~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Oklahoma's latest farm and ranch news
Your Update from Ron Hays of RON for Wednesday July 22, 2009A service of Producers Cooperative Oil Mill, Midwest Farm Shows and KIS Futures!
-- Three Groups For the Price of One- Oklahoma Cattle Industry Meets This Weekend
-- Climate Change Hearing by Senate Ag Committee Has Been Split Into Two Parts for Today
-- Speaking of the Senate Ag Committee- It Now Includes a Texas Senator Among Its Ranks
-- Oklahoma Governor Brad Henry Asks for Federal Help on Behalf of Oklahoma's farmers and ranchers
-- Great News- Consumers Award High Grades for the Safety of Beef
-- Congressional Oversight Panel Report- "Recent trends and projections in farm lending are troubling."
-- SmartStax is Being Touted As the Next Huge Leap in Corn Production Technology
-- Let's Check the Markets!
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Three Groups For the Price of One- Oklahoma Cattle Industry Meets This Weekend
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~The 57th Annual Convention and Trade Show of the Oklahoma Cattlemen's Association will kick off tomorrow at the Reed Center in Oklahoma City- but it's more than just the OCA that will be getting together. You also have the Oklahoma Cattlewomen meeting at the Reed Center, as well as the Oklahoma Junior Cattlemen's Association that have sessions planned as well.
Scott Dewald of the OCA tells us that the Trade Show will be another dandy this year, with booths both upstairs and downstairs at the Reed Center- and some excellent sessions have been planned for those that attend. Saturday Morning, Jim Robb of the Livestock Market Information Center out of Denver will be at the convention- he will be offering the traditional Saturday morning market outlook- and will spend time looking at how the economy is impacting the prices that cattle producers receive.
While Oklahoma Third District Congressman Frank Lucas is not on the agenda for Saturday- if House Speaker Pelosi lets the House out early enough on Friday- Congressman Lucas may be able to stop by and offer some greetings from Washington, and a few insights on the current push in the House regarding Health Care and more.
We have the full agenda of this year's event on our website in the Calendar section- click on the link below and take a look- we hope to see many of you there at this year's event.
Climate Change Hearing by Senate Ag Committee Has Been Split Into Two Parts for Today
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~The Presidents of the American Farm Bureau Federation and National Farmers Union will join Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack and the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency Lisa Jackson as panelists before a Senate Ag Committee hearing today (Wednesday) in Washington. The hearing will focus on the Role of Agriculture and Forestry in Global Warming legislation. Iowa Senator Tom Harkin will gavel to order the first of two sessions at nine o'clock Central. Part two begins at 1:30 Central.
According to Senator Harkin, as the Senate begins to take up the issues of energy and global warming, this hearing will further explore the interests and concerns of farmers, ranchers, forest land owners and rural communities. Harkin has continually emphasized that the views and concerns of agriculture and forestry must be heard and addressed as the Senate shapes climate change legislation.
Republican Senators, including the Ranking Minority Member, Saxby Chambliss of Georgia, have told both USDA Seccretary Vilsack as well as EPA Administrator Jackson that they better have specific numbers that will reflect the cost to farmers of the proposed program. That showdown will unfold in the second half of the day's two part hearing.
Speaking of the Senate Ag Committee- It Now Includes a Texas Senator Among Its Ranks
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~On Tuesday, U.S. Senator Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.), Ranking Republican Member on the Senate Agriculture Committee, issued the following statement welcoming U.S. Senator John Cornyn (R-Texas) as the newest member of the Committee:
"I have worked closely with Sen. Cornyn over the years, including during the farm bill debate last year, to craft farm policy that benefits all Americans, including Texas farm and ranch families. Sen. Cornyn understands the issues producers in his state face and I greatly respect his knowledge of commodities key to the Texas agriculture economy. We have a tremendous amount of work to do this Congress and I am pleased to have Sen. Cornyn on the committee as we work to reauthorize child nutrition programs, improve food safety standards, oversee the farm bill implementation process, address climate change and reform our financial markets."
Oklahoma Governor Brad Henry Asks for Federal Help on Behalf of Oklahoma's farmers and ranchers
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Citing extreme weather conditions in Oklahoma over the past 10 months, Governor Brad Henry has asked the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture to issue a federal disaster designation to assist Oklahoma farmers and ranchers.
In a letter that has been sent to the Obama Administration, the governor said ongoing drought conditions combined with floods, hail, fire, high winds and freezing temperatures to inflict serious damage and losses to Oklahoma's agriculture and ranching industries. The letter noted that the state's wheat harvest was expected to be far below normal, and that livestock loss caused by a forage deficit in hay and grazing caused significant damages as well. "Our farmers and ranchers endured about every form of bad weather imaginable last year, and their crops and livestock suffered accordingly," said Gov. Henry. "A federal declaration won't address all of their losses, but it would be a step in the right direction."
In his letter, the governor asked that the feds authorize the Farm Service Agency to complete damage assessment reports on all Oklahoma counties. The period of extreme weather was from September 1, 2008, to June 30, 2009. If the disaster declaration is approved, Oklahoma farmers and ranchers will be eligible for low-interest loans to address losses caused by the extreme weather conditions.
Great News- Consumers Award High Grades for the Safety of Beef
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Food Safety continues to be a prime consideration that consumers think about when they buy meat for their families. Tom Ramey of the Cattlemen's Beef Board tells us on the Beef Buzz that beef is getting great grades from consumers on whether they consider beef a safe product or not.
In fact, Ramey says that for both steaks and other whole muscle cuts of beef, as well as ground beef get high marks from consumers for safety. Ground beef has even surpassed poultry in safety grades by consumers.
Click on the link below and check out this portion of our conversation from last week with Tom Ramey, the CEO of the Cattlemen's Beef Board.
Congressional Oversight Panel Report- "Recent trends and projections in farm lending are troubling."
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~The Congressional Oversight Panel today released its "Special Report on Farm Loan Restructuring" fulfilling a mandate under the Helping Families Save Their Homes Act of 2009 to analyze "the state of the commercial farm credit markets and the use of loan restructuring as an alternative to foreclosure by recipients of financial assistance under the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP)."
The Panel's report first examines the state of the agricultural sector and notes that, in general, it has fared somewhat better than the broader economy. The balance sheets of farmers and agricultural lenders have remained relatively strong, though some parts of the agricultural economy, most notably dairy are in crisis. Rural areas were generally less exposed to the housing bubble, providing some protection for rural community banks from the shock of the financial crisis, until more recently.
Recent trends and projections in farm lending are troubling. The U.S.
Department of Agriculture (USDA) expects net farm income to decline by 20
percent in 2009, which may reduce some farmers' ability to repay loans
later in the year, although the impact may be mitigated by an increasing
reliance on off-farm income. Demand for direct operating loans from the
agricultural lender of last resort, the Farm Service Agency (FSA),
increased 81 percent over the last year, and demand for direct ownership
loans increased 132 percent.
SmartStax is Being Touted As the Next Huge Leap in Corn Production Technology
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Monsanto and Dow AgroSciences have received registration from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and regulatory authorization from the Canadian Food Inspection Agency - paving the way to launch their SmartStax technology next year on three to four-million-plus acres. The EPA also announced a reduced refuge requirement for SmartStax to five- percent in the Corn Belt and 20-percent in the Cotton Belt.
The Companies say SmartStax is the agriculture industry's most advanced, all-in-one corn trait platform. It combines each company's corn traits to provide farmers a broad spectrum of above- and below-ground protection against insects and weeds. The technology uses multiple modes of action for insect control and provides state-of-the-art proven means to reduce structured refuge and maintain long- term durability of corn trait technologies.
Phillip Miller, Vice President of Product Management at Monsanto, says SmartStax corn yields should show a five to ten percent improvement for farmers. Next year's launch will cover three to four million acres, and Miller explains why Monsanto and Dow project a total acreage opportunity of 65 million. "Above ground insect protection is something that spans the entire corn geography, and most geographies do experience rootworm pressure. But as we approach this in the market we will offer the SmartStax broadly in all geographies, and then we will plan on pricing these products to the value they bring in that specific geography."
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