~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Oklahoma's latest farm and ranch news
Your Update from Ron Hays of RON for Friday February 29, 2008!A service of National Livestock Credit, KIS Futures & Midwest Farm Shows
-- Ocean Hopping Travel Lands Us in Nashville for Commodity Classic.
-- At Commodity Classic- Farm Bill Wish Lists Still Abound...
-- Radio Oklahoma Network is Very Proud to Spotlight a New Campaign Offered by McDonalds!
-- Humane Society Stays on Offensive and Sues USDA Over Downer Cattle.
-- USDA Announces Implementation of Instrument Beef Grading
-- Express Ranches in Yukon Set to Sell 600 Bulls Next Week.
-- Next Week- NFU, OCA District Meetings, Peanut Expo and Soybean Expo All on the Agenda...
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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Ocean Hopping Travel Lands Us in Nashville for Commodity Classic.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~We have now traveled the Seoul to Nashville (Via LAX) route- and are writing this morning in Music City as we prepare to cover the Commodity Classic activities later this morning. The final legs of this trip to China and Korea went smoothly as I said goodbye to the rest of the group in Los Angeles and hiked with my baggage cart over to the totally insane Southwest Airlines terminal location in this huge southern California airport.
I have posted a couple of more items since I have arrived here in Nashville on our OALP Page to China. One might interest our beef industry folks as I have now put a link up to the presentation by the US Meat Export Federation given to the group in Seoul. USMEF did not get into the politics of the situation with Korea- but they did show the importance of the market- and their expectation that we could see a fairly rapid rebound if we get a full "OIE based" opening later here in 2008. The young assistant that presented to us did a nice job- but she was down the line a bit in the folks who probably would have normally talked to the number three state in US beef production about this issue- the higher ups in the Seoul office were out of the country at some international conference and were unavailable. Elly Sung did tell me in an interview after her presentation that the "we Care" campaign that USMEF used in Japan worked well there- but that Korea was a different market and that they would not try to duplicate that program in Korea when the market finally does fully reopen. They would work closely with suppliers and major distributors of beef- but there seems to be a feeling that the quality and price of US beef will pretty well sell itself when it returns to the store shelves.
I have also posted an interview with another of the OALP Class 13 members, Hope Pjesky. I think Hope was using this trip as a trial run for her seven week excursion to Japan and southeast Asia in April and May when she goes as the first Eisenhower Fellow ever from the state of Oklahoma- and first to travel to Asia. We talk about OALP as well as that trip with Hope on our OALP to China page, which we have linked below.
At Commodity Classic- Farm Bill Wish Lists Still Abound...
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Both the American Soybean Association and the National Corn Growers Association called for the completion of a new farm bill by Congress at the opening of the 2008 Commodity Classic held in Nashville. But both groups acknowledge they may not get everything they asked for when the farm bill debate first began.
NCGA has long supported an optional revenue protection plan, but it's unclear if such a program is in the plan currently under review. The $10 billion above baseline is just a funding number; no one knows what that $10 billion will fund. NCGA President Ron Litterer said NCGA is willing to give up as much as 20% in direct payments to pay for a crop revenue option. The Congressional Budget Office 're-scored' the budget after the energy bill was passed and forecast higher crop prices. The rescore painted a brighter picture for farm income, implying that less money would be needed for a federal safety net. NCGA claims that since crop inputs and crop values are higher than ever, revenue risk is too volatile to not have a safety net that includes revenue assurance.
Meanwhile American Soybean Association President John Hoffman says ASA
is urging farm bill conferees to increase soybean target prices to $6.30
per bushel in the final farm bill. "This level would not provide soybean
producers with an income safety net equitable with other program crops,
but would be a substantial improvement over the current level of $5.80 per
bushel," he says. Neither the House nor the Senate has increased target
prices in earlier approved bills, so the chances of that happening in
conference committee are slim.
Radio Oklahoma Network is Very Proud to Spotlight a New Campaign Offered by McDonalds!
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~It's Leap Year Day- February 29th- and McDonalds all across the U.S. are offering a FREE McSkillet Burrito today with purchase of a medium or large beverage, while supplies last at participating restaurants. McDonald's projects that one million McSkillet Burritos will be given away each day of the two-day national sampling event- the first day of the campaign was yesterday.
Nearly 200 participating stores in Oklahoma will continue the McSkillet Burrito giveaway through the weekend on March 1 and 2. The made-to-order McSkillet Burrito combines wholesome, quality ingredients including scrambled eggs, sausage and skillet potatoes with a medley of cheeses, roasted red and green bell peppers, onions and salsa roja, all wrapped up in a flour tortilla for a portable breakfast on-the-go. McDonald's supports Oklahoma Agriculture by purchasing more than 14 million pounds of sausage annually for the McSkillet Burrito and breakfast sandwiches from Lopez Foods in Oklahoma City. Other products used in the new burrito are from many of the same trusted brands consumers buy for their families at home.
RON is very excited about the marketing partnership here in 2008 with
McDonalds that we have established- as they are using thirty second radio
announcements on our statewide Ag Radio Network to tell Oklahomans that
the restaurants found under the Golden Arches are a MAJOR customer of US
farmers and ranchers- and of Oklahoma farmers and ranchers. The opening
flight that is running this month is saluting Pork producers nationally
and here in Oklahoma. We are proud to help tell this "win win" story of
high quality farmer produced goods that McDonalds uses day after
Humane Society Stays on Offensive and Sues USDA Over Downer Cattle.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~The Humane Society of the United States has filed suit against USDA - sighting a dangerous loophole in the agency's regulation that contributed to the recall of more than 143 million pounds of beef. Wayne Pacelle says the agency's regulations actually contradict the assertion that - sick and crippled cattle are not allowed to enter the food supply. Pacelle says - unless we want yet another dramatic food scare we should not hesitate to close this legal loophole and establish an unambiguous no-downer policy that will also help protect crippled animals from egregious abuse. Pacelle wants Congress to pass legislation to strengthen the nation's farm animal welfare laws.
According to the Humane Society, in 2004 USDA issued an emergency rule to prevent downed cattle from being slaughtered for human consumption. However, in 2007, according to the society, the agency quietly reversed course and relaxed its rules to permit some crippled cows to be slaughtered for human consumption. The suit alleges that the loophole was promulgated without adequate public notice and comment under the federal Administrative Procedure Act. They call it - irrational and inconsistent with USDA's obligations to ensure humane handling and food safety under the Humane Methods of Slaughter Act and the Federal Meat Inspection Act.
American Meat Institute President J. Patrick Boyle, in a statement released late yesterday afternoon, characterized the lawsuit as an attempt to "prohibit veterinarians in federally inspected meat plants from exercising medical judgment" that is "appropriate discretion to give these veterinarians." "The consequences of disregarding federal rules and industry best practices are enormous, as we've clearly witnessed. (Furthermore,) HSUS would have the American public believe that...an animal with a broken ankle is at some dramatically increased risk of BSE," Boyle said in the statement. "Such a simplistic assertion is absurd."
USDA Announces Implementation of Instrument Beef Grading
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~USDA's Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) announced that as of yesterday, that it is now officially grading beef carcasses with the assistance of specially designed electronic instruments that predict quality and yield grade attributes. AMS officials have been working with technology providers, academia, beef packers and representatives of the U.S. cattle and beef industry over the past several years to refine instrument grading technology to ensure accuracy, repeatability, system integrity and capability of operating under plant conditions.
"This is a tool that is going to allow more accurate measurement of the beef carcass, which ultimately is what determines value," says Bucky Gwartney, NCBA's executive director of product enhancement research. "This technology will still have USDA oversight - which is important - but it will produce a more consistent value signal back to the producer. At the end of the day, that will allow the producer to make more timely improvements to their cattle and offer a more consistent quality product for consumers."
Use of the instrument technology for grading beef will be voluntary. The start-up of instrument grading technology in an actual production situation began on February 18, at four large beef harvest facilities in Nebraska and Kansas. It is anticipated that other facilities will begin using instrument grading technology in the near future.
Express Ranches in Yukon Set to Sell 600 Bulls Next Week.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Express Ranches has set March 6 and 7 for their annual spring bull as commercial heifer sale at the ranch just north of Yukon, Oklahoma. In addition to the 600 bulls that are scheduled to be sold- there will be some 300 Commercial and Registered Females offered as well.
The Sale schedule will start on Thursday March 6 at 12:30 PM with 102 Limousin Bulls to be offered- followed by those 300 females at 3:00 PM. The next day, March 7, will see the sale begin at 10 AM with 498 Angus bulls expected to be offered.
We have a link below to their website where you can look at the catalog- or you can call for more information at -1800-664-3977. Express is offering free delivery on bulls purchased, with volume discounts starting with a five percent discount on 5 to 9 bulls and ten percent discounted when you buy ten or more bulls. And, if you pick the bull up on sale day- you can earn another $50 off per bull.
Next Week- NFU, OCA District Meetings, Peanut Expo and Soybean Expo All on the Agenda...
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Members of the American Farmers and Ranchers from Oklahoma will be traveling to Las Vegas this weekend to take part in the 2008 National Farmers Union Convention, which really kicks off Sunday evening with a banquet that will feature the Chairman of the House Ag Committee, Colin Peterson of Minnesota. We have made plans to get home to OKC, swap clothes out of the suitcase and travel on to Vegas for that annual gathering of this general farm organization.
Also on tap for this coming week are several other important in state meetings. The last pair of District Meetings for the Oklahoma Cattlemen's Association happen Monday and Tuesday in Sulphur and Hugo; The first ever Oklahoma Peanut Expo is set for March 7 at Quartz Mountain Lodge near Altus and the annual Oklahoma Soybean Expo happens on Thursday, March 6 in Claremore.
We have numbers and links to all of these events planned for next week on our calendar page- and we invite you to check that page out by going to the link below- between the cattle sales and all the meetings, there's a lot of opportunities to check out for the coming week!
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