~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Oklahoma's latest farm and ranch news
Your Update from Ron Hays of RON for Thursday November 1, 2007!A service of Cusack Meats, National Livestock Credit Corporation & Midwest Farm Shows
-- Meet Your New Secretary of Agriculture- Ed Schafer!
-- Reaction to Schafer and Why Conner was Passed Over.
-- Cancer Report Seems to be Almost a Non Event.
-- The NAWG View of ACR
-- The US Hog Producer's Advantage in the Global Market Could be Undone by the US Senate.
-- Current Cattle Market Reflects Strong Prices But Questionable Profitability.
-- Barbecue guru appointed to FAPC Industry Advisory Committee
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 National Livestock Credit Corporation as a regular sponsor of our daily email update. National Livestock Credit Corporation works diligently to provide unsurpassed service to their customers in the area of livestock financing. Check out the National Livestock Family of Services website by clicking here.
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Meet Your New Secretary of Agriculture- Ed Schafer!
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Passing over the man that many thought would be the logical choice to be our next Secretary of Agricuture, Chuck Conner, President George Bush went back to a group that he has leaned on for many of his appointments in the past- the Governors "club" and announced that his choice to be the next Secretary of Agriculture, Ed Schafer of North Dakota.
President Bush calls Schafer "the right man for the job." North Dakota Farmers Union President Robert Carlson says that he worked well with North Dakota farm groups and that he is a "very likable person and honest."
The 61 year old Schafer inherits the job at USDA as the Senate and House are trying to pull together a new farm bill to replace the now expired 2002 farm law. ONce confirmed, he would be expected to serve out the balance of President Bush's tenure as President- just a little over a year. We have linked several items on our webpage about Governor Schafer which might help you to begin to get to know the new top man at USDA.
Click here to go to our "front page" of WWW>OklahomaFarmReport.Com to review a news story on the Schafer announcement, audio from President Bush and a fact sheet on the former Governor of North Dakota.
Reaction to Schafer and Why Conner was Passed Over.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Acting Secretary Conner says Schafer knows the issues. He has led trade missions, promoted renewable energy and advanced rural development in his home state. Conner says Schafer has a reputation as a strong leader with a straight forward approach and optimistic outlook. He says that will fit perfectly at the department. Connor also predicts that attitude will be appreciated by the farmers, ranchers and other stakeholders USDA serves.
Reaction on Capitol Hill to the appointment of former North Dakota Governor Ed Schafer to be the next U.S. Secretary of Agriculture was led by North Dakota Senator Byron Dorgan and Representative Early Pomeroy, also from North Dakota. Senator Dorgan heard the news directly from Schafer. He says Schafer called tell him he would be nominated. Representative Pomeroy says he believes this is a great honor for Governor Schafer. The Congressman predicts Schafer will fight to maintain a strong safety net for U.S. producers and establish a permanent disaster program.
The President of the American Farm Bureau Federation, Bob Stallman, says the Department of Agriculture hasn't missed a beat under Acting Secretary Chuck Conner's leadership. He says Conner delivered a seamless transition after the departure of Secretary Mike Johanns. But looking ahead, Stallman says Mr. Schafer's background in small business issues should give him an understanding of the economic challenges America's farmers and ranchers face. Tom Buis of the National Farmers Union also had positive things to say about Schafer- saying that "Schafer exhibits a tenacity in standing up for farmers and ranchers - and was steadfast in his convictions, regardless of political consequences."
One of the big questions is why Chuck Conner was passed over by the White House. In talking with one of our Indiana connections yesterday- there was no expectation by Conner that he would end up with the position given to Schafer. The key reason for that is the relationship that Chuck Conner has had with Senator Richard Lugar, the Indiana lawmaker who angered the White House a couple of years back when he backed off his support for the Iraqi war. That made some within the White House furious- and Chuck Conner may have gotten into the crossfire of the White House slapping down the Senator- saying that you or your people (or even fromer staffers) will never get anything from this Administration. That leaves Bush saying nice things about Conner- but passing him over- just as he was passed over when Mike Johanns was given the job almost four years ago.
Cancer Report Seems to be Almost a Non Event.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~We talked with Heather Buckmaster of the Oklahoma Beef Council mid afternoon yesterday- and she had not had a single call from the general media about the World Cancer Research Fund's report on meat and cancer. The WCRF report is most damning on processed meats- advising those who read it to cut virtually all use of processed meats- and that would include ham, bacon and sausage. They also recommend no more than 18 ounces weekly of cooked red meat in a person's diet.
The livestock and meat industry both have hit back at the WCRF report- calling it "unsubstantiated and offering bad advice for consumers." That's the word from Mary Young of the National Cattlemen's Beef Association.
The American Meat Institute or AMI for short, says "the recommendations reflect WCRF's well-known anti- meat bias and should be met with skepticism." AMI Foundation Vice President of Scientific Affairs Randy Huffman says they "oversimplify the complex issue of cancer, are not supported by the data and defy common sense." Huffman stresses the recommendations stand in sharp contrast to mainstream advice in the U.S. Dietary Guidelines. He also expresses strong concern that all relevant research was not considered by the WCRF panel. In particular - he notes the largest study ever done on red meat and colon cancer - a 2004 Harvard School of Public Health analysis involving 725-thousand men and women. He says that paper - presented at the 2004 American Association for Cancer Research Conference - showed no relationship between the two. Yet it never appears in its complete form in the published literature - and as a result - the data was not factored into WCRF's 2007 report. I have linked below a statement from Dietician Mary Young of NCBA that responds to the WCRF report- check it out.
The NAWG View of ACR
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~The Average Crop Revenue Program that has been championed by the National Corn Growers and American Farmland Trust and promoted by the Chairman of the Senate Ag Committee, Tom Harkin, was a flawed program in the opinion of the National Association of Wheat Growers as well as several other farm groups and lawmakers like Senator Pat Roberts of Kansas. The big problem that NAWG and Roberts say with the proposed version of ACR was that it was tied to crop insurance- Pat Roberts challenged that and got amendments passed that did a lot in "fixing" the ACR concept.
The CEO of the National Association of Wheat Growers, Daren Coppock, has written a background paper on why the wheat growers believe that the ACR as originally seen was flawed- specifically the problems and how it was fixed by Roberts and what still is lacking in the program.
Coppock continues to defend the Direct Payment, saying that if the lawmakers will leave it alone- it remains as the lone "Green Box" element of our farm policy under current WTO rules. We have Daren's backgrounder available as a link below in a Word document- click on it and check it out.
The US Hog Producer's Advantage in the Global Market Could be Undone by the US Senate.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~You may remember the updates that Roy Lee Lindsey of the Oklahoma Pork Council provided us last week and the week before during his travel to Europe as a part of a US Pork Industry Trade Team. Roy Lee says they talked, first and foremost, trade- but that they also talked about animal well being issues, high feed costs and environmental issues.
In a conversation that we had with Roy Lee yesterday about the trip- he told us that the high price of corn in the European Union is partly due to the fact that many producers are trying to source non GMO corn- and it is getting more and more expensive all the time. The hysterical over biotech among some in Europe is really starting to hurt the European pork industry.
Lindsey says a lesson to be learned from this governmental interference in how the market works is that here in the United States, we have a very efficient system of marketing now in place- but that those who fear the way things are going want to hurt everyone by eliminating a major marketing advantage for the US livestock industry by saying that the meat processors (packers) cannot own hogs or cattle for more than 15 days before slaughter. That measure, proposed by the Senate Ag Committee, would devastate the many value added programs in both the hog and cattle industries. You can listen to our full conversation with Roy Lee by clicking on the link below.
Current Cattle Market Reflects Strong Prices But Questionable Profitability.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Profitability is an elusive thing for several segments of the cattle business right now- Cow calf operators continue to have the potential for decent profits- but the feedlots have been on the edge for most of the year between profit and loss- and most recently packers have been plunged deeply into a bath of red ink- losing fifty, sixty and even seventy dollars per head according to Hedgersedge dot com.
Randy Blach with Cattlefax is joining us today and tomorrow on the Beef Buzz to help sort this all out- Beef Buzz is our daily beef industry news update on the Radio Oklahoma Network- and can be heard on great radio stations across the state as well as on our web site at WWW.OklahomaFarmReport.Com- then clicking on the Beef Buzz button on the left hand side of the page.
We also have today's Beef Buzz linked below for you to listen to Ron and Randy talk cattle markets- check it out.
Barbecue guru appointed to FAPC Industry Advisory Committee
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~A new member has been appointed to the Industry Advisory Committee of the Robert M. Kerr Food & Agricultural Products Center on the Oklahoma State University campus. The Speaker of the Oklahoma House of Representatives appointed Paul Schatte, general manager for Head Country Bar-B-Q in Ponca City, Okla., to the committee. "We are pleased to have Mr. Schatte on our Industry Advisory Committee," said J. Roy Escoubas, FAPC director. "The FAPC will benefit from his experience and leadership in the food industry."
Even though Schatte's company is known for its No. 1 selling barbecue sauce in Oklahoma, it produces other products as well, including seasonings, salsa and marinade. "We are all about barbecuing, but not just barbecuing," Schatte said. Head Country Bar-B-Q Sauce is sold in 100 percent of grocery stores in Oklahoma and has a presence in surrounding states. Now, the company is focusing on getting its products in Texas stores. "If we can get 5 to 10 percent of the market in Texas, we will be doing really well because of the size of the state and the love of barbecue," Schatte said.
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