~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Oklahoma's latest farm and ranch news
Your Update from Ron Hays of RON for Friday July 25, 2008!A service of American Farmers & Ranchers, KIS Futures & Johnston Enterprises!
-- Critical Feed Use Program Back Up and Running
-- Oklahoma Livestock Groups Weigh in on RFS Waiver- they Want It.
-- US Fifth Circuit Court Earlier this Week Sets Up Supreme Court Challenge Over Market Competition.
-- House Ag Committee Passes Market Transparency Measure
-- Cattle on Feed- PLUS Cattle Inventory Report Out This Afternoon
-- Quick COOL Update
-- Harkin Says WTO Action Not Likely Until Next Year
-- Looking at our Agricultural Markets...
Here's your morning farm news headlines from the Director of Farm Programming for the Radio Oklahoma Network, Ron Hays. We are proud to have KIS Futures as a regular sponsor of our daily E-Mail. KIS Futures provides Oklahoma Farmers & Ranchers with futures & options hedging services in the livestock and grain markets- Click here for their recent TV Commercial or call them at 1-800-256-2555.
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Critical Feed Use Program Back Up and Running
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~U.S. District Judge John Coughenour has handed USDA a victory in the Critical Feed Use program for CRP contract holders. The acres that were already approved will be allowed to stay in the program, as will acres that were being processed at the time of the Temporary Restraining Order- AND if you can show that you had already invested at least $4,500 in getting ready to apply for the CFU before the date of the legal action, you can apply as well. In new contracts, there will be some adjustments to the haying and grazing end dates. Contracts that were already approved are still good through November 10, 2008 for both haying and grazing.
We have a couple of stories that we want to point you to on our website- one links to several of our farm groups and their statements on this ruling by the judge in Washington state- click here to jump to that page.
We also have a top story on our page that includes the court document (link to it) and our podcast we assembled on Thursday afternoon featuring comments from Congressman Frank Lucas as well as OCA's Scott Dewald.
Oklahoma Livestock Groups Weigh in on RFS Waiver- they Want It.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Faced with unprecedented increases in the costs of feed grains, three Oklahoma livestock groups are asking Governor Brad Henry for assistance. In a letter delivered to Gov. Henry's office on Wednesday, the Oklahoma Cattlemen's Association, Oklahoma Pork Council, and The Poultry Federation of Arkansas, Missouri, and Oklahoma estimated the costs of increased feed prices due to the current federal ethanol mandates and federal biofuels policy to Oklahoma's cattle, pork and poultry producers could be as high as $779 million in 2008.
The groups are asking Governor Henry to submit a request to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency requesting a waiver of the Renewable Fuel Standard, just as Governor Rick Perry of Texas did earlier this year.
We have more on this request- and the text of the full letter from the three groups- the Oklahoma Cattlemen's Association, the Oklahoma Pork Council and the Poultry Federation of Arkansas, Missouri and Oklahoma. Go to the link below for more on this story.
US Fifth Circuit Court Earlier this Week Sets Up Supreme Court Challenge Over Market Competition.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Oklahoma Attorney Harlan Hentges says that a decision in the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals that was issued at the beginning of this week could mean that one day soon, the US Supreme Court might be looking at a case that would define what the Packers and Stockyards Act really means- as this ruling goes against a ruling from a year or so back that relied on a traditional reading of the P&S act.
Hentges writes in his blog that we have linked below "Until today, virtual every court in the United States had refused to enforce the plain language of the Packers and Stockyards Act of 1921. The PSA prohibits meat packers, such as Tyson, Cargill, JBS/Swift, Pilgrims, and Smithfield, from engaging in "any unfair, unjustly discriminatory, or deceptive practice or device" The plain language prohibits "any" such practice. But the Courts decided that when Congress said "any" such activity, it actually meant such activity that "reduced competition" in the market. "
Hentges adds "in 2005 this interpretation was relied upon by the 11th
Circuit Court of Appeals which overturned the $1.3 billion dollar verdict
for ranchers in Picket v. Tyson, 420 F.2d 1272 (11th Cir. 2005). The 5th
Circuit Court of Appeals rejected the reasoning and held that any unfair
or deceptive practice is illegal. In doing so it has created a split
between the circuits. When such a split exists, it is up to the United
States Supreme Court to resolve the disagreement between the
House Ag Committee Passes Market Transparency Measure
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~the House Agriculture Committee approved a bipartisan measure to increase transparency, oversight, and anti-manipulation authority over futures and options markets. By voice vote, the Committee approved draft language of The Commodity Markets Transparency and Accountability Act of 2008, sponsored by Agriculture Committee Chairman Collin C. Peterson of Minnesota.
While ranking Minority Member Bob Goodlatte of Virginia indicated he would support the measure with misgivings- other Republicans were unhappy with the last minute nature of the measure- receiving it only minutes before the markup session got underway on Thursday afternoon.
A key provision of this measure would be to "require the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) to set trading limits for all agricultural and energy commodities, in order to prevent excessive speculation. " It is unlikely to become law in the short number of days left before the end of this session of Congress, however we were told that the Chairman was under a lot of pressure to get some sort of transparency measure out quickly.
Cattle on Feed- PLUS Cattle Inventory Report Out This Afternoon
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~We have both the monthly Cattle on Feed report from USDA slated for this afternoon- as well as the twice a year Cattle Inventory report out at the same time- 2 PM central time today. Joe Victor with Allendale offers these thoughts on the upcoming Cattle on Feed report:
"June Placements are expected to be 9.1% smaller than last year. This would represent the fourth month in a row of lower placements. Feedlots continue to react to corn prices as well as the smaller supply of available feeders at this time. Cattle placed in June will be marketed from October through February. We expect a Marketing total that is 2.4% below June of last year. Market ready cattle numbers may begin to tighten as we transition to the lower supply period in the coming months. Cattle on Feed total as of July 1 will be the smallest July 1 total in four years. Our placement model suggests slaughters from feedlot cattle may keep below last year levels from now through the remainder of the year. Allendale expects the total number of cattle on feed will be 94.9% of July 1, 2007.
We will have Cattle on Feed reaction later today on our website- so check it out later on Friday or over the weekend- you will find the story on our "Top Agricultural News" section of the page linked below- our front page!
Quick COOL Update
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~The word from the latest weekly email from the National Cattlemen's Beef Association regarding COOL is that the interim final rule should be out shortly.
NCBA says of COOL- "The U.S. Trade Representative cleared the interim final COOL rule on Monday, July 21, 2008. It is expected to be published in the Federal Register on Friday, July 25, 2008."
NCBA adds that they will be looking closely at the fine print on this rule and offering comments as they have a chance for review of what USDA offers. The latest email from Steve Dittmer from Agribusiness Freedom Foundation says that he thinks maybe some of the stronger proponents of mandatory COOL are having a bit of "buyers remorse." We have his latest editorial on that subject linked below.
Harkin Says WTO Action Not Likely Until Next Year
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~On Thursday Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, said even in the event trade negotiators in Geneva come up with an agreement this week, the U.S. Congress would be unlikely to work on it before the new Administration takes office next January. Harkin acknowledged "it would be unfortunate" if the Doha Round of World Trade Organization negotiations fails. He again pressed for a "balanced" agreement that would lower trade barriers and open markets for U.S. exports if the U.S. is to lower farm subsidies. Harkin pointed out that a WTO agreement would give world trading partners "stable and forceful rules we can all rely upon."
Harkin's press call came in the wake of an offer this week by U.S. Trade Representative Susan Schwab to cap U.S. farm subsidies at $15 billion. Harkin, who has worked to switch subsidies to conservation payments, pointed out that offer was an affirmation that future U.S. farm payments should come from non- trade distorting activities.
The Senate Ag Committee Chairman also expressed concern the new U.S. offer could affect the new ACRE program, a safety net option for farmers in the new farm bill. While taking a tough stance on market access, Harkin said a World Trade Organization deal might have a better chance of passage in Congress, because of the multilateral - and multi-sector - market opportunities, than the bilateral free trade agreements with Panama, Colombia, and Korea.
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Looking at our Agricultural Markets...
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~There has been no cash cattle trade as of yet this week- and we do not expect any movement until after today's Cattle on Feed Report- out at 2 PM central time. On Thursday, we were hearing $95 bids by the packers, with cattle owners holding for $98 or better.
Here are some links we will leave in place on an ongoing basis- Click
on the name of the report to go to that link:
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