~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Oklahoma's latest farm and ranch news
Your Update from Ron Hays of RON for Wednesday December 3, 2008!A service of Producers Cooperative Oil Mill, Farm Credit Associations of Oklahoma and Johnston Enterprises!
-- Wind Energy Could Be One Fourth of the Solution to American Energy Woes- T Boone Pickens
-- Chambliss Wins Easily in Senate Seat Runoff
-- Who Will Be the Next Secretary of Agriculture?
-- Recession Puts the Hurt on US Ag Exports
-- Unwanted Pesticide Collection Sites- One Down, Three to Go
-- A Bit More Buzz on Canada and COOL
-- Let's Check the Markets!
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Wind Energy Could Be One Fourth of the Solution to American Energy Woes- T Boone Pickens
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~It's primarily a question of ignorance in Washington when it comes to where America stands in the amount and the various types of energy we consume. That was how T. Boone Pickens described Washington insiders who he has talked to about his Energy Plan- saying they seem interested in the plan, but apparently don't believe the benefits it can deliver. Pickens talked about how he has come to the conclusion that the only thing that will get the attention of the politicians and beauracrats in Washington is a huge grassroots movement of a million people of more- all demanding a real domestic based, renewable energy plan.
Pickens told a receptive audience of more than a thousand people gathered for lunch at the Wind Energy Conference in downtown Oklahoma City on Tuesday that the power of the wind blowing in Oklahoma needs to be a part of that solution.
The Journal Record reports "The key to the Pickens Plan is to expand the wind energy industry so that wind power can provide 22 percent of the nation's electricity, replacing natural gas in the electricity generation portfolio. That would free up a lot of natural gas currently used for electricity generation for use as a transportation fuel, perhaps in liquefied form. When more vehicles run on natural gas - which is plentiful in the U.S. - demand for oil imported from unstable areas of the world could be reduced or even eliminated."
Today, the Wind Energy Conference will wrap up at midday after hearing from Mark Tercek, the CEO of the Nature Conservancy. Wind Energy without a negative impact on the environment is doable, according to Bobby Wegener of the Oklahoma Department of Energy, who we talked to earlier about the Conference. He pointed out to us the biggest problem we face in Oklahoma with wind energy are transmission lines- as they and the Lesser Prairie Chicken don't get along very well.
Chambliss Wins Easily in Senate Seat Runoff
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Republican Senator Saxby Chambliss of Georgia has won his runoff against Democrat Jim Martin on Tuesday- keeping the Republicans from handing over a super majority of 60 seats to the Democrats in the US Senate.
It was especially good news for agricultural interests, not just in Georgia, but across the country who felt they had a reliable supporter in the 65 year old Chambliss, who served as the Chairman of the Senate Ag Committee until the Republicans lost control to the Democrats- since that time, he has served as the ranking member of the Committee- and was a key counter balance to the populist agenda offered by Chairman Tom Harkin of Iowa during the 2008 Farm Bill debate.
Going back to early November- we talked with Colin Woodall of the NCBA about this runoff and its importance to farmers and ranchers- we have that angle of this Chambliss victory on our website this morning- click below to jump to that story.
Who Will Be the Next Secretary of Agriculture?
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~We picked up a tidbit or two from Keith Good who writes a blog called FarmPolicy.Com- who cites a Reuters story of this week and a push for an Easterner to be our next Secretary of Agriculture. Good notes "Pennsylvania Gov Ed Rendell said on Monday he backs his state agriculture secretary to head the U.S. Agriculture Department, with duties from school lunches to farm subsidies and the national forests. A sixth-generation dairy farmer, Dennis Wolff has been Pennsylvania agriculture secretary since 2003 and has won approval of legislation to improve water quality and to settle conflicts between farmers and communities."
Meanwhile, DTN's Washington Insider has offered a list of names this week that are being mentioned by those willing to venture a guess- including Congresswoman Stephanie Herseth Sandlin of South Dakota, NFU President Tom Buis, National Black Farmers Association leader John Boyd, North Dakota Ag Commissioner Roger Johnson, Kansas Governor Kathleen Sebelius, Farm Credit Administration Commissioner Dallas Tonsager, Iowa Lt. Governor Patty Judge and former Congressman Charles Stenholm.
You might remember our conversation from a few weeks back with Congressman Jerry Moran of Kansas who discounted the Sebelius possibilities- saying that while she might be in the running for the Secretary of Education position- Agriculture was not her strong suit, even though she calls Kansas home.
A Washington Post Blogger has also weighed in on the job- and according to Ben Pershing of the internet site hosted by the Washington Post- it could be all about shaking up traditional farm programs- he was asked in a Q&A with readers about the position and offered this comment- "It's true that the Ag Secretary pick has been largely overshadowed, first by the economic team and now, today, by the national security team. I don't know for sure who the frontrunners are. I have seen speculation about Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius, who is seen as a rising star in the Democratic party, and Charlie Stenholm, the former Texas congressman who is a conservative Democrat and very popular in the agriculture community. What's also not clear is whether Obama will try to reform the current system of farm subsidies, which has a lot of critics in both parties. His pick for Ag Secretary could send a strong message on that front."
Recession Puts the Hurt on US Ag Exports
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Economic Research Service, in a report released this week entitled, "Outlook for U.S. Agricultural Trade," indicated that, "Fiscal 2009 agricultural exports are forecast at $98.5 billion, down $14.5 billion from August and $17.0 billion below record 2008 sales. The outlook for U.S. exports has changed dramatically with the expectation of global recession in 2009. The combination of weaker global demand, falling prices, and an appreciating dollar create a very unfavorable outlook for U.S. exports.
"Huge wheat supplies from Russia, EU, and Ukraine increase competition in grain markets. Grain and feed exports are lowered from August, and exports are now forecast $10 billion below record 2008 sales. Forecasted unit values for wheat and coarse grains are lowered from August, and year-over-year shipments are down about 20 percent. Soybeans and products are reduced $2.2 billion since August on lower unit values, and reduced supply lower year-over- year soybean shipments 3.1 million tons. China's demand for soybeans remains strong. Cotton exports are lowered due to weak consumer demand for textiles. Animal product exports drop $1.7 billion since August mostly due to reduced demand for pork, broilers, animal fats, and dairy products. The forecast for horticultural products is lowered, but sales are still expected to increase from 2008.
"Fiscal 2009 agricultural imports are lowered $2 billion from August but remain a record $81 billion. This reflects the slowest growth rate in many years. Despite the stronger dollar, and some relief from high oil prices, a slumping economy with rising unemployment and falling consumer spending is slowing import growth."
Unwanted Pesticide Collection Sites- One Down, Three to Go
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~The first of four Unwanted Pesticide Collection Sites was in operation yesterday in McAlester, with one more scheduled for this week (Kellyville) and two next week here in the month of December. Next week, the sites will include Morrison and Woodward.
We have details on our Calendar page at WWW.OklahomaFarmReport.Com and we have the Calendar link below for you to be able to go and take a look at details of this free service, as well as check out other events happening on the Agricultural calendar between now and the end of December.
A Bit More Buzz on Canada and COOL
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Our midweek Beef Buzz continues to look at the Canadian decision to pursue a possible trade sanctions case against the US because of Country of Origin labeling in this country. The President of the National Farmers Union, Tom Buis, has weighed in on the subject- and in a news release from their Washington office says "U.S. consumers have consistently demanded information concerning the source of the food products they purchase. COOL provides this information in a way that is truthful without distorting or creating barriers to trade. I believe Canada is 'jumping the gun' in this complaint about mandatory country of origin labeling."
We also hear a little more from John Masswold of the Canadian Cattlemen's Association and why they believe that this case is reasonable. Masswold says that his organization has not dialogued with groups in this country that are big supporters of COOL, like the National Farmers Union and R-Calf. In fact, he points out that R-Calf was, in his opinion, created to destroy trade with Canada, so he wondered out loud to us why should they take time to talk with them.
Our Beef Buzz shows are heard on great radio stations around the state on the Radio Oklahoma Network. And, we have them archived on our website, www.OklahomaFarmReport.Com all the way back to the start of this program being a feature on the network in 2006. Click on the link below for today's Beef Buzz- and be sure to check out the archives to listen to other Beef Buzz shows that are of interest to you.
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Let's Check the Markets!
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~From Monday- the Joplin Regional Stockyards sold 6,000 cattle with prices holding close to steady with last week- they had some good commentary about the cattle market trying to hold together in light of the continued outside market issues. And, they mention in that report that Joplin has a big Value Added Sale tomorrow with some 5,000 head of cattle expected. Click here for a look at the market comments from Joplin, as well as their actual prices for the week.
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