~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Oklahoma's latest farm and ranch news
Your Update from Ron Hays of RON for Wednesday April 8, 2009A service of Producers Cooperative Oil Mill, KIS Futures and American Farmers & Ranchers Mutual Insurance Company!
-- Folks- Looks Like We Might Have the Real Deal on Severe Freeze Damage This Year
-- Imported Fire Ants Expand Territory Across Southern Oklahoma
-- Judge Rules Animal ID Info NOT Subject to Freedom of Information Requests
-- After 42 Years- Wadell Altom Retires from the Noble Foundation
-- SB542 is Relabeled and Offers Complete New Language- Animal Husbandry Actions May Be Made Law
-- Poultry Organizations File Suit Against EPA
-- Oklahoma Conservation Leaders Cheer Dam Rehab Money Headed to the State
-- Let's Check the Markets!
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Folks- Looks Like We Might Have the Real Deal on Severe Freeze Damage This Year
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~A below average wheat crop has just been turned into a "well below average wheat crop" as a result of the hard freeze Monday night and early Tuesday morning- so says OSU State Wheat Specialist Dr. Jeff Edwards of Oklahoma State University.
Dr. Edwards says it will be a few days until we can really start seeing the damage to the crop from this latest blow from Mother Nature- altho he is fairly confident that we already know what we will see in many parts of the state. based on temperatures that reached below 26 degrees and even 24 degrees for several hours overnight- the wheat crop, which has been ahead of normal development this spring because of drought stress, was already mostly jointed from south to north in Oklahoma and faced these frigid temperatures without the benefit of any snow cover as we had on some of the crop last weekend.
Another problem for the 2009 crop is the fact that with the drought
conditions- we have few secondary tillers on our wheat plants- tillers
that might be able to grow and offset some of the primary tillers getting
damaged by the freezing conditions.
AND- we have three weather maps from Al Sutherland of the Oklahoma Mesonet that show long long we were below freezing as well as below 28 and 24 degrees at locations all across the state- click here to jump to that page of the maps supplied by Al.
Imported Fire Ants Expand Territory Across Southern Oklahoma
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Oklahoma is hosting an Imported Fire Ant Conference this week- and lead off speaker on Tuesday was Anne-Marie Callcott of the US Department of Agriculture. She talked with officials from most of the southern US states about where we stand with federal rules and regs in our ongoing battle against the artificial spread of this aggressive pest.
While the nursery industry captures most of the attention by regulators that are seeking to control the movement of imported fire ants, farmers who raise and sell hay in infected areas could be carrying fire ants from location to another as well. USDA has recently published a brochure on how to identify potential fire ant issues- and then how to deal with them in round hay bales that are stored on the ground.
This takes on new meaning for farmers and ranchers in 12 Oklahoma
counties that have just been added to the national list of quarantined
counties because of Imported Fire Ants.
We have more on this story- including comments from Anne-Marie Callcott of USDA and a link to the brand new brochure that USDA has released on hay and imported fire ants. Click on the link below to jump to that story.
Judge Rules Animal ID Info NOT Subject to Freedom of Information Requests
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Our friend Rod Smith reports from Feedstuffs a story on a judicial ruling that has direct impact on Animal ID premise registration and one of the complaints of groups like Farm Bureau who have fretted about confidentiality of the info submitted by producers. Rod reports on the Feedstuffs website "A federal judge has ruled that the confidentiality of premises and other records collected in the National Animal Identification System (NAIS) will be protected by the U.S. Privacy Act and, therefore, not subject to disclosure under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA)."
"The ruling denies a request by Mary-Louise Zanoni of Russell, N.Y., who sought to enjoin the U.S. Department of Agriculture from tying NAIS records to the Privacy Act after USDA, on that basis, refused her FOIA request last year for information on premises that are registered in NAIS (Feedstuffs, June 23, 2008). Zanoni is opposed to NAIS because it requires family farmers and other livestock owners to provide the system with information about their farms and ranches. She wanted the information because she believed it would show that USDA has actually registered premises without the property owners' knowledge."
"The ruling, in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia in Washington, D.C., is significant because the issue of confidentiality has kept many producers, especially beef cattle producers, from participating in NAIS. The ruling means that information about their animals and businesses will be shielded, sources said, although the decision can be appealed."
After 42 Years- Wadell Altom Retires from the Noble Foundation
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~It was a celebration on Tuesday evening of the career of Wadell Altom, as he ends a 42 year career at the Noble Foundation in Ardmore- the last five of those years as the Director of their Agricultural Division.
Friends, Family and colleagues saluted Wadell for his leadership in working with farmers and ranchers in southern Oklahoma and northern Texas- as well as his involvement in helping support young people in a variety of ways- Noble Foundation's Ag Division under his direction has supported a variety of venues- including the Oklahoma Youth Expo, the Oklahoma FFA, Ag in the Classroom, the Oklahoma Ag Leadership Program and more.
We talked with Wadell during the reception held in his honor last night- and you can listen to that by going to our story and picture from last night in Ardmore- click on the link to take that journey.
SB542 is Relabeled and Offers Complete New Language- Animal Husbandry Actions May Be Made Law
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Senate Bill 542 was the companion bill to House Bill 2151 that would make the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture the regulator in the state when it comes to how animals may be treated and handled. However, in the last few days, SB542 has stepped into a phone booth and changed clothes and is now stepping out today on the House floor as a new measure- there's no official title that I see on the floor substitute but the measure basically will name the animal husbadry practices that can be performed by non veterinarians.
Among the practices that this modification to the Oklahoma Veterinary Practice Act will now allow to be done by someone without a DVM include performing an ultrasound, embryo transfer, trimming or shoeing hooves, or teeth floating or equine dentistry which includes the removal of enamel points from teeth and the leveling of dental arcades in cattle and horses; or any other acts not deemed by the State Board of Agriculture to cause immediate harm.
The State Veterinary Board opposes any changes to the current law- and
have protested this proposal- this remains a fluid situation and it could
be a nasty fight on the floor of the House this afternoon if called up by
Poultry Organizations File Suit Against EPA
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~The National Chicken Council and the U.S. Poultry and Egg Association say they have filed suit in the Fifth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans to challenge certain aspects of EPA's new regulation on water pollution discharges from confined animal feeding operations. The new provision would require permits where there is a "proposal to discharge" pollutants into U.S. waters.
The regulation was changed in response to a 2005 ruling by the Second U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New York that said EPA could not require growers to apply for permits merely because they have a "potential to discharge" pollutants to U.S. waters. The NCC/USPOULTRY lawsuit contends the new requirement does not conform to the Second Circuit's ruling.
In addition, the lawsuit challenges recent guidance documents, issued by EPA, that interpret the CAFO regulation. According to NCC and USPOULTRY, the guidance letters essentially say a grower has a "proposal to discharge" and therefore must apply for a permit, if poultry housing has a ventilation fan that may potentially exhaust dust or other substances on the ground where rain water might wash them into a ditch leading to surface waters. NCC and USPOULTRY argue that Congress did not intend to regulate these normal agricultural practices when it enacted the Clean Water Act.
Oklahoma Conservation Leaders Cheer Dam Rehab Money Headed to the State
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Oklahoma conservation leaders reacted positively to U.S. Sec. of Agriculture Tom Vilsack's announcement on Monday, April 6, about funding coming to the state to rehabilitate flood control dams. Vilsack announced funds from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) going to 11 states for rehabilitation of flood control dams. Of the $45 million going to projects nationwide, just over $14 million, or over 30 percent, is coming to Oklahoma. Seven dams in four counties and three congressional districts are slated for funding.
Cottonwood Creek 15 in Kingfisher County will receive $3,610,000 in federal funds. Sallisaw Creek 18 in Adair County will receive $4,160,000. Upper Clear Boggy Creek 33, 34 and 35 in Pontotoc County will receive $1,010,000, $960,000 and $840,000 respectively. Washita-Sugar Creek L-43 and L-44, both in Caddo County, will receive $1,645,000 and $1,790,000 respectively. The Kingfisher Creek site and both Washita-Sugar Creek sites are in U.S. Rep. Frank Lucas's 3rd Congressional District. The Sallisaw Creek site is in U.S. Rep. Dan Boren's 2nd District. And the Upper Clear Boggy sites are in Rep. Tom Cole's 4th District.
According to Mike Thralls, executive director of the Oklahoma Conservation Commission, the match required from the state of Oklahoma for these funds is in legislation currently at the Capitol. Senate Bill 238 authorizes a bond issue for $25 million that includes funds to make up the state's required 35 percent construction cost match to receive the federal funds. "Authorization of the Conservation Bond would insure we have the resources necessary to capture these federal funds as well as do additional repair to damaged conservation infrastructure caused by the floods of 2007. It would be a shame if Oklahoma had to turn back these federal funds for critical infrastructure repair."
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