~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Oklahoma's latest farm and ranch news
Your Update from Ron Hays of RON for Friday December 14, 2007!A service of Cusack Meats, National Livestock Credit Corporation & Midwest Farm Shows
-- Majority Leader Reid Has his Gut Full of Farm Bill- Calls for Cloture and Gets It!
-- Wheat Growers Quickly Jump Out with Attaboys for Amendments Being Turned Back.
-- Frank Lucas Expects Farm Law Extension This Coming Week
-- Ethanol Era will Remake Cattle Industry- Andy Gottschalk.
-- Senate finally gives in to demands of President Bush- strips out problems and passes the bill.
-- Water Meetings Done for 2007- BUT there's still time to add your input!
-- The Tester Amendment is Bounced- The Pat Roberts Arguments Against It on the Beef Buzz.
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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Majority Leader Reid Has his Gut Full of Farm Bill- Calls for Cloture and Gets It!
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Final passage of the 2007 Senate Farm Bill could come today- after Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada says there are too many other things to be working on in the final days of 2007 before all the Senators go home for Christmas besides the Farm Bill- so he told the farm bill managers- Senate Ag Committee Chair Tom Harkin and Ranking member Saxby Chambliss that the game is over- let's close her down. So with at least 26 amendments hanging in limbo, the Senate took a cloture vote at 8 PM central time last night to end debate on the Farm Bill. That cloture vote was passed 78 to 12- it had to have at least 60 to pass- and it reflected that indeed the Senators are tired of dealing with the ins and outs of farm policy.
At one point, Reid said it would be fine by him if the Managers decided to call for a final vote Thursday night- but later amended that by saying a few germane amendments would be handled- and then a final vote should happen Friday- preferably early in the day.
All the major challenges to the farm bill that would have made major changes to the Senate Ag Committee's version of policy were turned back, with most of them facing objections from one or more Senators that meant they had to have 60 votes to pass. That included the Dorgan-Grassley Payments Limits Hard Cap- it received 56 votes out of the 60 needed to become a part of the Senate Farm Bill.
Wheat Growers Quickly Jump Out with Attaboys for Amendments Being Turned Back.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~The very first email we got that carried reaction from farm groups on the amendments being voted on Thursday came from the National Association of Wheat Growers. They seemed pleased with the days events through about 4 pm yesterday afternoon.
The NAWG release stated "The grower members of the National Association of Wheat Growers thank the many Senators who voted against a series of unfriendly amendments to the 2007 Farm Bill on the floor Thursday. The most potentially devastating amendments included the Dorgan-Grassley payment limits amendment, the Klobuchar adjusted gross income amendment and the Brown-Sununu crop insurance amendment. All three were defeated Thursday.
"I am extremely pleased that so many Senators recognized the importance of a stable and predicable safety net and a strong crop insurance program for our producers," said NAWG President John Thaemert. "We look forward to the Senate's swift passage of a strong farm bill."
Frank Lucas Expects Farm Law Extension This Coming Week
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~We caught up with Congressman Frank Lucas on his way home to western Oklahoma yesterday afternoon after the House had adjourned for the week- and he agrees with those who are calling for at least a short term extension of the 2002 farm law out to March of 2008. This prospect was raised earlier this week by the Chairman of the House Ag Committee, Colin Peterson of Minnesota.
Peterson wants an extension that lasts through March which he says will preserve the farm bill budget baseline until we get a farm law through the Conference Committee, approved by both bodies and signed into law. Congressman Lucas believes it would be better for most crop producers to simply extend the entire bill by one more year- including the commodity title and allow the measure now going through the Congress to take effect in crop year 2009.
At this point, Peterson is not buying that- so a very short term extension is likely to be attached to the omnibus appropriation measure that Congress may throw together this coming week that will fund most of the Federal Government for the rest of this current fiscal year. You can hear our conversation with Congressman Lucas on this subject at the link we have provided below.
Ethanol Era will Remake Cattle Industry- Andy Gottschalk.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~The ethanol industry boom and subsequent higher corn prices are shifting fundamentals in the U.S. cattle industry. And, Andrew Gottschalk, senior vice president of R.J. O'Brien & Associates and owner of HedgersEdge.com LLC, Englewood, Colo., says those changes aren't going away. Corn used for ethanol is expected to expand from 2.125 billion bushels (bu.), or 20% of annual production, to 4.3 billion bu. in 2009-2010, or about 30% of annual production.
Gottschalk made his remarks this week at the annual Range Beef Cow Symposium being held up in Ft. Collins, Colorado. "The immediate impact of the Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS) is the sharp increase in corn prices resulting from increased corn demand for ethanol production. It has substantially increased the cost of corn to all users," he says. "The sector of our industry most susceptible to the adverse impact of a sharp increase in corn prices is the cow- calf sector. Higher corn or feedgrain prices will ultimately limit the price the fed sector will pay for calves and feeders."
Gottschalk does say that midwest cow calf operators, at least for now,
have the advantage with the large number of ethanol plants in those states
as dried distiller grains will help keep feed costs under control in those
locations where the plants are.
Senate finally gives in to demands of President Bush- strips out problems and passes the bill.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~The final vote on the Energy Bill Thursday afternoon was 86 to 8. Two of the eight "no" votes came from our Oklahoma lawmakers, Senators Inhofe and Coburn. There's a lot of things that did survive in this bill- and for agriculture, there is notably the new Renewable Fuel Standard.
The new RFS extends us out to 2022 on the amount of biofuels we want to see generated in this country and used- and the magic number is 26 billion gallons- 15 billion gallons of it ethanol from feed grains and corn. The National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) commended the Senate for passage of the measure. "The energy bill is a dynamic package that supports the existing industry and looks to the future of energy," said NCGA President Ron Litterer. "This legislation guarantees a robust future market for corn."
The legislation passed after two failed attempts to approve it with provisions that would increase taxes on oil and natural gas companies and require investor-owned utilities to purchase a portion of their power from renewable sources. Those initiatives were stripped from the final legislation because of Republican opposition. President George W. Bush will sign the legislation, press secretary Dana Perino said in an e-mailed statement. The White House earlier today issued a statement threatening to veto the legislation if it included the tax provisions. The final step before it goes to the President is another stop at the House for a final belssing- that will be decided early next week.
Water Meetings Done for 2007- BUT there's still time to add your input!
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~We have an update on the local water meetings held across the state earlier this year- Jeri Fleming with the Water Board offers these comments "I just wanted to touch base with everyone and let you know that all of the Local Input Meeting reports are finished and posted on the website. (We have it linked below)
I want to again encourage everyone to make a comment if you have not yet done so. In order to get started on the regional reports we need to have all comments in by Dec. 31, 2007. We will continue to accept comments throughout the process but we cannot guarantee comments received after Dec. 31, 2007 will be included in the regional reports. You can CLICK HERE to go to where you can make a comment on water issues that will be included with all the comments received at the many meetings over the state.
"The regional meetings will begin in the summer of 2008. The regions are numbered 1 - 11 but I want to emphasize that the meetings will not be held in numerical order. We will post meeting dates and locations on our website as soon as they have been determined. The regional meetings will consist of a group of 30 people who have been selected to prioritize and consolidate issues but will be open to the public. We are accepting nominations for participation in the regional meetings. If you think you, or someone you know would be a good candidate for participation please make a nomination. We will need 30 people for each region."
The Tester Amendment is Bounced- The Pat Roberts Arguments Against It on the Beef Buzz.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Senator Pat Roberts of Kansas is that state's junior Senator- and the former Chairman of the House Ag Committee during the Freedom to Farm era. The Sunflower state lawmaker jumped in with both feet with his opposition to the Tester Amendment on Thursday- the measure that would have redefined the Packers and Stockyards Act.
Senator Roberts argued that this bill would have acted as a time machine- carrying the livestock industry back in time and away from the innovations that have allowed producers more options in how to market their cattle. Amendment 3666 was easily defeated 40- 55 as it would have needed 60 votes to have been added onto the Senate Farm Bill.
We feature Pat Roberts from Kansas with his thoughts on this measure on today's Beef Buzz, a regular radio feature of the Radio Oklahoma Network. As we have mentioned before, we have many of our Beef Buzz shows archived on our website if you will go to our main page- select the Beef Buzz button on the left and you will see shows that stretch back to last fall that you can click on and listen. Today's show is linked directly below- click and enjoy listening to Senator Pat Roberts.
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