~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Oklahoma's latest farm and ranch news
Your Update from Ron Hays of RON for Thursday December 27, 2007!A service of National Livestock Credit Corporation, American Farmers and Ranchers & Midwest Farm Shows
-- Disaster Assistance- Some Counties Have Released It- Some Have Not.
-- Ag Census to be Mailed Tomorrow
-- President Bush Signs Omnibus Spending Bill- Which Extends the 2002 Farm Law.
-- Nationally Known Organic Advocate in Tulsa Next Weekend.
-- Hog and Pigs Report Out From USDA This Afternoon.
-- USDA's Chief Economist Keith Collins is heading out the door this week!
Here's your morning farm news headlines from the Director of Farm Programming for the Radio Oklahoma Network, Ron Hays. American Farmers and Ranchers Mutual Insurance Company is a regular sponsor of our daily update- click here to go to their NEW AFR web site to learn more about their efforts to serve rural America!!!
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Disaster Assistance- Some Counties Have Released It- Some Have Not.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~We got a couple of answers to our question of Wednesday about the Disaster Aid that was approved by Congress earlier this year. Many producers have applied for the assistance- and we got word last week that finally the rules had been officially published, which signaled that checks or direct deposits could be moved forward.
We go the word from one farmer that he had gotten his direct deposit disaster payment this past Thursday. He did note that the local FSA Committee does have to sign off on each application- so that if they had not reviewed your application as of their last meeting- it would mean that no money would be issued before the next county meeting.
Another reply we got came northwest Oklahoma- as we were told that at
least one county's FSA director has decided to not issue the payments this
calendar year. He indicated all pieces necessary to make payments are now
in place but that they will delay pushing the pay button until next week
in order to keep a large payment from being recorded in 2007 with possibly
inadequate time for a farmer to make an offsetting expenditure. He did
note they would be making a couple of payments in situations where the
producer had requested the payment ASAP and indicated no tax problem would
be created by having the payment prior to December 31.
Ag Census to be Mailed Tomorrow
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Just as Joe and Mary had to be a part of a census 2000 years ago- farmers and ranchers from across the country are being asked to be a part of the 2007 Ag Census of Agriculture. Conducted every five years by the U.S. Department of Agriculture's National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS), the Census covers virtually every aspect of U.S. agriculture, providing a complete count of the nation's farms and ranches and the people who operate them.
"The holiday season is a time of giving and receiving, but perhaps some of the best gifts are food, clothing and shelter provided to us with help from our U.S. farmers," said Wilbert Hundl, Director of the NASS Oklahoma Field Office. "As many of us gather around the dinner table with good food and good friends, these essentials for everyday living often are taken for granted. By participating in the 2007 Census of Agriculture, farmers can ensure the vitality of the agriculture industry by providing a strong and unified voice about their needs and concerns."
The Census looks at land use and ownership, operator characteristics, production practices, income and expenditures and other topics across the country and in Oklahoma, right down to the county level. NASS will mail out Census forms on December 28, 2007 to collect data for the 2007 calendar year. Completed forms are due by February 4, 2008. Producers can return their forms by mail or, for the first time, they have the convenient option of filling out the Census online. For more information about the Census, Click on the link below or call toll-free (888) 4AG-STAT or (888) 424-7828.
President Bush Signs Omnibus Spending Bill- Which Extends the 2002 Farm Law.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~It's a massive $555 Billion dollar bill that several lawmakers, including several from Oklahoma, complained that there was absolutely no way to know what was in the measure as Congress had to vote on it in the very last moments of legislative time before Christmas.
Included in the bill was a partial extension of the 2002 farm law, which protects the budget baseline that has been in place for the five year life of the bill as it extends the law out to March 2008- but it fails to extend the provisions of the Commodity Title- so there is still no certainly about what the commodity program will look like for winter wheat farmers who planted their 2008 wheat crop this past fall totally on faith. Faith that the weather would cooperate and faith that lawmakers would provide a safety net under their production input costs.
The Heritage Foundation is one of several groups screaming about how Congress punted again this year on their budget responsibilities- I have linked an interesting list of gripes about this measure.
Nationally Known Organic Advocate in Tulsa Next Weekend.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~"Celebrating Horticulture, Four Seasons of Success" is the theme for the 27th Oklahoma and Arkansas Horticulture Industries Show. This two-day grower meeting and trade show is sponsored by the University of Arkansas, Oklahoma State University, Tulsa Community College, the Samuel Roberts Noble Foundation and the Kerr Center for Sustainable Agriculture. It has consistently provided growers the latest information on vegetables, fruit, herbs, Christmas trees, farmers market crops and public gardening issues. Growers from Oklahoma, Arkansas and surrounding states are welcome to attend.
On Friday and Saturday, each day will feature Eliot Coleman as a keynote speaker. Eliot has nearly 40 years of experience in all aspects of organic farming, including field and greenhouse vegetables, rotational grazing of cattle and sheep, and range poultry. He is the author of The New Organic Grower, Four Season Harvest, and the Winter Harvest Manual. Coleman is seen regularly on the Learning Channel in the TV series, "Gardening Naturally."
There will also be concurrent educational sessions both days in six major topic areas: Christmas Trees, Vegetables, Fruit, Herbs, Farmers' Market Growing/Sustainable Agriculture, and Public Gardens/Master Gardeners. We have this event and a whole host of other January events linked on our calendar page of our website, WWW.OklahomaFarmReport.Com. We have the direct link to that Calendar page below for for to check out this event and more going on in the early days of 2008.
Hog and Pigs Report Out From USDA This Afternoon.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~After the markets close this afternoon, the US Department of Agriculture will be releasing the latest quarterly report on the number of hog and pigs in the country. Pre report guesses suggest that there are about three percent more hogs and pigs as of December one this year compared to last December, with pigs kept for marketing and gilts kept for breeding both above the numbers of a year ago as well.
We will have a link on the front page of our website with details of the swine count later this afternoon, as well as some of the highlights of what the trade is saying about the numbers as well.
USDA's Chief Economist Keith Collins is heading out the door this week!
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~He officially retires as of January 3, 2008, and after serving at USDA for just over thirty years, Dr. Keith Collins carries out the door with him a semi-tractor trailer load of institutional knowledge about farm and trade policy. He has served for a number of years as the Chief Economist at USDA, under both Democratic and Republican Administrations- and has earned the respect of both sides of the political aisle along the way.
Dr. Collins began at USDA in 1977, right after grain prices had exploded higher in this country and they were turning down- in fact, that was the time of incredible hardship out in this part of the country, as the Farm Strike movement had been born by then and the Tractorcades of the late seventies were getting ready to happen.
Since that time, Collins has been a part of guiding USDA policy on
things like the PIK program (that's Payment in Kind for you youngsters out
there), the early CRP program that pulled out millions of Plains wheat
acres from production, the Farm Credit Crunch and Uncle Sam's response,
the administering of Freedom to Farm, the Uruguay Round of the World Trade
Talks, Doha and much more. We have a pair of audio tracks that you can
take a listen to and hear about these fascinating times in US agriculture
on our website- one is a long form interview that was conducted by Brenda
Curtis of USDA- it runs about thirty minutes long while our shorter
version of what Collins has seen down through the years runs about five
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