~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Oklahoma's latest farm and ranch news
Your Update from Ron Hays of RON for Tuesday December 11, 2007!A service of Cusack Meats, National Livestock Credit Corporation & Midwest Farm Shows
-- Senate plans first vote on a Farm Bill Amendment after lunch today.
-- Ethanol Should Not Be Blamed for Food Price Inflation.
-- No Smithfield Beef Plant in Hooker
-- From Beef to Dairy- Susan Allen has jumped promotional cows!
-- Alltech Meetings are a "GO" this week.
-- We Just Might Get Her Done!
-- Jeff, Kent, Paul and Henry Jo!
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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Senate plans first vote on a Farm Bill Amendment after lunch today.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~The Senate worked on getting several amendments dropped into the hopper yesterday- and Senator Ken Salazar of Colorado announced that the first amendment to consider will be the so-called "Fresh" amendment offered by former Senate Ag Committee Chairman Dick Lugar of Indiana and Senator Frank Lautenberg- a measure if adopted would pretty well eliminate the current Commodity Title as proposed by the Ag Committee. It would drastically reduce and then eliminate commodity supports by fiscal year 2014. The debate will begin around 10 am this morning- and a vote should occur by around 3 PM our time.
The Republicans have apparently already selected their 20 amendments, as that is how many Republican offered amendments are now listed as being introduced by the GOP. Meanwhile, the Democrats have offered five or six at this point. I do not see any amendments related to the Estate Tax or the Renewable Fuel Standard in the list provided up to this point. Besides the Lugar substitute that will be voted on today- the other headliner on the Democratic side is the Dorgan-Grassley amendment that would place a hard cap $250,000 on farm program payments.
Three amendments offered by Senator Tom Coburn are included in the Republican list of 20. The good Doctor is offering one amendment "to ensure the priority of the farm bill remains farmers by eliminating wasteful Department of Agriculture spending on casinos, golf courses, junkets, cheese centers, and aging barns." Senator Coburn's second amendment that made the final 20 would "limit the distribution to deceased individuals, and estates of those individuals, of certain agricultural payments." The third of the Coburn amendments would offer some changes in EQIP- the Environmental Quality Incentives Program. We have the Senate's Daily Digest linked on our farm bill page where you can see all of the amendments listed for Monday, December 10. Click below to get to our farm bill page on WWW.OklahomaFarmReport.Com
Ethanol Should Not Be Blamed for Food Price Inflation.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Informa Economics of Memphis has just released a study on the impact of ethanol and the price increases it has caused in the feed grain sector. Informa claims that marketing costs and surging global demand for commodities in general are the real drivers of food price inflation- not ethanol.
Bruce Sherr of Informa claims that this report "debunks" the myth of the food vs. fuel debate that has been raised in the US over the last couple of years. Informa says that there is comparatively "weak correlation" between corn prices and overall food prices. Sherr concludes that "this analysis puts to bed the argument that a growing domestic ethanol industry is solely responsible for rising consumer food prices."
We were one of the members of the media that took part in a teleconference with Sherr and others on the Informa team yesterday- and we have an audio wrap of the study and responses to a couple of key questions about this whole subject linked below. If you also go to our main webpage at www.OklahomaFarmReport.Com, we have the full report linked as well as Bruce Sherr's opening comments explaining the report from yesterday's conference.
No Smithfield Beef Plant in Hooker
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~In case you missed it, it was reported the end of last week that Smithfield is admitting what most folks in the beef cattle industry had already figured out- there will be no beef processing plant built just outside of Hooker in the Oklahoma Panhandle anytime soon- if ever.
Horrible beef processing plant margins for the last several months likely sealed the fate of the Smithfield plans, if indeed anyone in the company was still really thinking about the concept of adding more packing capacity into the southern plains at this time.
Spokesman Lyle Orwig for Green Bay, Wisconsin- based Smithfield says it could be three to five years before a decision is made. Smithfield announced last October plans for a $200 million processing plant with groundbreaking to be held in January. But after numerous delays some in Hooker question whether Smithfield truly planned to build the plant or was just using Oklahoma in a plan to buy out longtime rival Swift and Company. Swift was sold in May to a Brazilian meat company.
From Beef to Dairy- Susan Allen has jumped promotional cows!
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Susan (Lively) Allen has switched gears this week from the beef check-off to the dairy check-off. She is the new program Coordinator for Dairy MAX, a regional non-profit generic milk product promotional organization created, controlled and funded by dairy farmers and sanctioned by the U.S. Department of Agriculture under its Dairy Promotion Order. Susan had worked for the last several years for the Oklahoma Beef Council as their dietician and liaison with the health community.
The mission of Dairy MAX is to increase demand for dairy products by executing an industry wide, market- driven business plan that invests resources in a strategic manner and provides the best possible economic advantage to dairy farmers. Duties of the position are primarily working in school marketing with programs such as "New Look of School Milk" and "A la Carte and Dairy Vending," and working with health professionals such as Family Physicians, Registered Dietitians, and Pediatricians.
Susan is a graduate of Oklahoma Ag Leadership Class XI, and will continue to live in central Oklahoma as she takes on this new position in the ag community. I do have her new email address if you would like it- drop me a note and I will be glad to forward it to you.
Alltech Meetings are a "GO" this week.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~We touched base with Matt Case of the Alltech, the company that has planned their 2008 Calf Country Profit Tour this week across Oklahoma. They have a total of 18 locations where they plan stops- with either lunch or supper as a part of the offer to come and hear about their "natural" way to attack the problem of scours in baby calves.
The first six of those meetings are planned for today- in Enid, Shawnee and Broken Bow midday and then Alva, Ada and Poteau for this evening. We have the full list of the meetings for tomorrow and Thursday listed on our Calendar page of our website- we have that calendar page linked below.
You can call the Alltech folks in Springfield, Mo. to get last minute details on any of these locations where they have meetings planned- if you are in the cattle business, they would love to have you come and learn more about Alltech. Give them a call at 417-886-1000- ask them for details about the meetings being held this week across Oklahoma.
We Just Might Get Her Done!
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~We spent some time on the phone this morning with Jay Truitt, Head of the Washington office of the National Cattlemen's Beef Association. He believes there is a chance that we could see the Senate come off high center and move through a lot of the 40 amendments quickly and get a bill out to the Conference Committee by early next week.
In fact, he does not expect the Democrats to use their full allotment of 20 amendments. And, he is thinking that the Enzi amendment will not be considered on the Senate Floor- as several lawmakers would object to it- and if even one Senator objects to any of these amendments, it will be knocked out of consideration- based on the deal cut by the Leadership.
The Enzi amendment is the one that would mandate transparency of all transactions in the cattle business- and would mean at its extreme that if you wanted to negotiate a direct sale of your calves to a packer or anyone else, you would have to invite anyone who wanted to come and watch those negotiations to do so- it has been widely criticized by most segments of the beef industry.
As far as an endgame- Jay does not see the Conference Committee getting a final bill out to the House and Senate- and then the final final package to President Bush before March- he says that everyone will be on hold in January and early February in Washington watching the Presidential politics sort themselves out.
Jeff, Kent, Paul and Henry Jo!
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Congratulations to Dr. Jeff Edwards of Oklahoma State University who has awarded the "Wheat Promoter of the Year" award by the Oklahoma Wheat Growers Association this past weekend. Jeff is the Cooperative Extension small grains specialist with the Department of Plant and Soil Sciences, OSU Division of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources in Stillwater. He was honored for his work in promoting the wheat industry in the state of Oklahoma.
Kent McAninch, who served on the Oklahoma Wheat Commission in the 1990s and is a wheat producer from the Tonkawa area, was honored by the OWGA with their "Mr. Wheat" award for 2007- that also awarded by the group this past Saturday.
As I was checking back through some of the archives of the Wheat Commission (to make sure I spelled Kent's name right!), I happened upon one of the funnest pictures I have been a part of in my many years as a farm broadcaster here in the state. It was the making of the world's largest peanut butter and jelly sandwich several years back at the Governor's SeptemberFest. What makes this picture even more special to me are the two men that I stood between- Paul Jackson of Apache and Henry Jo Von Tungeln of El Reno! These two men were good friends and stand as legends in our business of agriculture in the state of Oklahoma. If you want to go down memory lane with me on this one- click the link below to take a look at the Wheat Brief from several years back that had this picture on its front page.
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