~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Oklahoma's latest farm and ranch news
Your Update from Ron Hays of RON for Thursday October 25, 2007!A service of Farm Credit of East Central Oklahoma, American Farmers and Ranchers & Midwest Farm Shows
-- National FFA Convention In Full Swing Here in Indianapolis
-- Other Names to Mention From FFA
-- Senate Ag Committee Now Engaged in Farm Bill Debate.
-- How Should We Approach Beef Trade with Pacific Rim Countries?
-- Goat Gathering This Weekend!
-- Packer Ownership Would be Banned if Senate Ag Committee Gets their Way
-- One reader does NOT like the State Inspected Meat Proposal/Compromise
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National FFA Convention In Full Swing Here in Indianapolis
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~It will be a big day for the two young men who are National Star Finalists from the state of Oklahoma. Nocona Cook of Cordell is one of four national Star Farmer Finalists, while Chance Simpson of the Timberlake FFA Chapter is one of four national Star Finalists in Ag Placement.
In both cases, they will face a team of judges right after lunch today- then will learn their fate tonight during the National Stars Pageant during the evening General Session.
We have interviews with both of these outstanding young men- they are linked on our National FFA page found on our website, WWW.OklahomaFarmReport.Com. There are also several other interviews from Wednesday already on our National FFA page- and we will be adding more as the day goes on Thursday- so check back from time to time by following the link below.
Other Names to Mention From FFA
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Two young people from Oklahoma will be speaking today in national competition events- Mason Jones of Calera advanced from the second round yesterday to make it to the Final Four of the National Prepared Public Speaking Contest while McKenzie Walta of Kingfisher is in the National Creed Contest that happens today-
Chelsea Clifton of Kingfisher hit a tough topic in her second round of the National Extemp Contest and did not advance.
One of the highlights today will be the presentation of the national FFA Chapter awards- Oklahoma has one of the largest number of chapters in the country receiving the Gold Award- Three Stars- for the highest rating a Chapter can get from the National organization. We have 19 here in 2007. That list includes Cache, Calera, Chickasha, Cushing, Elgin, Elk City, Fairview, Frontier, Jenks, Lone Grove, Medford, Minco, Norman, Okemah, Oklahoma Union, Prague, Tecumseh, Thomas-Fay-Custer, and Yukon.
Senate Ag Committee Now Engaged in Farm Bill Debate.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~The Senate Ag Committee's work on the 2007 Farm Bill started Wednesday morning- after talk that it was going to be delayed- it moved forward- albeit very slowly. A real sticking point for the committee came over the discussion of the proposal made by Chairman Tom Harkin to include a revenue based support program that farmers could opt into starting in the 2010 crop year.
The ACR- or Average Crop Revenue Program would pay farmers a minimal direct payment, then compensate them in revenue for that crop fell below the average established for that crop for his state. Several lawmakers, led by Senator Pat Roberts of Kansas, took on ACR- asking lots of questions and calling it an option that appears to be unworkable. Below- we have linked a short segment from yesterday where Pat Roberts hit on the highlights of the ACR- and a laundry list of the terminology that this whole new program requires- you might want to take an aspirin before listening.
Beyond ACR- the Committee knocked out a proposal by Senator Harkin to reduce the maximum any producer/landowner could get from EQIP over the lifetime of the program- Harkin wanted to drop it to $250,000 and the Committee voted strongly to leave it at the current $450,000 level. They voted in favor of blocking the closure of "critical" FSA county offices and they voted to tighten LDP rules for one year- 2008- before returning to the current rules- the tighter rules would require a farmer to sell his crop the same day he claims a LDP- now you can claim a LDP payment when crop prices are soft and LDPs are high- then sell that crop later when prices have recovered. For 2008 at least- you would not be able to do that if this should become law.
The Committee continues to work today to try to report out a bill the full Senate can consider. At least two major challenges to the measure will be considered on the floor- the Richard Lugar plan to end commodity programs altogether and put in place a free insurance policy for 85% of your income- and a Charles Grassley hard cap for payments limits of $250,000 annually.
How Should We Approach Beef Trade with Pacific Rim Countries?
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Should we go for the "whole enchilada" and demand that our customers accept OIE guidelines as the standard for beef trade with the US- or should we allow them to continue the "STEP BY STEP" approach and gradually reopen fully to US beef?
Well, while he didn't flat out say the US government is wrong in going the "whole enchilada" direction with Japan, South Korea and China- among others- Phil Seng, President of the US Meat Export Federation, says we have a real "disconnect" with our customers at this time as we bang heads with them over the OIE standards and how they should apply to US beef.
Seng says that we could have beef from animals 30 months of age or younger- boneless and bone-in going into South Korea now- and probably trade at that level as well with Japan- if our government would accept that as the next step in trade with what used to be two of our most important beef export customers. Phil is our guest on the Beef Buzz- and we have his comments on this featured on today's show- click to take a listen!
Goat Gathering This Weekend!
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Oklahoma's first annual forage-based performance test for meat goat bucks will finish out with a free field day and sale from 1 to 6 on Saturday, October 27th, at the Kerr Center for Sustainable Agriculture in Poteau. "If you are interested in improving your goat herd, are thinking about entering the meat goat business and want to learn from experienced veterans, or just want to see some of the best performing bucks in the south, please join us!" said test manager Mary Penick. "Refreshments will be provided along with limited seating, so please bring your lawn chairs," she added.
All summer long, bucks from top meat goat breeders around the state and country have been pastured together to see which ones produce best on forage. The Kerr Center conducted the test in partnership with the Oklahoma State Cooperative Extension Service. The field day portion of the program offers presentations on forages, nutrition, and herd health for meat goats by several experts in the field. Presenters include Dr. Dave Sparks, Area Extension Food-Animal Quality and Health Specialist: Chris Rice, OSU Area Extension Agronomist; Brian Freking, OSU LeFlore County Extension Educator; and Jack Wallace, OSU Area Extension Animal Scientist.
For more information, visit the Kerr Center website- we have it linked below- or call 918.647.9123.
Packer Ownership Would be Banned if Senate Ag Committee Gets their Way
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~It was not unexpected- but down in the details of an "en bloc" amendment approved by the Senate Ag Committee during their farm bill deliberations was a measure that would eliminate packer ownership of livestock more than 14 days out from slaughter.
.Under the proposed amendment to the Packers and Stockyards Act, packers could not, "own or feed livestock directly, through a subsidiary, or through an arrangement that gives the packer operational, managerial, or supervisory control over the livestock, or over the farming operation that produces the livestock." The amendment was one of several passed without debate. Such language was not included in the House version of the 2007 farm bill. The Senate proposed a similar provision in the 2002 farm bill, but it was stripped out before the legislation was approved.
If you want to dig through the "en bloc" amendment- you can do so by going to the link we have provided- click then on the "accepted amendments" link you will find in the middle of the page- then scroll down the list to see the "En Bloc" amendment. I love the purpose of this catch all amendment- they say it is to "Improve the Bill."
One reader does NOT like the State Inspected Meat Proposal/Compromise
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~We got an email yesterday from Al who tells that he believes the allowing of state inspected meat across state lines is a very bad idea.
He writes to us "why in the world would we want to start letting state inspected meat plants send product across state lines without being federally inspected or better yet why should we be federally inspected in the first place if they pass this bill. The dismantling of the federal inspection system will in my mind lower food safety measures in place & will cause more foodborne illness' than it will help. I STRONGLY DISAPPROVE OF THIS BILL"
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