~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Oklahoma's latest farm and ranch news
Your Update from Ron Hays of RON for Thursday May 8, 2008!A service of Farm Credit of East Central Oklahoma, KIS Futures & Midwest Farm Shows!
-- Harkin Says "Done!!!" (Details of the Farm Bill Deal to be Unveiled at 12:30 PM Central Time Today.
-- Scouts Guess Oklahoma Wheat Crop at "Normal" Levels for First Time in Four Years
-- Meanwhile, the Kansas Crop Expected to be ABOVE Average in 2008.
-- Heavy Rains Douse a Lot of Oklahoma Tuesday and Especially Wednesday.
-- The Downer Cow Blame Game Part Deux- Humane Society of the US Offers up More Videos.
-- National Land and Range Judging Contest Announces Their Winners at National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum Last Night.
-- FMD- A VERY Scary Proposition to consider if it comes to your Town or County!
-- Checking the Markets...
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Harkin Says "Done!!!" (Details of the Farm Bill Deal to be Unveiled at 12:30 PM Central Time Today.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Congressional negotiators will announce a final farm bill conference agreement today at 12:30 PM Central time. The location will be the Longworth House Office Building. The bipartisan, bicameral group will discuss the details of the final bill, which makes investments in conservation, energy, nutrition and rural development while continuing and strengthening farm income protection.
The House Leadership is still waiting on a final score from the CBO for their proposal. One of the last issues to be decided in the last 24 hours was the issue of income limits in order to qualify for farm program payments. None of the principals would provide details, but at least two sources report that the final package sets a $750,000 hard cap on adjusted gross income (AGI) levels for farmers. Those earning over that amount would no longer be eligible for direct payments. A hard cap of $500,000 would be set for non-farmers. Direct payments would be capped at $40,000 per person, rather than the $50,000 previously proposed and counter-cyclical payments would be capped at $65,000. The three entity rule would be eliminated, but because both spouses are eligible for subsidies, the income limits effectively could double for married couples.
The Big Question this morning- will the President sign or veto the bill? While there is still no definitive answer to that question, Wednesday, President Bush and Agriculture Secretary Ed Schafer met to discuss the farm bill. Ed Schafer said the bill as it stood - from what he knew - would not get the President's signature. And it's reported the President told House Ag Ranking Member Bob Goodlatte on Wednesday that he was "still not there yet" in supporting the legislation. Goodlatte was quoted as saying after the meeting with the President that Bush told him that Republicans need to vote on the measure based on it's value to their districts. It will be very hard to pick up enough Republicans in the House to override a veto if the White House turns down the Democrat plan.
Scouts Guess Oklahoma Wheat Crop at "Normal" Levels for First Time in Four Years
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~The 2008 Oklahoma wheat crop could end up being 149 million bushels, based on scouts that have looked at wheat fields over the last four to five days. The number was the sum total after those reports had come in yesterday during the Oklahoma Grain and Feed Association's spring meeting in Oklahoma City.
Mark Hodges reports 4.7 million acres are predicted to be harvested this season across the state at an average yield per acre of 31.7 bushels- which nets the 149 million bushels of production that the scouts are anticipating. Of course, a year ago- these same scouts had hopeful ideas of a fairly good sized wheat crop as well- but the persistent rains around harvest plus leaf rust resulted in the crop only amounting to 98 million bushels in 2007.
We have Ed Richards talking with Mark Hodges of the Oklahoma Wheat Commission about these numbers, which Hodges admits are larger than he expected as recently as the beginning of this week. Click below to take a listen to that conversation.
Meanwhile, the Kansas Crop Expected to be ABOVE Average in 2008.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~After the second day of the Wheat Quality Council's wheat tour that stretched from Colby, Kansas down through southwest Kansas and northern Oklahoma before ending in Wichita yesterday afternoon, Ben Hancock told reporters that he believes that "there is no doubt that Kansas is looking at an above average crop in 2008."
The Director of Marketing for the Oklahoma Wheat Commission, Mike Schulte, was on the road again during Day two- traveling from Colby down into northwest Oklahoma before ending up in Wichita- and he reported an oddity (at least it seems like an oddity) of having to check fields in the mud!
The average yield per acre after two days of touring remains above 43 bushels per acre- one of the reasons that Hancock was confident of the final numbers that will be summarized this afternoon at the Kansas City Board of Trade. Of course, all of the winter wheat states will be gauged Friday morning at 7:30 AM with the USDA estimates as of May one to be revealed- we will see where they peg Kansas here in 2008 as well as Oklahoma, Texas and other key producing states.
Heavy Rains Douse a Lot of Oklahoma Tuesday and Especially Wednesday.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Take a line from Roger Mills County South to Tillman County- extend that swath of Oklahoma due northeast and you have the band of rainfall amounts that total from one to four inches of rain on Wednesday.
Even northwest Oklahoma- when you add Tuesday and Wednesday together- got decent amounts adding up to about an inch in many Mesonet locations. The heaviest rainfall ended up in northeastern counties, with Craig County reporting 4.45 inches of rain for Wednesday- that was the heaviest amount we saw recorded for the 24 hour period that ended at midnight.
We have the weather map from the Oklahoma Ag Weather section of the Mesonet linked below. Take a look to see how our locale may have faired-
The Downer Cow Blame Game Part Deux- Humane Society of the US Offers up More Videos.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~The Humane Society of the United States is back in the news - this time with another video reportedly shot in four separate states showing downer cattle. The video posted on the internet does not show anyone prodding the downer cattle to get up. But, some appear to be near death or dead. The Humane Society's time stamp on the video is April 22 and 23, 2008. However most of the video does not contain a time stamp. The HSUS reportedly turned over information on their findings to Secretary of Agriculture Ed Schafer during a meeting last week.
Among the locations where the HSUS says they observed and taped these animals were auction markets in Pennsylvania and Maryland, as well as the Clovis Livestock Market in New Mexico and the Auction Market in Hereford, Texas.
HSUS admitted, in their letter to Secretary of Agriculture Ed Schafer, that those filming the reported mishandling observed and did nothing about animals in distress, sometimes for several hours. They did so rather than bringing the matter to the attention of the market operator. The Livestock Marketing Association says - this calls into question their genuine concern for animal welfare. LMA has requested a meeting with HSUS officials.
U.S. Ag Secretary Ed Schafer says the treatment of animals shown in the latest video released by the Humane Society of the United States are not acceptable - but does not present a food safety issue. He notes USDA's authority to regulate the treatment of animals includes the Humane Methods of Slaughter Act and the Animal Welfare Act. But policies for humane handling of animals consist of a combined effort of federal, state and local authorities and private industry.
National Land and Range Judging Contest Announces Their Winners at National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum Last Night.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~The top Land Judging Team in the FFA Division was Pleasant Hope, Missouri FFA Chapter, while the best of the 4-H Land Judges came from south Texas- the Medina County 4-H Club out of Hondo.
Here are the other winners as supplied to us by our friend Mark
Harrision of the Oklahoma Conservation Commission:
Finally in Homesite Evaluation- the Championships were claimed by Oklahoma Union FFA, South Coffeyville, Oklahoma in the FFA division and in 4-H - Hamilton Southeastern 4H, Denver, Indiana. High Individuals in the Homesite Evaluation were FFA - Justin Van Brunt, New Orleans, Indiana and in 4-H- Chelbey Whelchel, Fisher, Indiana.
FMD- A VERY Scary Proposition to consider if it comes to your Town or County!
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~We were one of about a dozen ag trade media that spent all day Wednesday at the USDA APHIS Headquarters in Riverdale, Maryland- as something called the Cross-Species Group joined with the USDA to discuss where plans are nationally if we ever should have a positive on a test for Foot and Mouth Disease somewhere in the United States. Livestock Industry Reps from the beef, pork and Dairy industries were at this workshop and spent the day with us.
This workshop is part of an ongoing effort by communicators from these species groups, who have been meeting to advance and coordinate emergency response plans since the 2001 foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) outbreak in the United Kingdom. Animal health experts from APHIS discussed emergency measures and procedures that will be activated in the event of a serious animal health emergency - such as an outbreak of FMD. We also received a full demonstration of the Emergency Operations Center, and USDA public affairs staff will discuss the role of the media in keeping livestock producers and the general public informed in the event of such an emergency. A big part of the day was a desktop simulation of a case of FMD being discovered in a sow operation somewhere in Iowa- we played "stump the experts" as the Media reps were asked to bring up questions that we might have as the outbreak unfolded and how both the ag trade media would react- as well as how the general media might report the first case of FMD in this country since 1929.
One of those that we met and got to know yesterday was Jon Zack, the Preparedness and Incident Coordinator of the Emergency Management and Diagnostics team at APHIS in USDA. Dr. Zack really understands how serious FMD could be- and we have a better appreciation of how intrusive an outbreak would be if it ever comes to a community somewhere here in the heartland. Take a listen to the link we have provided below of our conversation with Dr. Zack- FMD is- as we mentioned above- a very scary proposition.
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Checking the Markets...
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~They had about 5850 cattle at OKC West in El Reno on Wednesday- with feeder steers steady to two dollars better than last week. Seven weight steers ranged from $105 to $108.75, while eight to nine hundred pounders brought $98 to $106.50.
Meanwhile, no cash cattle trade has happened in the Southern Plains as of yet this week- after we sold cattle at mostly $92 last week.
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