~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Oklahoma's latest farm and ranch news
Your Update from Ron Hays of RON for Friday September 21, 2007!A service of Farm Credit of East Central Oklahoma, American Farmers and Ranchers & Midwest Farm Shows
-- Johanns in the Past Tense at USDA.
-- Acting Secretary Conner Pledges to Not Miss a Beat.
-- Farm Groups and Politicians Grade Mike Johanns
-- The Plans and Progress of Planting the 2008 Oklahoma Winter Wheat Crop- a Conversation with Jeff Edwards!
-- Another Jump in Contract Offer for Winter Canola by POP.
-- Cattle Conference Coming Next Week!
-- Coming Next Week- Conversations with Mike Spradling and Bob Drake...
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Johanns in the Past Tense at USDA.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~As we reported yesterday morning, Secretary of Agriculture Mike Johanns has quit his job with the Bush Administration at the urging of Senior Republicans who felt that Johanns would be an almost unbeatable Senate candidate in the race to grab Chuck Hagel's seat as he does not plan to seek reelection in 2008 in Nebraska.
Lots of praise came from President Bush in the Rose Garden ceremony on Thursday morning, while Johanns credited the leadership of George W. Bush with a lot of the good things going on in agriculture right now- including record high net farm income. He also said that it had kept him on his toes that the President probably knew as much about agriculture as he did- so he had to really push to keep ahead of his boss.
We have the full give and take linked from the official White House site- you can take a look at it by going to our home page on our web site and clicking on the video link under "Today's Agricultural News." We also have several other links that relate to this story there for you to check out.
Acting Secretary Conner Pledges to Not Miss a Beat.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~As he accepted Mike Johanns' resignation on Thursday, President Bush appointed Chuck Conner as Acting Secretary of USDA. A lot of knowledgeable Washington observers say that Conner was the main architect behind the Administration's Farm Bill position, so Chuck Conner's promise to make it a seamless transition rings true.
Conner met with reporters informally after Secretary Johanns said goodbye to USDA employees in Washington yesterday afternoon- and he said there are two obvious top priorities for USDA in the short term- working with Congress on the 2007 farm bill and working on ratification of the three Latin American Trade deals with Panama, Peru and Columbia.
We have assembled a brief audio report with comments from Chuck Conner on his first day as Acting Secretary- and you can take a listen to those comments by clicking below.
Farm Groups and Politicians Grade Mike Johanns
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~First reaction we saw coming in on Mike Johanns as he leaves USDA came from several men who might end up being his colleagues by next November- one was Senator Kent Conrad of North Dakota who complained that "for the Secretary to walk away in the middle of a farm bill borders on irresponsible." However, the Chairman of the Senate Ag Committee, Tom Harkin of Iowa, was more complimentary- "I always found him pleasant to work with and I was very impressed by how involved he was in this farm bill process."
The first farm group reaction we saw came from Bob Stallman, President of the American Farm Bureau, who said in a statement ""Mike Johanns always made it a priority to meet with farmers and ranchers during his tenure as agriculture secretary. He was one of the most accessible secretaries of agriculture we have had in recent memory. We always felt that Secretary Johanns would take the time to listen." John Queen of the National Cattlemen's Beef Association liked how Johanns was a bulldog in staying after countries to reopen their markets to US beef after the discovery of BSE in that Canadian cow up in Washington state in December 2003.
In Oklahoma, Steve Kouplen of the Oklahoma Farm Bureau issued a statement in and around his Boardroom duties yesterday(the OFB Board of Directors were meeting in Oklahoma City)- and Kouplen noted the "open door" that Stallman talked about, but added "his tenure was a rocky one with Oklahoma agriculture. His difficult job of trying to draft a new farm bill has created some differing views from many agriculture groups."
We caught up with Ray Wulf, President of American Farmers and Ranchers last night on his cell phone- and Ray told us that Mike Johanns did his job well- and that job was to carry the water for the Bush Administration. Wulf adds that he doesn't feel that was very helpful for most farmers and ranchers as the Administration did not like the 2002 farm law and wanted to "whittle away" at it here in 2007. We have Ray's comments linked below- and they include some positive vibes about Acting Secretary Chuck Conner, who has been in Oklahoma a couple of times over the last two years in his role as the number two man at USDA.
The Plans and Progress of Planting the 2008 Oklahoma Winter Wheat Crop- a Conversation with Jeff Edwards!
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~OSU State Wheat Specialist Dr. Jeff Edwards says that we are in the middle of the wheat planting calendar at this time, with most of the acres now in the ground have been planted in hopes of getting wheat pasture in the days ahead, while those that really want just grain production are hanging back, waiting to plant their seed until the first week of October.
We talked with Jeff about how farmers are approaching this year's crop- and he says that many chosen to use a seed treatment in 2007- and he thinks with it costing no more than the current price of a bushel of wheat- it makes a lot of sense to protect against a variety of insects and diseases. He is a little less certain about how aggressive farmers have been about fertilizing before or as they plant the 2008 crop- he suggests that producers put out a "Nitrogen Rich Strip" to help them gauge early next spring fertility needs for topdress plans to help maximize grain production. Obviously, we are still far away from those decisions yet, but putting that strip out now gets you in a position where you can have an accurate assessment when the time comes- he says check with your local extension folks to get more information on how to install that strip in your wheat fields.
We also talked with Jeff about Winter Canola- and he says he sure hopes we have significant acres in canola this year as it really helps to clean up wheat fields for future years- but he says that Canola has a major problem this year- $8 wheat. You can hear all of our comments with Dr. Edwards by clicking below.
Another Jump in Contract Offer for Winter Canola by POP.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Speaking of Winter Canola- we have yet another jump in the "offer price" for the acres you might contract with Plains Oilseed Products or POP for harvest next summer.
The price back in August was 13 cents a pound- it was jumped a few days ago to 13 and a half cents- and has been jumped again to 14 cents per pound- that the word from Gene Neuens of POP.
As Jeff Edwards mentioned to us yesterday, Canola boosters are fighting a tough battle of getting wheat producers to think about anything but wheat with prices at current levels. However, as has been pointed out to me by various proponents of canola- supplies of decent and legal wheat seed are very low- and to finish out some acres, it may make a lot of sense to give canola a try, if nothing else for the benefit of cleaning up some of the tougher weed problems that have decided to camp out on many of our wheat fields.
Cattle Conference Coming Next Week!
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~The fifth annual Southwest Oklahoma Cattle Conference is being planned for next Tuesday at the Great Plains Technology Center in Lawton. They have a good program lined up- especially a couple of segments on issues dealing with wheat pasture, as well as wheat fertility as it relates to grazing as well as then taking that dual purpose wheat and harvesting for grain.
You can contact Bob Levalley in Duncan's area extension office with any last minute questions about the conference at 580-255-0546- or you can take a look at the details we have linked on our Calendar page of our website- just scroll down to the September 25th date listing that we have for this meeting!
Coming Next Week- Conversations with Mike Spradling and Bob Drake...
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~On Tuesday and Wednesday of next week, we will be featuring two separate conversations that we have recorded with the announced candidates for the Presidency of the Oklahoma Farm Bureau. Current President of the general farm group, Steve Kouplen, has hit the maximum amount of time that he can spend in office on a consecutive basis- so he is being "term limited" out of the position when the group meets for their annual convention in Oklahoma City in November.
Two Board of Director members have announced their desire to be the next President of the Oklahoma Farm Bureau, current Vice President and Board Member from southern Oklahoma, Bob Drake; and Board member from Northeastern Oklahoma, Mike Spradling of Tulsa County.
While there are no plans for a debate to showcase the candidates in this race that will be decided at the state convention of the farm group- we thought you might enjoy hearing from each of the candidates about what they hope to help the organization accomplish if they were elected President for the standard two year term. Watch for these interviews that we have conducted for next week.
ALSO NEXT WEEK- We will have details on and reaction to the Friday Cattle on Feed Report, details you need to know on Crop Insurance for Wheat- deadline is coming up fast and also more on the farm bill debate!!!
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