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Oklahoma's Latest Farm and Ranch News
Your Update from Ron Hays of RON
Jayson Lusk Discovers Major Misconception in What
Consumers Know About Hormone Use in Animal Ag Production
The latest FOOD Demand Survey as produced by Dr. Jayson Lusk
and his team in the Ag Economics Department in the Division of
Agriculture at Oklahoma State University is out- and some interesting
facts about what consumers believe in how animals are raised have
According to Dr. Lusk in his blog on the latest survey,
the major Ad Hoc question had to do with hormone use in meat
production in the US.
Dr. Lusk writes "For the ad-hoc questions, we delved into
consumers' beliefs about the use of added growth hormones in
livestock and poultry production.
"First, participants were asked: "What percentage of the
following types of farm animals in the United States are given added
hormones to promote growth and muscle development?". The average
answers were 60% for beef, 54% for pork, and 55% for broiler
chickens. These answers are quite wrong.
"Virtually all feedlot cattle in the US are given added growth
hormones but NONE of the hogs or broiler chickens are given added
hormones. Fewer than 2% of respondents knew this last fact. That is,
98% of respondents incorrectly think hormones are used in pork and
"What impacts might these false beliefs have? As it turns out,
the impacts are non-trivial. For example, consumers' responses to our
initial choice questions that are used to derive WTP for each of the
meat cuts depend on consumers perceptions about the prevalence of
hormone use. The larger the fraction of animals a consumer believes
receives hormones, the less they're willing to pay for meat from that
type of animal. Here's a quick analysis I ran asking the question:
how would consumers' WTP change if they went from having the current
average level of false beliefs to knowing the truth?
"The "Willingness to Pay" for ground beef and steak
would fall (because more cattle are given hormones than most people
think) and WTP for pork and chicken would increase (because none of
these animals are given added hormones despite the fact people think
they are). What this suggests is that demand for pork and chicken is
depressed by false beliefs.
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Proposes Increase in Renewable Fuel Levels
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
Wednesday proposed increases in renewable fuel volume requirements across
all types of biofuels under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS)
program. The proposed increases would boost renewable fuel production
and provide for ambitious yet achievable growth.
"The Renewable Fuel Standards program is a success story that
has driven biofuel production and use in the U.S. to levels higher
than any other nation," said Janet McCabe, acting assistant
administrator for EPA's Office of Air and Radiation. "This
administration is committed to keeping the RFS program on track,
spurring continued growth in biofuel production and use, and
achieving the climate and energy independence benefits that Congress
envisioned from this program."
The proposed volumes would represent growth over historic levels:
- Total renewable fuel volumes would grow by nearly 700 million
gallons between 2016 and 2017.
- Advanced renewable fuel - which requires 50 percent lifecycle
carbon emissions reductions - would grow by nearly 400 million
gallons between 2016 and 2017.
- The non-advanced or "conventional" fuels portion of total
renewable fuels - which requires a minimum of 20 percent lifecycle
carbon emissions reductions - would increase by 300 million gallons
between 2016 and 2017 and achieve 99 percent of the Congressional
target of 15 billion gallons.
- Biomass-based biodiesel - which must achieve at least 50 percent
lifecycle emissions reductions - would grow by 100 million gallons
between 2017 and 2018.
- Cellulosic biofuel - which requires 60 percent lifecycle carbon
emissions reductions - would grow by 82 million gallons, or 35
percent, between 2016 and 2017.
The Clean Air Act requires EPA to set annual RFS volume requirements
for four categories of biofuels. By displacing fossil fuels, biofuels
help reduce greenhouse gas emissions and help strengthen energy
security. EPA is proposing to use the tools provided by Congress to
adjust the standards below the statutory targets, but the steadily
increasing volumes in the proposal continue to support Congress's
intent to grow the volumes of these important fuels that are part of
the nation's overall strategy to enhance energy security and address
climate change. EPA implements the program in consultation with the
U.S. Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Department of
EPA will hold a public hearing on this proposal on June 9, 2016, in
Kansas City, Mo. The period for public input and comment will open
until July 11.
here for a link to more information on the EPA's proposal.
Organizations React to EPA's Proposed Renewable Fuel Volume
On Wednesday the EPA released proposed 2017 Renewable
Volume Obligations (RVOs) for the Renewable Fuel Standard
(RFS). The EPA suggests that proposed increases would boost
renewable fuel production, but some agricultural organizations say
the proposed increases still fall short of the RFS statutory level of
15 billion gallons for conventional biofuels.
"EPA has moved in a better direction, but we are
disappointed that they set the ethanol number below statute,"
Bowling, president of the National Corn Growers
Association. "The Renewable Fuel Standard is working for
America. It has made our air cleaner. It has spurred investment in
rural communities and created high-tech jobs. It has given drivers
more choices at the gas pump. And it has reduced our dependency on
foreign oil. Any reduction in the statutory amount takes America
backward - destabilizing our environment, our economy and our energy
Bowling's complete statement here.
The EPA proposed a total renewable fuel volume of 18.8
billion gallons (BG), of which 4 BG is advanced biofuel and 312
million gallons is cellulosic biofuel. That leaves a 14.8 BG
requirement for conventional renewable fuels like corn ethanol. The
Renewable Fuels Association has consistently called on EPA to follow
congressional intent by increasing blending targets, and is currently
involved in litigation on the final 2014-2016 targets.
"For months, EPA has been saying it plans to put
the program 'back on track.' Today's proposal fails to do that. The
agency continues to cater to the oil industry by relying upon an
illegal interpretation of its waiver authority and concern over a blend
wall that the oil industry itself is creating," says RFA
President and CEO Bob
Dinneen. "As a consequence, consumers are being
denied higher octane, lower cost renewable fuels. Investments in new
technology and advanced biofuels will continue to languish and
greenhouse gas emissions from automobiles will be unnecessarily
Dinneen's complete statement here.
CEO of Growth Energy, echoes Bowling and Dinneen with her comments
concerning the EPA's proposal.
"We are encouraged that the EPA proposal takes a
step forward, signaling the critical importance of cleaner burning,
less expensive biofuels, like ethanol. However it still falls short
of the goals of the Renewable Fuel Standard. Ethanol producers,
retailers and the current auto fleet are fully capable of providing
consumers with a true choice at the pump." Read
Skor's complete statement here.
U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe,
chairman of the U.S. Senate Environment and Public Works (EPW)
Committee, also weighed in on the proposal.
"While we welcome EPA's timely release of the
RVOs in line with the statutory deadline, the agency's numbers
continue to disregard market realities related to demand for gasoline
and the availability of cellulosic biofuel. As I've said before, the
RFS is a flawed program that creates nothing but uncertainty and
unnecessary volatility for our refiners," Inhofe says.
Danny Jones Hopes to Prove the Concept- Starting Next Week-
We are less than a week away from the first FedCattleExchange.com internet
sale set for next Wednesday, May 25. Superior Livestock Auction is
creating the electronic auction format to help expand the cash market
for fed cattle in order to establish a better basis for formula
Superior Livestock Auction President Danny Jones says the first few
sales will be pretty straightforward with the hopes of expanding to
more options for buyers and sellers in the future.
"In order for us to make this simple and to prove the concept
that price discovery can work in the fed cattle arena, we are doing
cash price for immediate delivery only to begin with," he says.
"We do feel like that overtime this can be expanded beyond just
immediate delivery and beyond just cash price to include future
delivery, to include specialty programs, to include basis for a
formula rather than just cash trade that gets reported into the plus
or minus on formulas for futures."
While credentials are required to buy and sell cattle (go to the FedCattleExchange.com website
for more information), Jones says there will be a "watch
only" option for those interested in seeing how the auction
He says it will be different from what folks are used to when they
watch a regular SLA sale.
"Don't expect what you've seen in a typical Superior Livestock
video auction," he says. "There is no auctioneer; it's an
electronic format that you can see the bids taking place and the
cattle being sold."
more about how the new FedCattleExchange.com will work during the
latest Beef Buzz.
We are pleased to
Farmers & Ranchers Mutual Insurance Company as
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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
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serve rural America!
Bayer Chases Monsanto in
Latest Agribusiness Merger Move
It is the Corporate version of "Kiss and Tell."
Executives from Bayer
AG have met with corporate leadership of Monsanto to
talk about the German company buying the US Biotech giant.
After that meeting- Monsanto opened their corporate mouth first-
responding to media reports about the meeting- saying in effect- we
did not start this relationship- "In response to recent media
reports, Monsanto Company (NYSE: MON) disclosed that it has received
an unsolicited, non-binding proposal from Bayer AG for a potential
acquisition of Monsanto, subject to due diligence, regulatory approvals
and other conditions. The Board of Directors of Monsanto is reviewing
the proposal, in consultation with its financial and legal advisors.
Monsanto will have no further comment until its Board of Directors
has completed its review. There is no assurance that any transaction
will be entered into or consummated, or on what terms."
With that "out there," Bayer quickly told their side of the
story- "Bayer executives recently met with executives of
Monsanto to privately discuss a negotiated acquisition of Monsanto
"The proposed combination would reinforce Bayer as a global
innovation-driven Life Science company with leadership positions in
its core segments, and would create a leading integrated agriculture
"This statement follows Monsanto's announcement earlier today
regarding a proposal from Bayer. A further statement will be made as
Analysts believe that Monsanto is worth forty two to forty three
billion dollars- and CNN Money indicates in a Thursday
morning report of these discussions "While the companies did
not disclose the offer's financial terms, Monsanto (MON) is likely to
command a price that exceeds its current market value of $42 billion.
Any deal would require regulatory approval."
Bloomberg goes more in depth into what they call the woes of
Monsanto- saying that the company appears to be ripe for a takeover- click
here to read their analysis of where the US Agribusiness Giant
stands in this global merger dance.
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.
Scientist Jason Warren Offers the Dirt on Soil Health and Practices
Like No Til and Cover Cropping
Finding the right crop rotation can be a key to
successful no-till farming, and Dr. Jason Warren, assistant
professor and soil and water conservation/management extension
specialist at OSU, says cover crops are finding their way more and
more into those rotations.
For a continuous wheat producer, Warren suggests planting a cover
crop to graze.
"I'm not a big fan of planting sorghum sudan if I'm going to
just plant wheat back into the standing material, but if I want to
run cattle on it, I'm going to have sorghum sudan out there because
that's a high forage-producing grass," he says. "But if I
just want to grow nitrogen, then I'm going to grow cowpeas.
"And if I want a little bit of both, then I'll plant them both
Warren says farmers need to know that planting a minor broadleaf
species with a grass, such as cowpeas and sorghum sudan, will reduce
the tonnage of material produced because the tonnage comes from the
"If we want a big tonnage - sorghum sudan or something like
pearl millet that's going to grow a lot of biomass," he says.
"If you want smaller tonnage to just cover the ground, then you
could go with like a German millet."
Warren says planting a summer cover crop can also have a positive
effect on soil health.
"I grew up flipping dirt in western Oklahoma, and I look around
at all these soils where we're flipping dirt, and they've been
severely damaged. I mean we've plowed two feet into the soil in some
cases from erosion," he says. "Where we're no-tilling it,
we're seeing tremendous improvements in the organic matter and
biological activity, and therefore, the productivity of those soils.
"And a lot of that productivity comes from our willingness to
plant a summer crop."
Warren says the key to soil health is "finding a productive,
economically viable rotation."
I talked with Dr. Warren during the Lahoma Wheat Field Day last week.
here to learn more about choosing and integrating cover crops
into a no-till rotation.
This N That- Cattle on Feed,
Superior Sale and ITC Report on TPP
The May First Cattle on Feed report from USDA will be released
tomorrow afternoon at 2:00 PM Central time- after the markets have
closed for the weekend. Rich
Nelson and the folks at Allendale have provided us their
pre report analysis about what they believe the report will be
"April Placements are expected to be 1.1% smaller
than last year at 1.531 million head. There was one less weekday in
April 2016 vs. 2015. This is the smallest April placement in four
years. USDA's cattle feeding margin model showed a $123 per head
profit for outgoing cattle in April for a very light 1,250 lb.
animal. This officially ends the most severe period of cattle feeding
losses in our database. Corn averaged $3.44 in Western Kansas in
April ($3.40 in March, $3.80 in April 2015). April placements supply
the September through November slaughter period.
"Allendale anticipates a Marketing total 1.8% larger than April
2015 at 1.669 million. This was the second smallest April marketing
since the data-series started in 1996. There was one less weekday and
one more Saturday in April 2016 vs. the previous year. This
artificially decreased the number by 3.7%.
"Total Cattle on Feed as of May 1 is 0.1% larger than last year
at 10.655 million. That is a decrease over the April 1 total that was
+0.5% from one year ago."
next regular every other week Superior
Video Livestock Sale is set for tomorrow morning-
starting at 8 AM central time- to be seen on DISH Network channel 232
and on the internet at SuperiorClickToBid.Com.
The sale will include 28,000 head- featuring:
3,400 Holsteins and Jerseys
5,900 Yearling Steers
3,900 Yearling Heifers
5,800 Weaned Calves
8,100 Calves on Cows
900 Bred Stock
More details are available on the Superior Website by clicking
here- or you can always call for more information at
On Wednesday afternoon- the US International Trade Commission offered
their ideas on the impact of the Pacific Rim Trade Deal- the Trans
Pacific Partnership. They see the US benefiting to the tune of
billions of dollars if the deal is ratified.
US Ag Secretary Tom
Vilsack likes what the ITC is saying- "Today's
ITC report echoes what every major reputable study on TPP has now
found, from the Petersen Institute to the American Farm Bureau
Foundation, which is that TPP will provide strong benefits for the
U.S. agriculture sector, with agricultural output set to be $10
billion higher per year by 2032 than it would without the
here for the complete statement from Secretary Vilsack- and a
link to more details of the report from the ITC.
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