~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Oklahoma's latest farm and ranch news
Your Update from Ron Hays of RON for Friday July 18, 2008!A service of Producers Cooperative Oil Mill, Farm Credit Associations of Oklahoma and Midwest Farm Shows!
-- Judge Considers Plight of Ranchers and Tells Groups- Work it out!
-- USDA Names Nine Oklahoma Counties as Primary Disaster Counties Because of Drought
-- Cattlemen Like How Jim Wiesemeyer Explains RFS
-- Who's the Man for Agriculture??? Senator Obama or McCain?
-- State Representative Jeff Hickman Calls Out OEA on what he calls a Backdoor Push for Rural School Consolidation
-- AFR Urging Support of Jerry Moran Measure that Would Offset Lawsuit Against Critical Feed Useage.
-- Explore Our Website!
-- Let's Check the Markets!
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Judge Considers Plight of Ranchers and Tells Groups- Work it out!
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~US District Judge John C. Coughenour in Washington State has instructed the two sides in the CRP Critical Feed Use program dispute to get together and work things out and present him a proposed compromise this coming Tuesday. It is expected that if the two sides can come together on a deal- the judge will implement it almost immediately.
Two cattle industry officials have called the ruling by a Federal judge in Seattle on Thursday a victory for the cattlemen impacted by the Temporary Restraining Order issued last week by that same judge.
Scott Dewald with the Oklahoma Cattlemen's Association says that he believes the stories of real cattle ranchers who had invested hard earned money into using this land and the prospect that those ranchers could lose their herds if they lost access to the CRP ground made a difference. Colin Woodall of the NCBA agrees, adding he is hopeful that the National Wildlife Federation and the USDA can work out their differences between now and next Tuesday when recommendations have been asked for by the Judge.
We have the judge's ruling from Thursday- plus an audio overview with comments from Dewald and Woodall on this legal proceeding- it's found as the Top Story on our website and we have it linked below for you to read and hear.
USDA Names Nine Oklahoma Counties as Primary Disaster Counties Because of Drought
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~The state of Oklahoma has received word from the USDA that all nine counties that the state requested be named federal disaster counties have been so designated. In a letter from Secretary of Agriculture Ed Schafer to Governor Brad Henry, the Secretary states "The Department of Agriculture (USDA) has reviewed the Loss Assessment Reports, along with additional information submitted by the State Executive Director, Farm Service Agency (FSA). Based on this review, USDA has determined that there were sufficient production losses to warrant a Secretarial natural disaster designation."
The counties so named include Beaver, Dewey, Harper, Texas, Woodward,
Cimarron, Ellis, Roger Mills and Woods.
We have more on this story on our website- including a link to the full text of the letter sent to Governor Henry by Secretary Schafer.
Cattlemen Like How Jim Wiesemeyer Explains RFS
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~The first General Session of the Summer Cattle Industry Conference was held Thursday morning- and beef producers liked how Jim Wiesemeyer of Informa Economics approached the RFS issue. The National Cattlemen's Beef Association and many state cattle groups have been very vocal in calling for a roll back on the Renewable Fuel Standard that was established in the recently passed Energy Bill.
Wiesemeyer contends that nine billion gallons of ethanol under the mandate- jumping to 10.5 billion gallons in 2009 is too far too fast as it continues to go even higher in future years. He believes that the RFS component in the Energy Bill was not thought through- and that now the feed grain industry is puzzled why so many are picking on them and on the RFS.
We have Jim's full explanation of how he sees this story- the audio comments of WIesemeyer as found on our website. His contention is that it is all about a safety net- the farm bill offers a safety net for crop producers on the downside- major users of crops like corn and wheat and soybeans want some assurances of a safety net on the high side as well.
Who's the Man for Agriculture??? Senator Obama or McCain?
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Presidential politics came up in the opening general session of the Summer Cattle Conference here in Denver, as we continue our coverage courtesy of Hudson Livestock Supplements. Dr. Barry Flinchbaugh of Kansas State touched on a variety of subjects- including his look at the two major political candidates set to do battle for the White House between now and November.
Dr. Flinchbaugh believes that neither of the candidates really know, care or appreciate agriculture. He adds that while the position of Secretary of Agriculture does not have as much clout as that post might have once commanded- it still is an important bully pulpit for whichever party grabs control of the Presidency.
The veteran policy analyst believes that almost certainly if Senator
Obama wins the White House that Tom Buis, President of the National
Farmers Union will be the next Secretary of Agriculture. He believes that
if Senator McCain can put together a victory in November- two names that
have stood out to him is Senator Sam Brownback of Kansas and the just
retired President of the American Farmland Trust, Ralph Grossi.
State Representative Jeff Hickman Calls Out OEA on what he calls a Backdoor Push for Rural School Consolidation
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~A state teacher's union is renewing its push for "back- door consolidation" of rural schools, a state legislative leader is warning. State Rep. Jeff Hickman noted this is the second time in three years the Oklahoma Education Association has tried to force rural consolidation. "The OEA keeps using the same old bait-and- switch: They say they want to help education but pursue strategies guaranteed to force the closing of rural schools," said Hickman, R-Dacoma
This year's state appropriation for public schools was $2.53 billion - an increase and record amount in a session when most state agencies received no extra funding at all. Oklahoma schools are expected to also receive another $628.2 million in federal funds and around $1 billion more in local funding. In spite of that record support, the OEA plans to promote a proposed constitutional amendment mandating an increase in "per-pupil" funding they say would require an additional $850 million appropriation.
That plan would almost certainly force the closure of dozens of rural schools in an effort to reach the OEA's arbitrary goal, Hickman noted. Many of those smaller, rural districts are at or near the top in the state in academic performance. "The OEA's plan would force the elimination of schools across the state to reduce overhead and boost per-pupil funding," Hickman said. "Their plan would not provide any true benefit to students and would actually create serious hardships for families throughout Oklahoma.
"You don't improve education by closing schools - particularly some of our best-performing districts," Hickman said, "It's too bad the OEA doesn't understand that."
AFR Urging Support of Jerry Moran Measure that Would Offset Lawsuit Against Critical Feed Useage.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~We got an email last night from policy analyst Francie Tolle of the American Farmers & Ranchers- just back to Oklahoma after spending several days in Washington. Francie gives us an AFR update on their hopes about getting a legislative fix to the National Wildlife Federation's legal action that has tied up the Critical Feed Use program on CRP ground.
Francie writes: "This week Ray Wulf, Terry Detrick and Board Member Ed Preble and I were in DC working on ag issues, one of which was the Critical Feed Use initiative on CRP. We felt that every possible measure should be explored to remedy the horrible situation in which the NWF has put farmers and ranchers. This is such a time sensitive issue and today, after the judge refused to lift the temporary restraining order, we were extremely pleased that Kansas Congressman Jerry Moran introduced H.R. 6533 to override the TRO and subsequent injunction and allow the CFU initiative to proceed as originally announced by USDA.
"Congressman Lucas has been working to look for solutions and we will be asking all of our Oklahoma Delegation to support Moran's legislation. As we spoke with Congressman Dan Boren, an avid outdoorsman and hunter, he expressed his understanding of the situation and support for our farmers, ranchers and rural communities."
Explore Our Website!
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Our thanks to Jessica in the State 4-H office who went in and checked our calendar and determined that we needed to add the state 4-H Roundup that begins this year on July 30 in Stillwater. We have details of this event that we have added to the calendar and we remind you to go check out the various events going on- and LET US KNOW when a group you are involved in has an event coming up that we do not have listed.
We also remind you that you can subscribe to our agricultural news and add it to a Yahoo or Google site that you may set up as a home page- and we are doing daily podcasts now that we are calling Ag Perspectives- some of the most recent podcasts available are to be seen at the bottom of the Front Page- and a fuller list is on the Listen to Ron tab.
We have great weather information- we have lots of market information
with more in the pipeline- and lots of other goodies. On the right hand
side of the page- you will see a block ad promoting something we are
calling Cattle Industry Insights- click there and you will see multiple
reports from the Cattle Industry Summer Conference that I am writing this
from on Thursday evening. We will be adding lots more from Denver on that
page- and will be using this page to post lots of information on the
upcoming Oklahoma Cattlemen's Association Convention and Trade Show at the
end of the month.
Our thanks to Midwest Farm Shows, Farm Credit Associations of Oklahoma and Producers Cooperative Oil Mill for their support of our daily Farm News Update. For your convenience, we have our sponsors' websites linked at the top of the email- check them out and let these folks know you appreciate the support of this daily email, as their sponsorship helps us keep this arriving in your inbox on a regular basis!
We also invite you to check out our website at the link below to check out an archive of these daily emails, audio reports and top farm news story links from around the globe.
Let's Check the Markets!
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