~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Oklahoma's latest farm and ranch news
Your Update from Ron Hays of RON for Friday November 30, 2007!A service of Cusack Meats, American Farmers and Ranchers & Midwest Farm Shows
-- Amazing Generosity as 10 month old Jhett gets a NEW Heart!
-- Wheat Crop Hoping for Rain to Arrive This Weekend!
-- Farm Bill Negotiations Continue- But NO Deal Yet!
-- Max Says Packer Ban Best Thing Since Sliced Bread!
-- USDA is Messing Up Their Implementation of the Livestock Compensation Program.
-- Looking for Preconditioned Calves??? OKC West Will Sell a Bunch Next Wednesday!
-- This weekend- AFR State Speech Finals at OSU!
Here's your morning farm news headlines from the Director of Farm Programming for the Radio Oklahoma Network, Ron Hays. One of our sponsors on this daily email service is Cusack Meats, and Al Cusack wants everyone to know that he APPRECIATES Oklahoma's Farmers and Ranchers! You can go to the Cusack website and select some great gift packs of meat for giving- or for yourself!
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Amazing Generosity as 10 month old Jhett gets a NEW Heart!
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~We have been telling you about the Skaggs family of Lexington, Oklahoma- Limousin breeders whose ten month old son needed a new heart. Wednesday night, the benefit auction that we beat the drum for happened in Lawton- and about all you can say is WOW!
Shari Holloway was one of those helping organize this effort for Brian and Audra Skaggs and she wrote us yesterday morning "What an incredible night we had. First of all we received word yesterday afternoon that Jhett was getting a heart! That set for a very exciting tone among all of us that were at the fairgrounds working to prepare for the auction. They didn't start the surgery until late last night, but I received word around 5:30 this morning that the surgery was almost done and things looked good. Of course, there will still be hurdles to cross with a surgery of this magnitude in a soon to be 11-month-old, but to be this far in such a short period of time is phenomenal. Less than month ago they had no idea that he had a heart defect. The auction was astronomical! We raised over $100,000 in the auction and from individual donations and the steak dinner. Had a big crowd, guessing around 200. What a tribute to this family!"
Late last night- we did get an update that Jhett is doing well- but that his prognosis is guarded as the battle now is for his body to accept the new heart. I know the prayers that are being lifted up across our state and well beyond our borders mean a lot to this family. AND- the tally for the dinner and auction actually came in right around $105,000! Thanks for your outpouring of support!
Wheat Crop Hoping for Rain to Arrive This Weekend!
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~The air is very dry across Oklahoma- but precipitation chances jump higher tonight into Saturday across the state. Best chances of rainfall appear to be in the northern counties from the Panhandle right across the top of the state. It will be extremely windy- especially in northwest Oklahoma and the Panhandle- not just a "hold onto your hat" kind of day- but probably batten down the hatches and the dog- because otherwise they may take a flying trip- gusts to sixty miles and sustained winds of 40 miles per hour predicted for the Panhandle with things to calm down after sunset.
If you mention the word "rain" the ears of virtually every wheat farmer in three states perk up- and OSU area Agronomist Roger Gribble talked with us before he made a presentation at the Oklahoma Ag Expo yesterday- we talked about the current state of the wheat crop- he calls it "fair" at best- with dryness stress, nitrogen stress, insect problems and fall leaf rust all on the list of concerns.
We also talked about no-till practices in winter wheat- he says most producers going in this direction have been forced that direction by high fuel prices. We also talked about alternative crops- and Roger is really impressed with how Sunflowers have performed this year in north central Oklahoma. We have the audio conversation with Roger linked below- check it out!
Farm Bill Negotiations Continue- But NO Deal Yet!
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~We were told yesterday morning that the concept of five amendments for the Democrats and ten amendments for the Republicans is NOT really out there as a potential deal- but that work continues to try to find a way to break the deadlock over the long list of amendments that are "out there" waiting for the 2007 Farm Bill to be taken up on the floor of the US Senate.
A Senator Reid Spokesman has told Reuters that the Farm Bill is a part of the "To Do" list for the final three weeks of the 2007 Congressional session in the Senate. That list also includes funding for almost all of Federal government- the bills that were supposed to be done before October first, a vote on the Peruvian Trade Deal and perhaps the Energy Bill.
Staffers continue to try to pare down the list of amendments- but it
continues to sound like the motivation is not there to force the issue- I
guess we will see if any lawmakers come back from their home states with
enough of their rear ends raw from farmers demanding action to make a
Max Says Packer Ban Best Thing Since Sliced Bread!
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Dr. Max Thornsberry is a Vet from Missouri and current President of R-Calf USA, the relatively new cattle organization that has been against cattle trade with either Mexico or Canada- has been an opponent to Mandatory Animal ID but has demanded Mandatory COOL- and really is pushing hard for the Packer Ban on Livestock Ownership.
Thornsberry contends that recent USDA officials have refused to enforce the Packers and Stockyards Act- and that's why we need this language that Senator Tom Harkin has inserted into the Senate Ag Committee's Farm Bill Proposal. He discounts those that contend there will be any harm to cattle alliances and other value added programs if this becomes law- says that if you have studied the issue- you know such claims are not true.
Thornsberry also adores the so called Enzi amendment that deals with
Captive Supply- and would radically change the rules and demand that any
dealings anyone has with their cattle be open to observation and scrutiny
by anyone that wants to take a look at how you are doing business.
USDA is Messing Up Their Implementation of the Livestock Compensation Program.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~So says Senator John Thune of South Dakota who along with more than 20 additional Members of Congress say they are prepared to take legislative action if the Department of Agriculture does no ease its restrictive eligibility policies for the Livestock Compensation Program. During 2005, 2006 and part of 2007, Thune says - thousands of livestock producers suffered legitimate losses due to droughts, and other natural disasters. In some areas, he says - entire states were declared disaster areas, making nearly all livestock producers and their livestock eligible for disaster assistance. Thune calls the policy - unacceptable.
According to USDA policies - livestock owners with grazing land in more than one county are ineligible for LCP assistance, even if pasture losses were 100 percent; confined livestock are ineligible; and inaccurate grazing loss caps have been established in certain counties, drastically reducing payment amounts. The Senators say the intent of Congress is that producers would not be required to document a grazing loss in order to be eligible for the Livestock Compensation Program. Thune says - if Congress had intended for a grazing loss program, we would have authorized a Livestock Assistance Program, which requires certified grazing losses to determine eligibility.
We have linked below a news release from Senator Thune and the text of the letter sent to Acting Secretary Chuck Conner.
Looking for Preconditioned Calves??? OKC West Will Sell a Bunch Next Wednesday!
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~The OKC West Livestock Auction has assembled a large group of preconditioned calves- about 3,000 being consigned at this point- for their regular Wednesday auction of this coming week on December 5. The calf run will start to sell about 11 AM.
Bill Barnhart of OKC West in El Reno tells us these are calves that have been weaned for 45 days, have had a regimen of shots, will be sorted and are ready to dump out on your pasture! Some of these animals are coming out of the Oklahoma Quality Beef Network program.
Barnhart pointed out to me that as some of our cattle producers get a little older- the fact that these calves are a lot less likely to give you problems because of being stressed means a lot. And, it's been shown time and time again that preconditioned cattle have a much better track record in performing as they go through the stocker phase of their life into the feedlot. We have the OKC West website linked below- and you can call Bill Barnhart or Jason Cooper for more details- that number is 405-262-8800.
This weekend- AFR State Speech Finals at OSU!
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~For many years, the Oklahoma Farmers Union has held their annual speech competition each fall and wrapped up with the finals on campus in Stillwater at Oklahoma State University. Well, the name has changed to American Farmers and Ranchers- but the commitment to young people over the state remains and the 2007 edition of the speech finals is Saturday- tomorrow- in Stillwater.
I look forward to seeing a lot of folks there as I go and help in judging the finals once again here in 2007- it's really refreshing to go and see so many outstanding young people striving to do their best and being rewarded for it!
Speaking of AFR- we will be featuring a conversation with President Ray Wulf on our Saturday morning TV segment this week on KWTV News9 during their morning news segment that runs between 6 AM and 8 AM. We normally have the segment run around 7:40 am- we'll be talking with President Wulf about trying to get the Farm Bill Debate back on track in Washington as well as saluting those young people heading to Stillwater for the Speech Competition.
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