~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Oklahoma's latest farm and ranch news
Your Update from Ron Hays of RON for Thursday February 14, 2008!A service of Farm Credit of East Central Oklahoma, American Farmers and Ranchers & Midwest Farm Shows
-- Colin Peterson claims his efforts are all about getting a farm bill budget number- then we will write the final measure from there.
-- Congressman Lucas Pleased with Progress But Unsure If we Will Actually Get a New Farm Bill Done in Time...
-- Poultry Industry Responds to Oklahoma AG's demand that all application of Chicken Litter in Illinois River Watershed be Suspended.
-- An Oklahoman is among eight Conservation Heroes Spotlighted by NRCS!
-- Uncle Sam will Appeal Latest WTO Ruling Against US Cotton.
-- Some "Loves" for FFA This Valentine's Week...
-- Remember- It's Valentine's Day!!!!
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Colin Peterson claims his efforts are all about getting a farm bill budget number- then we will write the final measure from there.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~House Ag Committee Chairman Collin Peterson and Ranking Minority Member Bob Goodlatte have released how a farm bill could be crafted using six billion dollars above the budget baseline. This new proposal would last 10 years and seems to be acceptable to the administration. To help sell the document to the Senate, the two House Ag Committee leaders wrote a letter to the leaders of the Senate Ag Committee. They wrote - it is our belief that if we can begin with a common framework, the work of finalizing the bill can proceed more quickly. Peterson says it is vital that the House, Senate and White House agree to a budget number for the farm bill by the end of this week in order to be able to fill in the blanks and finish a farm bill before March 15.
Cuts in the bill include 6.5 billion from the Commodities Title, including 5.2 billion from eliminating direct payments in the ninth year of the 10- year bill, and 175 million from eliminating increases in marketing loan rates and target prices, including for soybeans. Other cuts include 3 billion less in increased food stamp spending and 2.2 billion less in the Energy Title. Funding for the CCC Bioenergy Program, including support for domestic biodiesel production, is reduced from 1.4 billion to 245 million. The plan also would require producers of all commodities, with the exception of cotton and rice, to lose beneficial interest in their crops in order to receive a Marketing Loan Gain or Loan Deficiency Payment.
We have several updates on this development that we posted yesterday on our website, WWW.OklahomaFarmReport.Com. These updates will continue today as further details rise to the surface. They can be found on our 2007 Farm Bill page and I would suggest that you go back to the link provided below several times during the day and see what else is new on this developing story. This morning, we are posting links to the reaction from various farm groups on the Peterson Plan- the soybean folks seem to be the roughest on Congressman Peterson thus far calling his plan "unilateral surrender."
Congressman Lucas Pleased with Progress But Unsure If we Will Actually Get a New Farm Bill Done in Time...
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~We talked briefly with Third District Congressman Frank Lucas who is the number three Republican on the House Ag Committee- and who is frustrated with the closed door approach of Chairman Colin Peterson in his attempts to hammer out a farm bill deal. Lucas says that after the closed door Ag Committee gathering this week- he is pleased that Colin Peterson is firmly in the camp of "no tax increases" to pay for the 2007 farm bill.
Lucas says that Peterson has had to resort to budget gymnastics in order to come to the point of developing a ten year framework for a farm bill. He cites the elimination of the Direct Payments in year nine of the ten year plan as something that makes sense to no-one but those who follow the letter of the budget rules in Congress. Lucas says the one year dropping of the Direct Payments gives "savings" that can be carried to the early years of this plan.
Lucas, in contrast to Chairman Peterson, remains open to an Extension of the 2002 farm bill, if negotiations fail to bring all parties to agreement. He adds that an open conference committee effort will still likely be needed to build enough consensus to get a measure that can pass both bodies of Congress with a vote that would make the President back down from the constant veto threats. You can hear our conversation with Congressman Lucas by following the link below.
Poultry Industry Responds to Oklahoma AG's demand that all application of Chicken Litter in Illinois River Watershed be Suspended.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~In defense of the use of poultry litter as a natural fertilizer by farmers and ranchers in Oklahoma and Arkansas, poultry companies filed earlier this week a response in federal court to Oklahoma Attorney General Drew Edmondson's November 2007 motion. Edmondson's request was for a preliminary injunction that would completely stop the land application of poultry litter in the entire 1,000,000 acre Illinois River Watershed.
"Poultry litter is one of the best forms of fertilizer available," said Jackie Cunningham, director of community relations for the Poultry Community Council. "Contract poultry producers, not the poultry companies, are the ones who own the litter. They use it as a natural fertilizer and soil amendment for their crops, and also profit from the litter they don't use by selling it as a fertilizer to others." Poultry companies draw attention to the ultimate harm that will be done by granting the injunction - severe economic consequences for the poultry growers, cattle producers and other farmers in Oklahoma and Arkansas who rely on poultry litter as a natural, low- cost and more effective alternative to commercial fertilizer. The Farm Bureau, State of Arkansas and Poultry Partners have already weighed in with the court with their opinion of the negative impact this will have on the entire agricultural economy of two states.
The companies' response points to the preliminary injunction as an "extraordinary remedy" that cannot be supported by evidence of any actual harm or "imminent danger" proven. "These are the same kind of false generalities Mr. Edmondson has been using in legal proceedings against the poultry industry, in which he admits he lacks evidence that poultry farmers have violated the laws or caused pollution," Cunningham said. "In fact, despite the significant number of people who recreate in the river and Tenkiller Lake and the numerous homes using water wells, Oklahoma health officials and experts admit that there is not a single person who has suffered any documented adverse health effect from the use of poultry litter in the Illinois River Watershed."
An Oklahoman is among eight Conservation Heroes Spotlighted by NRCS!
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~The USDA's Natural Resources and Conservation Service has decided to put a personal face on the conservation efforts in the U.S. To do that, they have come up with eight featured customers that have been chosen to represent diversity of geography, culture, conservation practices and crops of our landowner- partners nationwide. Though these customers implement different conservation practices, grow different crops, and live in different locations, they share with us a passion for conservation and caring for the land.
One of the eight is the Austin family of Geary, Oklahoma. Full-time farmer and rancher Frank Austin operates his farm/ranch on a simple philosophy when it comes conservation. He wants to leave the land in better shape than when he found it. Frank Austin and his wife, June, operate Canyon View Farms, located south of Geary, Oklahoma, in Canadian County. Their 1240 acre operation consists of 140 acres of cropland and 1,100 of grassland. Some of the land was acquired by his grandfather when he moved here from Tennessee in the late 1800's. More land was acquired by Austin's parents and he has added more acres to his operation over the years.
You can read more about the conservation efforts of this 70 year old advocate of being a good steward of the land. We have the featured story that the NRCS has put up on their website about frank Austin and his family linked below. It's truly an inspirational read!
Uncle Sam will Appeal Latest WTO Ruling Against US Cotton.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~The U.S. Trade Representative has filed a notice of appeal in the World Trade Organization U.S.-Brazil cotton case. A compliance panel ruled in December that the U.S. has failed to comply with an order to reform its domestic cotton subsidy programs. The National Cotton Council is praising the USTR's office for appealing the decision. Given rising prices, declining U.S. production and expenditures under the cotton loan program falling to zero for 2007 - NCC Chairman Larry McClendon says it's difficult to understand how the WTO can say the U.S. is depressing world cotton prices.
McClendon notes production and exports from Brazil and India have increased as U.S. production has declined. He says he has trouble with countries blaming the U.S. for depressing world market prices while they expand their production and exports.
McClendon says the U.S. cotton industry hopes this appeal will also lead to better clarity in the WTO panel decisions. He says three different panels have stated the U.S. cotton program was causing significant price suppression - but points out not one of the rulings quantified what they thought was significant. Even after three panel decisions - McClendon says there's no workable standard.
Some "Loves" for FFA This Valentine's Week...
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Earlier this Valentine's week, Love's Country Stores provided a little tender loving care to several Oklahoma FFA Chapters. The Love's Travel Stops and Country Stores have donated a $1,000 the following FFA Chapters, Jones High School, Davis High School, El Reno High School, Edmond Schools, and Moore Schools.
In an effort to recognize the work and dedication of the Oklahoma FFA chapter, Love's Travel Stops and Country Stores kicked off a promotional campaign with the International Finals Rodeo to salute them. During the weeks leading up to the International Finals Rodeo, Love's distributed forms to customers for FFA chapter nominations. The nominations were deposited at the International Finals Rodeo booth during the three days of IFR 38, presented this year by Toyota. The five FFA Chapters above got the votes- and got a check for a thousand dollars this week.
"We have over 200 locations in 34 states," said Tom Love, founder, chairman and CEO of Love's, "but our home is Oklahoma. We know how important the agriculture industry is to our state. We're proud of FFA members and proud to support this initiative."
Remember- It's Valentine's Day!!!!
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Take time to pay attention to those sweethearts who are a part of your life. When you have a house full of girls, Valentine's Day is a pretty big deal- and so I always tried to find some fun gift item or idea that would let my daughters know that their dad loved them and thought they were (and are) the best!
Same is true with the love of my life, my wife Jan. it's not always easy to find that next idea to be creative and let her know how much I love her. So, I've been working on that along with doing everything else that you do when you are covering the latest farm bill negotiations, covering local meetings, getting ready to have a booth at the American Farmers and Ranchers Convention- and oh yes, trying to get everything else lined up to leave for China with the Oklahoma Ag Leadership program on Saturday.
Anyway, we're all mighty busy these days- but today is the day for lovers- and make sure you take time and care about the ones that matter most to you!!!
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