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Oklahoma's Latest Farm and Ranch News
Your Update from Ron Hays of RON
Thursday, March 17, 2016
Wear Green!!!- It's Saint Paddy's Day!
Cloture Vote Fails
on Biotech Labeling Bill- Negotiations Continue to Preempt Vermont
Law on Mandatory Labeling
voluntary GMO labeling bill failed to receive enough votes Wednesday
to clear a procedural hurdle. The Senate voted 48 to 49 against the
voluntary labeling proposal by Senate Agriculture Chair Pat Roberts.
The Kansas Republican was unable to reach a compromise with his
committee's top Democrat, Debbie
Stabenow, who led the opposition. The bill needed 60
votes to move forward.
Before the vote, Stabenow said negotiations would continue, and that
she hoped a deal could be wrapped by the end of this week. Senate
Majority Leader Mitch McConnell voted against the cloture motion,
which will allow him to bring up the legislation later should an
agreement be reached. Presidential candidates, Senators Ted
Cruz and Bernie Sanders, along with now former candidate Marco
Rubio, were not present for the vote.
Conner, the president of the National Council of Farmer
Cooperatives,told Agri-Pulse he's optimistic the senators can
reach a compromise.
The bill's supporters were a dozen votes short
yesterday of getting the 60 votes necessary to advance the
legislation on the Senate floor. But Conner, a former deputy
agriculture secretary and a former chief of staff for the Senate
Agriculture Committee, says there are many more Democrats who want to
support the bill than was apparent in yesterday's vote. Just three
Democrats supported the cloture motion. Conner says other Democrats
saw no need to vote for the motion when the negotiations on the bill
were still ongoing.
may recall we talked a few days ago about something that Ag Secretary
has called "mandatory disclosure" and some variation of
that is a possible solution- a combination of a phone hotline that
consumers could call to learn more about the ingredients are as well
as a quick code that could push consumers to a website where
ingredient details could be seen. Republicans want this to start as
voluntary- and if not enough of the industry has done it within two
or three years- then it becomes mandatory- Democrats want anything
done as mandatory as of yesterday.
The unknowns- what
will satisfy Debbie Stabenow, top Democrat on the
Senate Committee- if she's happy- she probably brings the votes to
pass it- How
many dollars the Organic community have stuffed into
her pocket to make her ignore science and major on the Consumers
Right to Know and How
Soon a Deal Might be Cut- now it is likely to happen
after the Easter Recess- pushing it closer all the time to the July
first implementation of the Vermont law demanding every food label
detail whether GMOs are in that can or package.
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Farm Bureau Angry at
Senators Voting Against Roberts Bill- Pro Label Forces Rejoice Over
DARK Act Defeat
new President of the American Farm Bureau, appears to be disgusted
with the Democrats that have refused to vote for the deal offered by
Senator Pat Roberts on Biotech Labeling- Here's his full statement
released yesterday morning:
"It is inexcusable that today's Senate vote on a voluntary
federal GMO labeling bill that preempts a damaging patchwork of state
measures fell short. While we appreciate Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell
scheduling this floor vote today, we will continue our fight for this
vital piece of legislation, along with Senate Ag Committee Chairman Pat Roberts
and others, to secure a law that supports consumers, America's
farmers and ranchers and our nation's system of affordable,
"To say we are angry with those senators who abandoned farmers and
ranchers and turned their backs on rural America on
this vote is an understatement. Their votes opposing this measure
ignored science, threw our nation's food system into disarray and
undermined the public's understanding of the many benefits of
biotechnology in feeding a growing and hungry population. We remain
hopeful they will have a chance at redemption by correcting this
situation that will otherwise lead to increased food costs for
consumers and stifle agricultural innovation, which remains a
strength of our nation. We must not let anyone forget that rural
America and our farmers and ranchers do matter."
Chairman of the House Ag Committee, Mike Conaway of Texas, was also
very unhappy- he did not call out Debbie Stabenow by name- but
rather by title- as one that was to blame for the breakdown of the
Conaway says that, in effect, Senator Pat Roberts and those
supporting him are doing the right thing while they are being impeded
by an "uncompromising and inflexible group of minority
He adds "These Senators have refused to move from their position
calling for a mandatory warning label for products of biotechnology.
They have chosen to side with activists who have publicly
acknowledged their objective is to stigmatize a safe and valuable
tool for America's farmers and ranchers."
And he points the finger of blame at Senator Stabenow and says she
needs to help fix this- "I call on the Senate Agriculture
Committee's Ranking Member to fulfill her responsibility by standing
up for America's farmers and ranchers."
Conaway's Full Statement is available
everyone is unhappy with the outcome- there are lots
of folks who call the Roberts proposal the DARK act-
standing for "Denying Americans the Right to Know"
Tom Colicchio is part of the anti- GMO faction that
have vowed to work to get food products labeled as GMO or not- then
organize consumers to boycott any product with GMOs in them.
In a statement from the group called Food Policy Action, the Chef stated
"Today's vote marked an important milestone for the more than
90% of Americans who want GMOs to be labeled. I am hopeful that the
Senate will now work to craft a bipartisan mandatory on-pack GMO
labeling bill that doesn't demonize science and gives consumers the
information they demand."
Dean Tom Coon Says OSU is
Working to Attract the Brightest and the Best Young People at OYE to
Wednesday was OSU Day at OYE- and the Dean of the Division of
Agriculture and Natural Resources at Oklahoma State University, Dr. Tom Coon,
was right in the middle of the action as students from all across
Oklahoma stopped by and got information about some of the key
Departments in the College of Ag- including Animal Science, Ag
Communications and Leadership, Ag Economics and more.
As the day was winding down, Dean Coon spent a few minutes with us
talking about the day's events and about the why and how Oklahoma
State supports the Oklahoma Youth Expo.
You can read more from our conversation with Dean Coon and hear that
conversation as well- just
click or tap here.
The OYE in Pictures- and
Still to Come: the Grand Drive Today and Sale of Champs Tomorrow
Over the last three years- we have been fortunate to have had a Ag
Communications student from OSU help us a couple of days at the
Oklahoma Youth Expo- usually helping us by taking pictures for our
That has been the case here in 2016 once again- this year, Macy Griswold
is doing a great job in helping us chronicle the OYE2016 with her
photographic talents- and here's a good example of her work in the
hog barn on Tuesday:
Macy captured the concentration of Barrow Judge Andy Rash
checking out this Spot barrow- and you can see all of her work- plus
my photos as well in our
Flickr Album that is available here.
All of our coverage on radio, the web, this email and even Flickr is
being made possible by ITC,
Your Energy Superhighway- click here
to learn more about their efforts to serve the Great Plains.
Ahead- all four species are showing today in the market animal
division- and the Scholarship Presentations and Grand Champion Drives
are coming late this afternoon in the State Fair Arena. Click
here for the schedule.
And, don't forget the Sale
of Champions will be happening tomorrow afternoon- it
starts at 4:00 PM.
We are pleased to
Farmers & Ranchers Mutual Insurance Company as
a regular sponsor of our daily update. On both the state and national
levels, full-time staff members serve as a "watchdog" for
family agriculture producers, mutual insurance company members and
life company members.
Click here to go
to their AFR website to learn more about their efforts
to serve rural America!
the Continuing Strategy to Engage the Consumer in Conversations About
The Masters in Beef Advocacy Program sprang from a need that beef industry
leaders saw- the need to help cattle producers have the tools to be
able to talk with consumers about today's Beef Industry. The
checkoff-funded MBA program is a self-directed online training
program designed to equip beef producers and industry allies with the
information they need to be everyday advocates for the beef industry.
The manager of the MBA program since its inception has been Daren Williams,
and we talked with Williams about where the MBA program is here in
2016 and where he sees it going.
Williams told us "We launched MBA in 2009, and we had a lofty
goal of 50 graduates for that first year- we ended up with over a
thousand- we've had about a thousand graduates each year ever since
and we are actually on a record pace for 2016- we have already
eclipsed over a thousand graduates"(fiscal year 2016 which began
back last October first). He the numbers simply translates into
"more people equipped on the ground to engage the consumer in
conversations about beef."
or tap here for our Beef Buzz with Daren Williams about MBA and
where the program stands in its 8th year.
to Have the Latest Energy News Delivered to Your Inbox Daily?
broadcast journalist Jerry
Bohnen has spent years learning and understanding how
to cover the energy business here in the southern plains- Click here to
subscribe to his daily update of top Energy News.
Weighs in With Their View of Animal Welfare in Oklahoma
Foundation has unveiled the fruits of a three-year
project on the
state of animal wellbeing as they see it in Oklahoma,
Animal Study. More than 1,200 copies of the study are
being mailed to policy makers, thought leaders, media, and
stakeholders this week. The study is also available online.
Co-authored by Kristy
Wicker and Manda
Overturf Shank, the report details findings on the
current status, laws, regulation, care and general wellbeing of
companion animals, livestock and farm animals, horses, wildlife,
exotic animals, and laboratory animals in the state. The goal of The
Oklahoma Animal Study is to provide a summary of the current state of
animals in Oklahoma with recommendations based on the findings toward
improvement in current conditions.
Three of their twelve recommendations that have come out of this
study involve animal agriculture- they inlcude:
"Discourage the expansion of Concentrated Animal Feedings
Operations and educate the public about their effects on human
health, animal welfare, and the environment.
"Encourage and support sustainable and humane agricultural
practices and the use of local food distribution cooperatives and
humane labeling systems.
"Advocate for the use of pain alleviation in farm-animal
procedures such as castration, branding, and dehorning. Prohibit tail
More on this study is available
This N That- Cattle on
Feed Preview and GMO Science Facts
Friday afternoon, USDA will issue their next Cattle on Feed Report-
has provided us with their pre report estimates on what they believe
USDA will be saying about cattle numbers at 2:00 PM central time
"February Placements are expected to be 14.2%
higher than last year at 1.771 million head. There was one more
weekday in February 2016 vs. 2015. This was also compared against a
small February 2015 number. USDA's cattle feeding margins improved
slightly from a $192 per head loss on a very light 1,250 lb. animal
to now a $180 loss. This would be fifteen months in a row of losses.
Corn averaged $3.46 1/2 in Western Kansas in February ($3.46 in
January, $3.92 in February 2015). February placements supply the July
through October slaughter period.
"Allendale anticipates a Marketing total 4.4% larger than
February 2015 at 1.583 million. This was the largest February marketing
in three years. There was one more weekday in February 2016 vs. the
previous year which artificially added to the number by 5.1%.
"Total Cattle on Feed as of March 1 is 1.5% larger than last
year at 10.848 million. That is an increase over the February 1 total
that was unchanged with one year ago."
For those that
are frustrated with the GMO labeling scene- I have a
website that I ran across yesterday that you may find useful in
gaining some scientific talking points about the value of GMOs in
today's food production systems- and how their safety record is a
like a train that has already left the station- simply put, the
safety of GMOs in the food supply is very well documented.
here for "Your One Stop Shop for GMO Science Facts."
thanks to Midwest Farms Shows, P & K Equipment,
& Ranchers, Stillwater Milling Company, Oklahoma AgCredit, the Oklahoma Cattlemens
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