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Oklahoma's Latest Farm and Ranch News
Your Update from Ron Hays of RON
Friday, August 17, 2018
A Federal District Court in South Carolina, on Thursday, granted a motion from environmental groups that brings the 2015 WOTUS rule into effect in 26 states. Previously the EPA's WOTUS Applicability Date Rule prevented the 2015 WOTUS rule from going to effect until February 6, 2020. The remaining 24 states are protected by other federal court injunctions against the 2015 Rule (one in North Dakota that covers 13 states, and one in Georgia that covers 11 states).
Members of the ag community, including the American Farm Bureau Federation, quickly reacted to this news. Zippy Duvall, president of AFBF, issued a statement denouncing the court's decision, insisting that the rule is "flawed" and would "never stand up to legal scrutiny." Duvall called for the immediate intervention of the Administration to limit the impact of this decision until a permanent solution can be resolved. Duvall emphasized the urgency in which the Administration should work to repeal and replace the rule.
"Today's court ruling creates enormous regulatory uncertainty and risk for farmers, ranchers and others," Duvall said.
"Now, more than ever, we must Ditch the Rule."
National Cattlemen's Beef Association Chief Environmental Counsel Scott Yager also remarked
on the decision, describing the pending threat in very colorful terms.
The South Carolina court has effectively brought WOTUS back from the dead in 26 states, creating a zombie version of the 2015 rule that threatens the rights of farmers and ranchers across the country," Yager said. "NCBA will continue to fight in the courts and in Congress to kill the 2015 WOTUS rule once and for all."
It's great to have the Livestock Exchange at the Oklahoma National Stockyards as a sponsor for our daily email. The eight Commission firms at the Stockyards make up the exchange- and they are committed to work hard to get you top dollar when you consign your cattle with them. They will present your cattle to the buyers gathered each Monday or Tuesday at one of the largest stocker and feeder cattle auctions in the world.
Click here for a complete list of the Commission firms that make up the Livestock Exchange at the Oklahoma National Stockyards- still the best place to sell your cattle- and at the heart of Stockyards City, where you can go around the corner enjoy a great steak and shop for the very best in western wear.
Given the steady decline in commodity prices, particularly in the soybean market, the 2018-2019 crop year may be a good time for many farmers in Oklahoma to consider returning to wheat rather than some of the other summer crops that have drawn their attention the last few seasons. Oklahoma State University Extension Grain Market Economist Kim Anderson made that argument this week in an interview with SUNUP Host Lyndall Stout.
In the past few weeks, commodities across the board have steadily declined. Not just grains but all commodities- metals, fuels, gold, silver, etc. Anderson attributes a large part of this to the strengthening of the US Dollar.
In planning for this coming year, though, Anderson advises farmers to consider the bigger picture of the crop situation as they make their planting decisions. This year, soybeans overtook corn as the major player in agriculture. And currently, the US is embroiled in a trade war with its largest soybean customer, China, which has significantly damaged prices. But, Anderson says all markets are depressed due to overwhelming production and stocks weighing on prices. Anderson insists that one cannot expect to increase production and ending stocks as much as they have been this year (many of which exceeding existing records) and not see prices decline. Anderson suggests farmers consider returning to wheat as an alternative.
You can hear Kim's full remarks on the current market situation, by clicking here.
As the ever changing political and economic climate continues to pressure the agriculture industry, the soy community has come to realize the benefit of collaboration. Together soy organizations are leveraging checkoff investments to bring more value back to US farmers. Those who attended the United Soybean Board (USB) Summer Meeting brought this strategy into discussion as they considered plans for the upcoming fiscal year, beginning October 1st.
A joint release issued Thursday outlined the partnership between the three national soybean organizations - USB, the American Soybean Association (ASA) and U.S. Soybean Export Council (USSEC) - and how their respective CEOs intend to cooperate in a way that best capitalizes on recent events to advance the soy industry's agenda and public image.
"The soy brand has been elevated," says ASA CEO Ryan Findlay. "Right now, media and the public in general are talking about soybeans, agriculture, and American farmers. We need to take their interest in soy as an opportunity to further enhance the perception of our versatile and vital commodity-while also protecting the economic stability and trade relationships we have worked for years to establish for our producers."
Together, the organizations will continue their fundamental functions- ASA advocating in Washington, D.C. on important issues such as the Farm Bill, biodiesel, biotech labeling; USSEC's international work to build US soy's reputation abroad; and the USB's education and outreach efforts to support a strong soy brand- while working to identify new opportunities for soy farmers. Learn more about the soy industry's renewed commitment to collaboration, by clicking here.
|Tuesday's Rains Left Out of This Week's Drought Monitor, Holds Promising Outlook for Next Week
Drought numbers were reduced by several percentage points in this latest Drought Monitor that was released on Thursday morning- taking the overall drought number from 55% down to 47%. However, some of the strongest drought areas- especially in the southwest with Extreme to Exceptional Drought- got rains after the Tuesday morning cutoff for information to be considered for the weekly report.
Here's the Thursday morning graphic- with rainfall counted up to sometime Tuesday morning:
Rains since Tuesday morning in the southwest as well as the northeast sould further change the map released next Thursday.
It's been a few weeks since President Trump stood together with the head of the European Union at the White House and announced that the EU would begin engaging the US in talks on better trade arrangements for American agricultural products. Kent Bacus, director of international trade and market access for the National Cattlemen's Beef Association, says he is cautiously optimistic about this news. He told us recently that given Europe's reputation in matters of trade- he'll believe it when he sees it.
"Europe is a notorious violator of WTO (World Trade Organization) agreements of all kinds of science-based trade terms. You're talking about decades of violations from these guys" he said. "So, Europe really is a bad actor when it comes to the way they treat other countries."
According to Bacus, Europe has always seemed to demonstrate that what is good for the goose, is not necessarily so for the gander- imposing unfair restrictions on other nations around the world, yet never making any concessions that might "water down" their own barriers and align them with more objective trade standards. Especially when it comes to agriculture, Bacus says the EU is extremely hesitant to enter into any negotiations at all. A perfect example being a WTO decision in favor of the US against Europe on the matter of hormone use in livestock. While this is a widely used and perfectly safe production practice, Bacus says the EU refuses to budge. While no action has been taken yet to show an intention of keeping the promises made to President Trump, Bacus says the pressure that the White House has put on the EU is at least a step in the right direction.
"I think it's positive to see the Administration saying, 'Hey... you want to talk? You don't want these car tariffs coming on? You're going to have to work with us on ag...' That's good, we support taking a firm position them," Bacus remarked. "Europe has proven they are not going to be a good trading partner, so we've got to play hard ball with them."
Listen to Bacus and I analyze the trade relationship between the US and Europe and what that might mean for American agriculture, on yesterday's Beef Buzz - click here.
The Oklahoma Cattlemen's Association is the trusted voice of the Oklahoma Cattle Industry. With headquarters in Oklahoma City, the OCA has a regular presence at the State Capitol to protect and defend the interests of cattlemen and cattlewomen.
Their Vision Statement explains the highest priority of the organization- "Leadership that serves, strengthens and advocates for the Oklahoma cattle industry."
To learn more about the OCA and how you can be a part of this forward-looking group of cattle producers, click here for their website
. For more information- call 405-235-4391.
During the Oklahoma Women in Ag and Small Business Conference last week, we had the chance to speak with keynote speaker Rebecca Chaney. Chaney had a very unique story to share with attendees, one that has shaped both her personal and professional life.
Originally from a dairy in Maryland, Chaney and her husband, Lee, today operate a beef cattle ranch in Nebraska, raising two girls. What's interesting, though, is the journey that brought them to that point.
Several years ago, the couple decided to take a year to live and work on a cattle station in the Australian Outback. The Chaneys would eventually find themselves on a million-acre ranch during the wet season, separated from the nearest town two hours away by a flooded river making travel impossible without a boat ride to ferry them across. The living conditions were spartan. Absent electricity, a fire needed to be stoked each morning in order to take a warm shower. Chaney and her husband returned to the states in 2000 and wrote a book about their experiences.
The book launched Chaney into a speaking career that has allowed her to advocate on behalf of the ag industry. Passionate about agricultural education, Chaney has found an outlet to address the misrepresentations of agriculture and teach people about how their food is produced.
Read the full article or listen to our complete conversation to learn more about Chaney's adventures in Australia and how those experiences helped her to launch her speaking career - click here.
|Do You Have a Calving Protocol in Place? OSU's Glenn Selk Explains When to Assist Cattle in Labor
In this week's edition of the Cow/Calf Corner, OSU's Glenn Selk explained when a producer should intervene and assist a cow or heifer in labor. According to Selk, "a good rule of thumb: 'If the heifer is not making significant progress 1 hour after the water bag or feet appear, examine the heifer to see if you can provide assistance. Mature cows should be watched for only 30 minutes before a rectal examine is conducted.' Make certain the cervix is completely dilated before pulling on the chains. If you cannot safely deliver the calf yourself at this time, call your local large animal veterinarian immediately."
Selk also advises producers put together and post a calving protocol for family members and hired employees to follow when they find a cow or heifer starting in the process of calving. He says to do this prior to calving season commencing, to ensure all parties are adequately prepared and familiar with the proper procedures to take at the appropriate time.
Click here to read this week's full article for more of Selk's advice on when to assist cattle in labor.
|Why Not Stillwater??? USDA Looking for a Country Home for ERS and NIFA
Chuck Abbott writes in the FERN Ag Insider that "The Agriculture Department is willing to go far into the countryside to find office space for two agencies that it wants to move out of Washington. The new headquarters can be near an airport with as few travelers as Salina, Kansas, or Sidney, Montana, but it must have robust internet service, a "critical mass of intellectual capacity" to tap for its workforce, and an overall high quality of life, according to a USDA announcement appearing this week."
Chuck mentions Salina- but I would suggest Stillwater as a great place for at least NIFA- and ERS would be welcome, too. With American Airlines now flying several times a day into Dallas- Stillwater's Regional Airport has boardings well above the minimum level suggested in the USDA proposal.
In a "request for expressions of interest," USDA advertises for a total of 160,000 square feet of office space for the re-located Economic Research Service and the National Institute of Food and Agriculture.
The ERS and NIFA headquarters will be an economic boon for communities, said the USDA. "It is important that the potential site be in close proximity to a critical mass of intellectual capacity and potential employees to continue the high-value and productive work of NIFA and ERS." The USDA said it wants to locate "in a community where our employees will enjoy living, recreational opportunities, educational opportunities and an overall high quality of life."
For ERS, "enhanced IT security" is essential so it can protect confidential information. The new headquarters "will be required to offer secure and confidential connectivity to USDA's South Building to facilitate monthly teleconferences" as part of preparing the closely watched WASDE report that is a global corollary to USDA's crop reports.
Obviously- you could make arguments for places like Oklahoma City and Tulsa as well- but if USDA decides to land in and around a land grant- Stillwater could make a ton of sense. I suspect they will be getting a lot of proposals from various business development offices from all across the fruited plain.
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