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Oklahoma's Latest Farm and Ranch News
Your Update from Ron Hays of RON
Monday, February 12, 2018
Step Up Oklahoma Votes on House Floor Coming Later TODAY- Michael Kelsey Offers Agricultural Perspective
Week One of the 2018 Oklahoma State Legislature is complete- and it included several historic votes that point to a huge vote on the State House Floor this afternoon- when the revenue component of the so called Step Up Oklahoma plan will be voted on.The proposal, developed by a group of business, civic and community leaders last month offers a possible fix to Oklahoma's continual budget problems through a number of revenue measures and government reforms. While some ag organizations in Oklahoma support the plan, such as the Oklahoma Grain and Feed and the Oklahoma Agribusiness Association, many still have reservations about some of it's final details that are unknown.According to Michael Kelsey, executive vice president of the Oklahoma Cattlemen's Association, said OCA members at the association's January Policy meeting voted to support the plan overall though they do share some concerns of other ag groups in the state, regarding parts of the proposal.Likewise, both the American Farmers & Ranchers and Oklahoma Farm Bureau is neither endorsing or opposing the plan outright.Backers of Step Up Oklahoma have put all of the revenue raising items together into one huge tax raising bill. The reform parts of the proposal are several bills in order to pass consitutional muster. According to Kelsey, "the big one is the revenue package which includes four basic pieces- the tobacco tax, the fuel tax, the gross production tax in terms of oil and gas and the wind GPT, which is a dollar per megawatt." The measure easily passed out of the House Committee responsible for it- and is now set for a floor vote this afternoon. This tax increase must be approved with a 75% yes vote and the reform portions of the Step Up Plan really depend on getting the revenue plan approved. Kelsey noted that his members decided to support the process and that they feel this is a way to protect the State Legislature from going after revenues from property taxes- Ad Valorum- and looking at ending the Ag Sales Tax Exemption.
For more insights into the Oklahoma ag community's stance on the Step Up Oklahoma proposal, click over to our website
to read more and to hear our conversation with Michael Kelsey.
The Oklahoma Farm Bureau - a grassroots organization that has for its Mission Statement- Improving the Lives of Rural Oklahomans." Farm Bureau, as the state's largest general farm organization, is active at the State Capitol fighting for the best interests of its members and working with other groups to make certain that the interests of rural Oklahoma are protected. Click here for their website to learn more about the organization and how it can benefit you to be a part of Farm Bureau.
|National Cotton Council Predicts Oklahoma Will Grow Planted Cotton Acres by 21% This Spring to 708,000 Acres
U.S. cotton producers intend to plant 13.1 million cotton acres this spring, up 3.7 percent from 2017, according to the National Cotton Council's 37th Annual Early Season Planting Intentions Survey, the results of which were announced over the weekend at the NCC's 2018 Annual Meeting in Fort Worth, Texas. Southwest growers intend to plant 8.0 million acres of cotton, an increase of 5.7 percent. Increases in cotton area are expected in each of the three states. In Kansas, producers intend to plant 55.3 percent more cotton acres, along with more wheat and 'other crops', likely sorghum. Kansas growers intend to plant less corn and soybeans. In Oklahoma, a 21.0 percent increase in cotton acreage is expected as wheat acreage declines. Oklahoma respondents report a small increase in 'other crops'. Overall, Texas acreage is expected to increase by 3.7 percent. Texas respondents expect to plant more wheat acres and less corn and 'other crops'. The National Cotton Council estimate is actually slightly less than what Dr. Randy Boman told Radio Oklahoma Ag Network Associate Farm Director Carson Horn last month at the Red River Crops Conference- when Boman said he could see Oklahoma farmersÂ upping the planted cotton acres this spring to 750,000. The NCC number is 708,000 for Oklahoma for this spring- versus 585,000 acres planted last year. The 708,000 would be 21% larger than a year ago.NCC estimates for this sping in Kansas cotton acres will increase from 2017 to 144,000 acres. NCC also thinks Texas cotton acres will also grow significantly- up 254,000 more acres this spring than in 2017- that would bring the Texas cotton crop plantings to 7.154 million acres.Dr. Jody Campiche, the NCC's vice president, Economics & Policy Analysis, said, "Planted acreage is just one of the factors that will determine supplies of cotton and cottonseed. Ultimately, weather, insect pressures and agronomic conditions play a significant role in determining crop size."She said that with abandonment assumed at approximately 15 percent for the United States, Cotton Belt harvested area totals 11.1 million acres. Using an average U.S. yield per harvested acre of 842 pounds generates a cotton crop of 19.4 million bales, with 18.7 million upland bales and 744,000 ELS bales. NCC delegates were reminded that these expectations are a snapshot of intentions based on market conditions at survey time. Actual plantings will be influenced by changing market conditions and weather.
to read more about the cotton planting intentions of farmers around the country on a regional basis.
|Just a Week In, OK's New Extension Services Director Damona Doye Deals with the Tough Issues
Damon Doye just finished up her first week on the job as director of the Oklahoma Extension Service. I caught up with her this past week at the Oklahoma No Till Conference and talked with her to find out how she is settling in. Doye has come into this position at an interesting time for the Extension Service, which is currently in the process of adapting not only to the changing times with respect to how our farmers and ranchers consume information, but also a time with tighter financial constraints.
However, based on our conversation, it seems Doye is positioned to meet these challenges head on as she begins a new chapter in her career to lead her department forward.
"I've said that while we may face budget constraints, it won't confine or define us," Doye said determinedly. "We will have to continue to sort out our priorities and how we think we can best address the needs of our rural communities and our different stakeholders."
Serving our rural communities through Oklahoma's Extension Service has been a life-long career for Doye and she says this opportunity has given her a new challenge and a chance to give back to the organization that has provided so much for her.
Doye says her department is committed to keeping a local presence across the state as far as it is able and will continue to provide and research the important information farmers need to run their businesses successfully. But, she says this will all be done with an "intentional and deliberate" effort, focused on finding new and efficient ways to manage and deliver resources.
to listen to our conversation and learn how Doye intends to implement her strategy to keep Oklahoma's Extension Service operating at full steam.
|Farm Organizations Praise Congressional Provisions for Cotton in Bipartisan Budget Deal
Both the American Farm Bureau Federation and the Plains Cotton Growers, Inc., commended Congress for its passage of the Bipartisan Budget Act, a move that keeps the government in operation and also provides necessary funding for several initiatives, including disaster relief, that recently have been stalled in the appropriations process.
"The Bipartisan Budget Act not only helps our government move forward, but ensures defense funding, which is essential, and incorporates long overdue disaster relief in hurricane-affected areas, among other necessary provisions," PCG President Johnie Reed said in a statement released last week.
A critical component for cotton producers is a provision within the Act that provides for seed-cotton to be made eligible for farm programs under the commodity title of the Farm Bill, restoring a much-needed safety net to cotton growers effective with the 2018 crop year.
"By including measures to improve policies for cotton and dairy farmers, Congress has taken important steps to address two of our biggest farm bill priorities. Also important was eliminating the cap on USDA livestock risk management tools to provide more options in the livestock sector," stated AFBF President Zippy Duvall.
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|McDonald's Rickette Collins Offers a Retailer's Perspective on the Value of the USRB's Work
The McDonald's Corporation has been a member of the US Roundtable for Sustainable Beef since its inception in 2015. McDonald's Director of Quality Systems Rickette Collins has represented the company on the Roundtable and says their involvement in the group's collective efforts to build a better understanding of the environment and sustainability and to discuss how its effectiveness can be measured and then used to communicate and educate - is paramount to McDonald's mission of answering consumers' questions about where their food comes from. In a recent conversation, she explained that from her perspective as a member of the food service industry, having a seat at the Roundtable is all about finding ways to ensure her customers the food they serve is safe, wholesome and sustainably produced."Really, it's about helping to define sustainability and implement it though out the entire value chain in a way that we can talk to our end customers," she said. "Our end customers are very proud to come eat at McDonald's but they always want to know more about where their food came from, how the animals were treated, how things happen in the supply chain."The Roundtables efforts thus far have yielded a reportthat details a variety of indicators and metrics designed by the group to help do exactly what Collins mentioned - define sustainable production and to measure its efficaciousness. Collins says the USRSB has been very open with its process in the development of these tools and has welcomed input not only from its members but also from the public. Moving forward, she hopes to see the USRSB continue to evolve and put their concepts into practice and then find ways of communicating that to producers and consumers."We want to be able to connect those dots and talk about that at the end of the day with our customers," she said, "and answer the questions that they have about our supply chain."
You can listen to our complete conversation featured on Friday's Beef Buzz show, about how the work of the USRSB is adding value and engaging consumers, by clicking here
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|Noble Research Institute Announces the Launch of Its New Land Stewardship Program for Farmers
Last week, the Noble Research Institute announced the launch of the Noble Land Stewardship Program as part of a seven-decade-long effort to support farmers, ranchers and land managers, the guardians of the soil.
"The agriculture industry is poised for land stewardship solutions," said Bill Buckner, Noble Research Institute CEO and president. "No organization is better suited to help meet these industry-wide challenges than the Noble Research Institute."
The Noble Land Stewardship Program is designed to quantify the ecologic and economic benefits of managing land with a stewardship ethic as a focus. The ultimate goal is the creation of a market where land stewards receive performance-based economic benefit for measured ecological outcomes.
The program will provide producers with critical information to help them make timely decisions within their current enterprises as well as a mechanism to help them fully understand the value of their ecological contributions to society. This program then positions producers to participate in ecosystem services markets as they arise. Noble has enlisted the help of 12 producers, six in Oklahoma and six in Texas, to begin testing the program, focused on four management areas: ecological efficiency, production efficiency, soil resource management and water resource management.Click here
to learn more about this program being spearheaded by the agricultural consultants at the Noble Research Institute.
|Ryan Goodman Explains the Importance of "AgVocacy" and Shares His Tips for Effective Storytelling
During a recent "
AgVocacy" Training Seminar hosted by the Oklahoma Cattlemen's Foundation, I had the chance to speak with Ryan Goodman, a self-taught advocate for agriculture and Director of Grassroots Advocacy with the National Cattlemen's Beef Association, who was there to train attendees on effective message sharing. He spoke on the importance of advocacy in today's
world when consumers are growing more and more curious about where their food comes from and how it is produced."With the advent of social media and internet access - we have all of this information at our hands and people are searching for that information," he said. "Up until the last few years though, people that were telling that story were largely opponents of modern animal agriculture and the technology we're using today."However, producers from all walks of agricultural life are now using those same tools and sharing their experiences on the farm every day. Goodman encourages those who attend his training seminars to start out small and commit to sharing some of their daily activities to offer your audience a glimpse into your workaday life.He says the most important aspect of advocacy is not to force random facts about the industry on your audience. Instead, listen to your audience and answer people's questions. Goodman says a good advocate adapts to the public's concerns and follows along as a guide or resource within the larger dialogue.Hear Goodman describe how he began his journey as an advocate for agriculture and the beef industry, by clicking or tapping here.
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