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|Oklahoma's Latest Farm and Ranch News
Your Update from Ron Hays of RON
Thursday, September 6, 2018
Featured Story: Farm Bill Conference Up and Running- Pat Roberts Holds the Keys to the Caddy- Hoping to Drive Across the Finish Line Quickly
The farm bill conference committee's first(and likely only) public meeting Wednesday came with just ten legislative days to complete and pass a new farm bill.
Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Pat Roberts chairs the committee, working on now his eighth farm bill as a lawmaker. In his opening statement, Roberts told the committee: "Time is of the essence. Let us work together to get this done."
Meanwhile, President Donald Trump offered his comments via Twitter "#FarmBill with SNAP work requirements will bolster farmers and get America back to work. Pass the Farm Bill with SNAP work requirements!" Trump tweeted, as the two chambers of Congress begin reconciling separate bills that they recently passed into a single piece of legislation for him to sign.
The 2014 Farm Law will expire September 30th- and the long standing goal of Senator Roberts and his counterpart in the House- Mike Conaway- has been to get the new measure in place before the 2014 law expires.
Click or tap here
to read more of what Senator Roberts offered yesterday morning- we also the video as posted on YouTube:
|Senator Roberts Farm Bill Conference Committee Meeting Opening Remarks|
From this point on- the work to get across the finish line- with Pat Roberts doing the driving- will be BEHIND CLOSED DOORS.
It was reported ahead of the public meeting that Mike Conaway was offering a compromise of what the House passed regarding SNAP. The House Ag Committee Chair says last week he sent a proposal to his counterparts in the Senate offering a compromise on the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. He says the offer demonstrates he's "willing to move off House positions, but it's got to make sense."
Time now to watch and hope to see that proverbial "White Smoke" from the Senate side of the Capitol rising- sooner rather than later.
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.
|More Farm Bill Conference Coverage- Audio of the Big Four Plus Frank Lucas Comments
Yesterday's three hours worth of public comments allowed lots of lawmakers who care about one aspect or another of the 2018 Farm Bill to have a statement for the record- to make public comments that they can use to promote themselves back home.
However- Mike Conaway, Chairman of the House Ag Committee- explained the who and how of actually getting a farm bill complete in this short statement after the public meeting was gavelled out.
"Today my colleagues in the House and Senate highlighted the urgency in farm and ranch country and just how desperate times are as net farm income is slated to fall again this year. While I'm pleased with progress on the farm bill - we must pick up the pace. This will all come together quickly if all four principals are willing to make meaningful compromises. I have made it very clear that I am willing to do so. We still have a lot of work to do, but I believe we can get this done on time."
Click here if you want to jump over and spend a few minutes listening to what the "Big Four" had to say publicly as the process moves forward from all of the staff work on the measure to date.
The Big Four include Conaway of Texas, Senator Pat Roberts of Kansas- Chair of the Conference and the Senate Ag Committee and the two ranking members- Senator Debbie Stabenow and Collin Peterson.
There are others who have influence- and that includes our own Congressman from Oklahoma's Third District- Frank Lucas in 2014 was the Chair of the Conference and as he joked in his comments yesterday- spoke first then- yesterday he spoke 14th.
But quietly- Lucas has been there during the House process- keeping the lines of communication open for Conaway and the House Ag Committee staff (remember- Deputy Staff Director and Chief Economist of the Committee is Dr. Bart Fischer from Oklahoma) and so his pleas to keep the process moving have relevance- click here to hear his comments and read them as well.
|Farm Bureau Presidents Score Impromptu Meeting With President Trump
State Farm Bureau Presidents met today with President Trump and Vice President Pence to express their continuing concerns over trade and the financial difficulties tariffs and related barriers are causing farmers and ranchers.
Texas President Russell Boening, Illinois President Richard Guebert and American Farm Bureau Federation Vice President Scott VanderWal - who is also President of the South Dakota Farm Bureau - told the president and vice president that they needed open markets soon. President Trump's appearance was unscheduled, but the commander-in-chief said he wanted to stop by to express his appreciation for agriculture, as well as his broad support for rural America. The small group of ag leaders included representatives of several agricultural organizations in addition to Farm Bureau, covering row crops, dairy and livestock, and specialty crops.
Boening, Guebert and VanderWal also met with Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue as well as Ambassador Gregg Doud, chief agricultural negotiator in the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative. The meeting lasted nearly an hour.
Read more by clicking or tapping here.
|Oklahoma Rural Association Offers Fresh Voice for All Segments of Rural Businesses Across Oklahoma
You may know her as Monica Wilke, who served from 2009 to July of last year as the Executive Director of the Oklahoma Farm Bureau- she has resurfaced in the advocacy arena this week with the announcement of a group she is helping form- the Oklahoma Rural Association.
Monica Miller is the President and Executive Director of the new group that she says (in a news release) that is "committed to working on critical issues to encourage growth and prosperity in businesses and communities across rural Oklahoma to create a stronger economy in areas that have continued to experience reductions in employers and workforce."
Miller adds "We have heard for too long the political rhetoric about having a strong 77 counties, yet we see continued influence and focus shifting to the state's urban areas. For our state to have a robust economy, rural Oklahoma's industries must be represented and the ORA is proud to lead the way in this endeavor."
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|After the Website Makeover, Millions Flock to Beef It's Whats for Dinner- Nicely Done!
For several years, we have been telling you about the decision of the Beef Checkoff to do it's domestic marketing largely on line- using social media to position it's message on the smart phones and IPads of Millennials and others.
That strategy received a major boost about a year ago, when the cattle industry brought together a lot of their information online into one unified place- the Beef, It's What's for Dinner website. Alisa Harrison, senior vice president for global marketing at the National Cattlemen's Beef Association, talked about the impact the beef industry's digital campaign has had since its revitalization a few weeks with me- and she tells me it's breathtaking.
"We're very pleased with how we've done. We launched it last October and to date we've had almost 8 million visitors to that website," Harrison said. "When you look at the year prior, there was only 3 million. And so that's where we're targeting all of our advertising to drive people back to that website."
To me- a gain of FIVE Million sets of eyeballs is a big deal.
While the recipes and cookery found on the website are the most popular features- more and more people are visiting the Rethink the Ranch pages and spending longer amounts of time there, which tells Alisa that people are truly interested in that content. What is also different than in years before is that the information is now being aggressively pushed out to consumers where before it was just simply available - consumers were never proactively invited to visit the site.
You can hear our visit with Alisa by clicking or tapping here- as she shares this aspect of engaging the consumer and getting them to choose beef.
By the way- the "Nicely Done" phrase is not me being snarky- it's the basis of some edgy print and video ads that has been used on line and even by state beef councils on billboards to allow the Beef Checkoff to pat the beef industry on the back for positive attributes that helps shape today's beef brand.
|Water Quality Success Story in Oklahoma- It All Boils Down to Trust- Landowners Trusting Conservation Districts
In recent days, USDA Southern Plains Climate Hub Coordinator Clay Pope sat down and talked with Shanon Phillips, the Director of the Water Quality Division of the Oklahoma Conservation Commission about her work within the conservation structure in Oklahoma to help clean up waterways across Oklahoma.
Through the work of her division in partnership with USDA NRCS, Region Six EPA, Local Conservation Districts, USDA FSA and others, Oklahoma has taken over 70 stream segments off of the EPA impaired list, the most of any state in the country.
Phillips tells Pope that the "magic potion" that has allowed Oklahoma to have the success in removing streams from the EPA impaired list is the long history of a working relationship that Conservation Districts and local USDA offices have with landowners across the state.
She says "they have been applying the same formula since the Dust Bowl to address to those environmental concerns- and now with the money we are able to bring in to the program from EPA that we use to monitor the streams across the state- that's where we are really capturing the impact of those conservation programs and it really all comes down to the trust that landowners have in those local district offices."
It's an interesting visit- and you can take a listen by clicking or tapping here to jump over to our webstory that includes the complete podcast.
|Checking In on the Beef Checkoff- Oklahoma Beef Council Helping Sponsor Curt Pate in Ardmore September 19th
The Noble Research Institute and the Oklahoma Beef Council would like to invite all cattle producers to a seminar featuring nationally recognized cattle handling expert Curt Pate. The seminar will offer ways to work cattle in an efficient, effective, low-stress manner to enhance cattle movement, performance and handler safety.
Human safety, cattle performance, family dynamics, consumer perspectives are all impacted by the way we work cattle on our ranches. Low-stress cattle handling improves producer and family safety, morale and retention. It has also has been proven to improve animal performance, safety, health, meat quality and the perception of the cattle industry. Cattle care and handling is a top concern of consumers. Cattle ranchers and handlers demonstrate their commitment to animal care and consumer concerns by implementing cattle handling procedures to ensure both animal care and human safety.
I talked with Heather Buckmaster of the Beef Council about this upcoming event- you can hear our visit on that and check out details of how to register to be a part of it by clicking or tapping here.
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