~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Oklahoma's latest farm and ranch news
Your Update from Ron Hays of RON for Monday February 4, 2008!A service of Farm Credit of East Central Oklahoma, KIS Futures & American Farmers and Ranchers.
-- Speaker Selection and State of the State Happening Today!
-- Wiggle Room Available for Farmers and Ranchers Running Late on Filling Out the Census...
-- Governor Henry Slims Down the Burn Ban.
-- The Gang of Forty(more or less) Call for FTA vote on the Columbia agreement.
-- Three Percent Jump in the Number of Cattle in Oklahoma January First.
-- Texas is Bangs Free- the final piece of the puzzle nationally in the quest to become Brucellosis Free!
-- The Man who told farmers to "plant fence row to fence row" has died at 98.
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 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 website or call them at 1-800-256-2555.
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Speaker Selection and State of the State Happening Today!
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~It's the official kickoff for the 2008 Legislative session- the second half of the 50th Legislative session. There are lots of questions to be answered, starting with who the Republicans will choose as their Speaker of the House for 2008, with Lance Cargill stepping down a week ago and then with Gus Blackwell also backing away from the race for the Speaker chair- in both cases tripped up by not paying taxes on time. It appears that the race is wide open as there are four candidates who say they want the job- Dale DeWitt of Braman, Chris Benge of Tulsa, Susan Winchester of Chickasha and John Wright of Broken Arrow.
After the Speaker selection, attention will turn to the Governor's State of the State address- and then the real work will start to crank up. We talked with Roy Lee Lindsey, Executive Director of the Oklahoma Pork Council, about the legislative session and what priorities that his group will pursue in the days ahead.
You can click below to listen to Roy Lee's comments- he does see a much more contentious State Senate here in 2008 versus the 2007 version, as that body remains locked up with that most unique 24 to 24 power sharing agreement between Democrats and Republicans.
Wiggle Room Available for Farmers and Ranchers Running Late on Filling Out the Census...
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Today is the "deadline" for the 2007 Census of Agriculuture- the day that farmers and ranchers have been told is the date certain they needed to get their information in to USDA or else. Well, there won't be any government agents in sunglasses and black hats pulling into your driveway on Tuesday morning if you have not yet got the information in.
We talked with state statistician Will Hundl about the deadline and he says they know they will have farmers and ranchers who are not going to make the deadline. He's talked to some of them and they simply have had more pressing things to accomplish in their farm offices up to this point- and he says they are willing to work with producers in order to get everybody's accurate response of the data needed to compile the Census report by about this time next year.
We have a link below with our conversation with Will- and he says that if you are hung up on getting the census questionaire back in by the end of business today- give them a call and they will work with you to give you some leniency. The toll free number for the Oklahoma NASS office is 1-888-525-9226.
Governor Henry Slims Down the Burn Ban.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Citing recent precipitation and the advice of fire experts, Governor Brad Henry today modified the state's burn ban, lifting burn prohibitions for all but 25 counties in the panhandle and southwestern Oklahoma. The governor also issued an additional safety warning, telling Oklahomans not to burn if winds are in excess of 15 miles per hour. "I am urging all Oklahomans to exercise caution and good common sense when it comes to outdoor burning, particularly when winds are gusty," said Governor Henry.
"The snow and rain have reduced the fire threat in many areas, and we want to be sensitive to those counties and individuals who are still trying to dispose of brush and tree limbs left by the December ice storm. However, if conditions worsen and the fire danger increases in the weeks to come, I will not hesitate to expand the burn ban to protect lives and property." The governor's office announced the decision this afternoon after reviewing precipitation totals and other fire data compiled by forestry officials in the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture. The agency recommended the ban be modified, citing the significant snow and rainfall earlier this week.
The burn ban is lifted for all but the following 25 counties in the panhandle and southwestern Oklahoma: Atoka, Beaver, Beckham, Bryan, Caddo, Carter, Cimarron, Comanche, Cotton, Garvin, Grady, Greer, Harmon, Jackson, Jefferson, Johnston, Kiowa, Love, Marshall, McClain, Murray, Stephens, Texas, Tillman and Washita.
The Gang of Forty(more or less) Call for FTA vote on the Columbia agreement.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Most of the major agricultural commodity groups and general farm organizations signed off on a letter this week calling on Congress to get busy and ratify the Columbia Free Trade Agreement. They also expressed thanks to the lawmakers for passing the Peruvian trade pact the latter part of 2007.
The letter said, in part: "The Colombia and Peru trade agreements are nearly identical and have been skillfully negotiated on behalf of U.S. agriculture. Many U.S. food and agricultural products will become eligible for duty-free treatment immediately upon entry into force of the agreement, and the remainder will receive duty-free treatment upon full implementation... "The TPA will correct an inequity that exists between U.S. exporters of agricultural and industrial products and Colombian exporters. While 90 percent of Colombian products currently shipped to the United States are free from tariffs, most U.S. exports face significant tariffs or other restrictions in Colombia."The letter said, in part: "The Colombia and Peru trade agreements are nearly identical and have been skillfully negotiated on behalf of U.S. agriculture. Many U.S. food and agricultural products will become eligible for duty-free treatment immediately upon entry into force of the agreement, and the remainder will receive duty-free treatment upon full implementation.
"The TPA will correct an inequity that exists between U.S. exporters of agricultural and industrial products and Colombian exporters. While 90 percent of Colombian products currently shipped to the United States are free from tariffs, most U.S. exports face significant tariffs or other restrictions in Colombia."
Three Percent Jump in the Number of Cattle in Oklahoma January First.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~While Oklahoma cattle numbers jumped over the last year, the national figures trended lower. That's the word from OSU Livestock Market Economist Dr. Derrell Peel. Peel says "as anticipated, the latest Cattle inventory showed that the total number of cattle and calves in the U.S. decreased in 2007. This after only three years of expansion from the 2004 cyclical low in cattle inventories. The January 1 total inventory is 96.7 million head, down fractionally from last year. The 2007 calf crop is 37.4 million head, also down slightly from one year ago. The estimated beef cow herd is 32.6 million cows, down one percent and the estimated number of beef replacement heifers is 5.7 million head, down 3.5 percent from 2007. The dairy cow herd is up one percent and the number of dairy replacement heifers is up 3.4 percent from last year.
"The report confirms that feeder supplies will be tight in 2008, especially in the first half of the year. Estimated feeder supplies outside of feedlots is down fractionally from one year ago. The reported number of feeder cattle grazing small grains pasture in Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas is 1.75 million head, only 67 percent of the 2.6 million head reported in 2007.
"The state of Oklahoma showed some recovery in 2007 from the 2005/2006
drought. The January 1, 2008 total cattle inventory is 5.4 million head,
up nearly 3 percent from 2007. The number of beef cows is up 2.7 percent
at 2.053 million head and the number of beef replacement heifers, at
410,000 head, is up 1.2 percent from last year. The Oklahoma 2007 calf
crop was 1.95 million head, down one percent from 2006.
Texas is Bangs Free- the final piece of the puzzle nationally in the quest to become Brucellosis Free!
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Texas beef and dairy cattle producers, cattle feeders and markets operators achieved a long-sought victory Friday, Feb. 1, when the U.S. Department of Agriculture announced that Texas has achieved cattle brucellosis-free status. With this declaration, for the first time in the 74-year history of the brucellosis program, all 50 states, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands have simultaneously achieved Class Free status. Texas is the last and final state to be declared brucellosis free.
"Texas was the last state to achieve the 'free' status. We have more
herds and more cattle than any other state- almost 14 million at last
count. We also had more brucellosis infection to fight. In 1959, when
Texas officially joined the national eradication program, we had more than
20,000 of the country's 100,000 infected herds," said Dr. Bob Hillman,
Texas' state veterinarian and head of the Texas Animal Health Commission
(TAHC), the state's livestock and poultry health regulatory
"This tremendous achievement could not have been accomplished without the combined efforts of state and federal agencies and industry," said Bruce Knight, under secretary for USDA's marketing and regulatory programs mission area. "But our work is not done. We must now focus our efforts on eradicating brucellosis from the free-ranging elk and bison populations in the Greater Yellowstone Area in order to protect our national cattle herd against future outbreaks of this disease."
The Man who told farmers to "plant fence row to fence row" has died at 98.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~That man is Dr. Earl Butz, the Secretary of Agriculture during a good bit of the Richard Nixon Presidency. He served as the USDA Secretary when the Russians pulled off the "great grain robbery" of the mid 1970s. He extolled free markets and the opportunity to plant for the market- and that US farmers would find high prices for their products. Well, we saw high wheat prices after the Russians had bought millions of bushels of wheat from US farmers in that 1974-1975 time frame- and it has taken until 2007-2008 for prices to surpass those days with the demand of corn spilling over into the wheat and oilseed markets.
I remember my first encounter with this most impressive Secretary. I was a Senior at the University of Kentucky in Lexington and drove to Memphis for the National Agri Marketing Association annual meeting in the spring of 1974- I was working for a small radio station in central Kentucky and covered a news conference of a top government official for the first time in my life- setting there with my cassette recorder and listening to Earl Butz handle the questions of the news professionals at that meeting. I don't know what was said that day- but I will remember that event forever.
On the national stage, he was Assistant Secretary of Agriculture under
President Eisenhower from 1954 to 1957, and Secretary of Agriculture from
1971 to 1976, serving both Presidents Nixon and Ford. Politically
incorrect in some of his mannerisms before the term even became cliché, he
eventually left office and suffered through some tough personal times. In
later years, though, his opinions once again became respected, and he goes
down as one of the most beloved secretaries of agriculture by farmers
across the country.
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