~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Oklahoma's latest farm and ranch news
Your Update from Ron Hays of RON for Tuesday November 7, 2006A service of Midwest Farm Shows
-- It's Election Day- and the stakes are high!
-- The death of Justin Whitefield stuns the Oklahoma Ag Community!
-- Paul Hitch on Animal ID
-- Laura Johnston Monchuk goes back to work fulltime with NFU as Head of Education efforts.
-- Harvest moves well this past week across Oklahoma
-- This evening on Channel 9 in Oklahoma City- Jim Hadwiger talks about how farmers move towards retirement.
-- Oklahoma Farm Bureau meets this coming weekend!
Here's your morning farm news headlines from the Director of Farm Programming for the Radio Oklahoma Network, Ron Hays. Our email this morning is a service of Midwest Farm Shows, featuring the Tulsa Farm Show December 7-9, 2006 and the Southern Plains Farm Show in Oklahoma City April 19-21, 2007. Check out details of both of these exciting shows at the official website of Midwest Farm Shows by clicking here.
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It's Election Day- and the stakes are high!
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Get out and Vote! That's the message that every farm group leader that we have talked to in the last few days has said as they hope that rural Oklahoma will have a huge percentage of eligible voters who turn out and vote. If that percentage is high, it gets a politician's attention as they realize that a block that actually votes is a lot more dangerous to ignore than a group that just doesn't show up in large numbers to put their ballot through the machine.
At the state level, everyone agrees that it will take a lot going the Republicans way to see the Senate become a GOP controlled body- but it may get closer than ever to being a fifty fifty body. Three races in Senate Districts that saw their members of the Senate term limit out may hold the key- Districts 2, 12 and 26. Our farm group lobbyists also agree that the one statewide race that is simply too close to call is the Lt. Governor contest- and it's ironic that this race might ultimately control how the Senate leans if it ends up fifty fifty.
Nationally, the polls still suggest that the Republicans will lose the House and that could mean some significant changes in policies important to agriculture. A lot of people expect the Lame Duck Session of Congress will produce an ag disaster aid package no matter who wins- Democrats, including the man who will become Ag Committee Chairman if the Democrats seize control, Colin Peterson of Minnesota, has been critical of the Republican leadership for blocking aid to farmers and ranchers. It's also likely that a Democratic victory could mean that farmers might get their wish of a two year extension of current farm policy- again, Democratic leaders seem to have sympathy for that call. We will have special coverage through the evening and we have a special link on our website that we have linked below for you to check after the polls close this evening.
The death of Justin Whitefield stuns the Oklahoma Ag Community!
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~I got to know Justin Whitefield in the winter of 2000 as he and the other members of Class IX of the Oklahoma Ag Leadership Program traveled to South America and the country of Argentina. As we traveled from Buenos Aires down the coast to the Mar Del Plata and then inland- we saw a variety of agriculture across the countryside- and in getting to know several of these young leaders during the bus rides and at night- Justin was so personable and at the same time- you could tell that he and several others in that group were especially squeezing every experience for all it was worth as we met people and they told their story to us. There was always a full daily agenda- OALP Director for that class Dr. Bob Terry saw to that, but Justin and the rest of Class IX were always ready for more.
Later as we have covered the Oklahoma Youth Expo- Justin was very serious about the business of supporting the youth of the state- he demanded excellence and it showed in everything he did. So, the death of Whitefield this past weekend will leave a void- at both the Oklahoma Farm Bureau where he handled multiple positions as a legal advisor and lobbyist for the insurance company- and at the Oklahoma Youth Expo, where he took a junior livestock show that perhaps had seen its better days and led the rejuvenation of the event into what was quickly becoming the equal of the legendary Houston and National Western Shows- and in a lot of ways- getting ready to really leave those events in the dust. Unfortunately for the youth of Oklahoma, Justin won't get to finish what he started. The good news is that whoever takes the reins of that event takes an event that is on the rise and poised for greatness- a real tribute to the talents of Justin Whitefield.
The Bank of Western Oklahoma, a strong supporter of Oklahoma youth whose President Jimmy Harrel had worked with Justin at the Youth Expo, has set up a Memorial in remembrance of Justin Whitefield. Harrel says the monies will go to youth scholarships and other similar programs in honor of the deceased Oklahoma Youth Expo leader- the phone number for more information on that is 580-225-3434.
Whitefield's plane that he had just purchased in partnership with a friend crashed late Saturday night in eastern Arkansas, ending his life and those of two others. You can click below and hear our audio feature from yesterday midday with Matt Wilson, Executive Director of the Oklahoma Farm Bureau on Justin Whitefield.
Paul Hitch on Animal ID
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~The Vice President of the National Cattlemen's Beef Association, Paul Hitch, says that he hopes people will sign up for Premise ID as it is a key element in making an animal traceback effort work, which is really what Animal ID is all about. The organization that Paul represents has said many times, including in an op-ed piece they have released yesterday from current NCBA President Mike John of Missouri, that Animal ID should be Voluntary, Private(keep the info confidential) and market-driven.
Obviously, market driven crosses over the lines a bit as you then start considering the issue of source verification, which actually is more information than what the government says is needed for a 48 hour animal disease traceback. But Paul Hitch points out that, here's where the potential payback comes in- premiums for age verified cattle are out there right now, especially for cattle that could qualify for the Asian beef market.
You can hear Paul's comments on Animal ID by clicking below as we continue to have Paul as our Beef Buzz guest on the Radio Oklahoma Network.
Laura Johnston Monchuk goes back to work fulltime with NFU as Head of Education efforts.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~I've heard about commuting to work- but our friend Laura Johnston Monchuk is planning an international commute as needed to cover her new duties for Tom Buis and the National Farmers Union as the newly appointed Director of Youth and Education Programs. Laura is from Oklahoma, and worked for Oklahoma Farmers Union as their Communications Director for several years before heading to Washington and taking on that same role for the NFU.
While in Washington, Laura met her future husband who was working for the Canadian Embassy in our nation's capitol. They came back to Oklahoma City for their wedding a couple of years ago- and then moved to Canada. Laura has done several projects for NFU since that time- but has decided that she wants to jump into a full time role for the general farm organization once again.
In her new role, she will oversee youth activities, such as NFU’s annual All-States Youth Leadership Camp, collegiate chapters, internships, scholarships and outreach. She will also be assisting with the development of adult educational seminars on leadership development, carbon sequestration and other agricultural issues. NFU President Tom Buis tells us that he is delighted to have Laura rejoin the NFU staff- and looks forward to a fresh emphasis in both youth and adult education.
Harvest moves well this past week across Oklahoma
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~The latest Oklahoma Crop Weather update shows that we made good progress in harvesting our 2006 spring planted crops- and we have heard that from talking directly to farmers as well- Paul Hitch, for example, tells us that they are busy harvesting sunflowers. Back to the Crop Weather Update- we jumped 19 percentage points in the combining of our peanuts this past week; cotton harvest advanced 12 percentage points; soybeans 12 percentage points but grain sorghum lagged a bit- advancing just three percentage points from a week ago and at 48% complete, is well behind the five year average of 68%.
Mark Hodges pretty well sums up the bleak situation that some of our best wheat country is facing here in 2006- it looks a lot like 2005! The driest area of the state when it comes to lack of rainfall in the last sixty days sits right on top of the our traditionally largest wheat producing counties- and Mark reminds us that what we have reported earlier in that part of the state remains true- a lot of our soils have the consistency of flour- it's just that dry. The wheat crop is rated one third in good shape, about a third in fair shape and slightly under one third in poor to very poor conditions this first full week of November.
The rains of Sunday are not fully reflected in the soil moisture ratings in the state this week, while those rains have still not helped pasture and range conditions all that much. We remain at 61% poor to very poor on our pasture conditions- and while there is no national pasture condition this week as we wind down the season- I suspect we still have the third or fourth worse set of pasture conditions in the country- the last several weeks only California and Wyoming have been worse.
This evening on Channel 9 in Oklahoma City- Jim Hadwiger talks about how farmers move towards retirement.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~A special piece on how farmers and ranchers approach retirement years will be a part of the 6 pm evening news tonight on KWTV, Channel 9 in Oklahoma City. Reporter Rosa Flores went to Cherokee, Oklahoma and visited with Jim Hadwiger about how he is moving in the direction of retirement.
Hadwiger indicates that one way that he is easing into less of a load in his farming operation is by cutting back on wheat acres, and trying to not buy any new equipment. You can see Jim's story on Channel 9 this evening- and in tomorrow's E-mail, we will have a link to that piece for those of you that might miss this story on what is really a tough subject for so many in farming and ranching- how to work the endgame of your enterprise.
Oklahoma Farm Bureau meets this coming weekend!
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~A quick reminder that the annual meeting of the Oklahoma Farm Bureau kicks off Friday morning at the Southern Hills Marriott in Tulsa and runs through midday Sunday. Friday, the general farm group will get instant analysis about prospects for disaster aid, the farm bill- do we extend or write new? and trade issues with WTO floundering from the President of the American Farm Bureau, Bob Stallman.
They hand out their major awards on Friday evening, and will be working on policy positions that have bubbled up from the county Farm Bureaus through their resolution process Friday and especially on Saturday. While they are running over three days officially, it feels like they have slimmed the meeting down a bit, with all resolution work to be complete Saturday afternoon before their annual banquet.
We'll be covering the annual meeting of the general farm organization this weekend- and will have a full look at key delegate decisions made this weekend in Tulsa next Monday- both on our Monday morning farm radio reports, as well as right here in this E-mail update.
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