agritourism director. "Jane is passionate about saving family farms through alternative agriculture and agritourism ventures," she said. "Not only has Jane traveled the country promoting agritourism and direct marketing, she has helped turn her own family orchard into one of the leading tourist destinations in the country. Jane can relate directly to agriculture producers."
Sponsored by the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, Food, and Forestry and the Noble Foundation, the conference will begin with a series of farm and agritourism tours and conclude with seminars on reducing insurance premiums and financing alternative agriculture ventures. Cash said the program is geared toward both existing operators and those who are interested in exploring diversification opportunities for their own farms and ranches.
Registration is $100 for the two-day conference if received by October
20. After that date registration is $125. There are reduced fees for those
attending the conference for only one day. Contact Annie Coble with the
Noble Foundation to register at (580) 224-6501. The email contact is
email@example.com. The ODAFF contact is Sharra Martin at (405)
Tyson Shuts Down Saturday Kill Schedule for a Couple of Weeks
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Beef Packers are being squeezed by falling wholesale beef prices and tight supplies of cattle available for slaughter- and that was meant losses of as much as forty dollars per head in recent days, based on numbers calculated by Hedgersedge.Com. We are waiting on cash cattle trade to develop this week, with packers hoping to drop cash cattle prices by a couple of dollars per hundredweight, while cattle owners hope for steady money with last week's light sales of $93.
In the midst of this tug of war, at least two packers have cut the number of operating hours this week and beyond. Tyson has announced that their beef plants in Texas, Kansas, Nebraska, Iowa and Illinois will not operate this Saturday or the following Saturday. Tyson spokeswoman Libby Lawson blamed the shutdowns on poor margins, which also forced the processor to scale back production earlier this month.
It is also reported Cargill Meat Solutions have cut back their operating hours, although no specifics have been made public. Cargill cut back on their kill schedule last week and apparently is slowing down their lines a bit this week as well. USDA's estimated slaughter for Tuesday and Wednesday of this week show little difference in slaughter numbers this week versus last week or the year before, in the neighborhood of 126,000 to 127,000 head daily.
Calf Prices May Be Impacted by Slow Wheat Seeding Pace...
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~That's the opinion of Dr. Derrell Peel of Oklahoma State University, as we talk with him today on our Thursday Beef Buzz. Dr. Peel tells us that he sees little reason for calf prices to have much if any downside risk right now- supplies are relatively tight for our younger animals.
At the same time, lack of early wheat pasture may "flatten" demand a bit for younger cattle until we get a better handle on how many acres of wheat pasture might be available for 2007-2008. Peel acknowledges that the focus right now is on the farming side of the question, with producers worried that they will not have the luxury of having seed available to replant if conditions turn against an early planting.
You can hear all of Derrell's thoughts on this subject as we continue this conversation this week with him by clicking below and listening to today's Beef Buzz, our daily look at the Beef Industry on the Radio Oklahoma Network!
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