~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Oklahoma's latest farm and ranch news
Your Update from Ron Hays of RON for Monday February 12, 2007!A service of Midwest Farm Shows
-- Hello American Farmers & Ranchers Insurance- Good bye Oklahoma Farmers Union Mutual Insurance Company
-- A Window of Opportunity for Disaster Aid- so says Congressman Frank Lucas.
-- Pork and Wheat- both talking equalization!
-- Young Cattle Leaders in the middle of a Three Day Leadership Seminar.
-- Seaboard Facility in Beaver County tapped as the 2007 Oklahoma Environmental Stewardship Award Winner for the Pork Industry.
-- First Farm Broadcaster to Be Inducted into the Oklahoma Broadcasters Association Hall of Fame!
-- Curious Leadership Change by a mostly northern US Cattle Group.
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 Southern Plains Farm Show in Oklahoma City April 19-21, 2007, as well as the Tulsa Farm Show held each December. Check out details of both of these exciting shows at the official website of Midwest Farm Shows by clicking here.
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Hello American Farmers & Ranchers Insurance- Good bye Oklahoma Farmers Union Mutual Insurance Company
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~It was a historic move by the policy holders of the Oklahoma Farmers Union Mutual Insurance Company, as Friday, they overwhelmingly voted to change their name to the American Farmers and Ranchers Mutual Insurance Company, changing their by-laws to be be able to operate not just in all 77 Oklahoma counties- but now in all states (subject to approval by the Oklahoma Insurance Corporation). Only one who stood to speak questioned the move as President Ray Wulf assembled a huge By-Laws Committee chaired by the modern day "Father" of Farmers Union in Oklahoma, George Stone. I counted about 120 members of the By-Laws Committee that were listed in the convention program. Many of them lined up at the microphones to voice their strong support for the name change and expansion to begin to work to become a company with a national footprint. A common argument for the change was the ability to begin to spread the risk from just writing insurance policies right here in the middle of tornado alley.
In talking with President Wulf about the change, he says there is no intention to change the name of the farm organization away from the Oklahoma Farmers Union, but he acknowledged that they would welcome the opportunity to represent farmers and ranchers outside of Oklahoma as a family farm oriented farm organization.
We have linked our conversation with Ray below. When we asked him about which states they might attempt to move into initially- he offered no specific state list- just that they would feel most compatible with the middle part of the country. They have begun selling insurance in the last year in Idaho- but now we know that won't be the last state that AFR will enter. One national reporter contacted OFU officer Terry Detrick and asked if this is a move for OFU to drop their ties with the National Farmers Union. I was told that they told that national reporter no. This question is very important for the National Farmers Union, since the Oklahoma Farmers Union is something like 48% of their total membership. It is conjecture on my part- but we do know that the success of Oklahoma Farmers Union is tied directly with their ability to have a viable insurance company as a partner. That is the same success seen in many other states by Farm Bureau. (including Oklahoma) No other Farmers Union has an insurance partner that matches what is becoming AFR- which means that as this company moves into a state- begins to build a base of rural oriented customers and offers them membership services that are associated with a farm organization- you suddenly have a viable way to fund that farm organization in a successful way. When I asked Ray Wulf is this the start of a new regional or national farm organization- he offered no answer, but only smiled.
A Window of Opportunity for Disaster Aid- so says Congressman Frank Lucas.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~No iron clad promises- but Congressman Frank Lucas is still touting a real chance for Ag Disaster Aid in the immediate future. He says whether it's his bill- or one of the two of three others that are floating around- he will be delighted to work as hard as he can to get one of them pushed through. His measure would allow a producer who has had a loss due to natural disaster in either 2005, 2006 or 2007 to apply for money- with the total amount of aid in his plan likely to come in around $4 billion.
How does the third District Lawmaker plan to get this measure moving? He says, hands down, the best vehicle is the upcoming emergency appropriations measure- which he says has zero chance of being vetoed by President George W. Bush.
We also talked with Congressman Lucas about the Farm Bill timeline, Conservation earmarks and even South Korea and their stubbornness about blocking our beef. Our conversation came after his midday Saturday address before the Oklahoma Farmers Union and we have it linked below!
Pork and Wheat- both talking equalization!
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~We were bouncing back and forth between the 102nd annual meeting of the Oklahoma Farmers Union and the 2007 Oklahoma Pork Congress on Friday- and really enjoyed the Friday Pig Pickin' Lunch of a whole roasted pig being carved up right before your eyes- oh my, it was good! Well, we talked with Oklahoma Pork Council top hired hand Roy Lee Lindsey about some of the key issues regarding 2007 and he told us that their desire at the state capital this year is to make progress in getting the confined hog operations of Oklahoma treated the same when it comes to rules and regs as all other segments of the livestock industry.
At the same time, we talked to Daren Coppock, CEO of the National Association of Wheat Growers, at the Oklahoma Farmers Union later that day and he was also talking about getting more equal treatment for his segment of agriculture- wheat. Coppock was talking about wheat getting treated more equally when it comes to farm program payments compared to all of the other farm program crops. He says that it appears to the NAWG that the USDA farm bill proposal does not advance the need of leveling out farm program payment compensation between various commodities, especially when you see how the slightly higher direct payments are handled.
We talked with both of these gentlemen for our Radio Oklahoma Network programming over the next few days- and we will feature both Roy Lee and Daren over the next couple of days in this email and provide for you audio links about their arguments to help give their respective parts of the ag industry a "fair shake."
Young Cattle Leaders in the middle of a Three Day Leadership Seminar.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Twenty five Oklahoma ranchers are headed for meetings with their state legislators at the Oklahoma State Capitol as part of the training program of the Young Cattlemen’s Leadership Conference hosted by the Oklahoma Cattlemen’s Association,’ according to Scott Dewald, Executive Vice President. “The participants in this conference were nominated by their peers and represent some of the brightest young producers in our state,” Dewald said.
This is a three day training session, which began yesterday with a special four hour media training session with NCBA's Darrin Williams, designed to help these producers become better spokespersons for the cattle industry. This segment was sponsored by the Oklahoma Beef Council, who has utilized the talents of Williams here in the state in previous training sessions.
Today is day two- and much of it will be spent at the State Capitol where the group will be able to observe Committees as they meet, hear from key state officials, have lunch with the House and Senate Ag Committees and then go and meet individually with their lawmakers one on one. Tuesday will wrap up the Conference as the young cattlemen will have a chance to participate in a regular quarterly board meeting of the OCA.
Seaboard Facility in Beaver County tapped as the 2007 Oklahoma Environmental Stewardship Award Winner for the Pork Industry.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Seaboard's Wakefield Farm has been named the 2007 Oklahoma Environmental Stewardship Award recipient. Oklahoma Pork Council top hired hand Roy Lee Lindsey, Jr. calls this "one of the most sophisticated swine production facilities in the country," adding that "Seaboard has clearly gone above and beyond in their efforts to protect the environment and Oklahoma's precious natural resources."
Wakefield Farm is a 1,200 acre operation that has a total of 26,000 sows using what they call a seven stage waste treatment that addresses everything to do with the manure and urine from those animals. They carefully treat both the liquid and solid waste- coming up with usable liquid fertilizer used in the immediate area, while the solid waste ends up being composted and sold as a valuable soil conditioner and treatment. The Wakefield Farm also deals with odor head-on, and has developed operations that are well beyond what regulations might require- this in a state where we have some of the toughest regulations on the hog industry of any state in the country.
The Wakefield story will be submitted to the National Pork Board as a candidate for the 2007 National Environmental Steward Award. Oklahoma has been very successful in getting their state winners recognized nationally as well, as Oklahoma has had six National Environmental Stewardship Award winners over the last eight years, the most for any single state in the country.
First Farm Broadcaster to Be Inducted into the Oklahoma Broadcasters Association Hall of Fame!
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~That honor will be bestowed on yours truly March 16th during the annual meeting of the OAB in Tulsa. We were notified of this honor this past Thursday and several have now seen some of the publicity that is starting to come out on this honor- so I wanted to acknowledge the many kind things several of you have said to me the last few days.
Obviously, hanging around since the 1970s is part of the reason for this award- but I hope that with this selection, we can spotlight the most important industry in our state- our industry- Agriculture! It's also very humbling to realize that my name will be on the same list with a lot of legendary radio and TV broadcasters that have been involved in the business one way or the other- either by serving for many years within the state of Oklahoma in the Broadcast business and making an impact along the way- or in many cases- people who have been born in Oklahoma- got their start here and moved on to have national impact int he industry. The list is impressive- Paul Harvey, Curt Gowdy, Will Rogers, Gary England and it goes on and on.
As we mentioned- when my name is included- I would hope that this would jog the memory about some of the other incredible broadcast talents that have been a part of the Oklahoma farm broadcast fraternity- names like Russell Pierson of WKY Radio-TV, Wayne Liles and Bill Hare of KWTV, Sam Schneider of KVOO Radio as well as Carl Meyerdirk, also of KVOO in Tulsa. I am pleased to tell you that three of these broadcast legends do have a place in the National Association of Farm Broadcasters Hall of Fame- Sam Schneider who was a broadcaster in the early 1950s, Russell Pierson and Wayne Liles. Of those three, Russell is still alive and continues to reside in Oklahoma City.
Curious Leadership Change by a mostly northern US Cattle Group.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Apparently, rancher Chuck Kiker from southeast Texas was not strident enough when it came to the Canadian cattle issue for some of the northern board members of the group known as R- Calf USA. This group has been known as a single issue group during much of its existence- and based on a news release announcing that their National President has been demoted to being just a board member and replaced by a Missouri veterinarian who apparently is willing to keep their single issue at the top of their agenda to the exclusion of most other issues.
Dr. Max Thornsberry is the new National President of the group- and it's interesting to note that the News Release on this matter goes all out to explain that their officers serve at the pleasure of the board of directors- not the general membership and it's no big deal to force someone off and replace him with someone new. The board also voted during the same meeting where Kiker was thrown out and Thornsberry was proclaimed President to aggressively pursue R- CALF USA’s membership policies with regard to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA’s) proposed rule to import Canadian cattle that are over 30 months of age, and to continue to address Canada’s problems with bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE).
R-Calf has grown beyond it's original geography of Montana and surrounding states as interest grew among U.S. cattlemen about the issue of Canadian cattle coming into the United States. When we had the dairy cow from Canada that tested positive for BSE in December 2003- that gave the group a fresh boost on their primary issue- and now we have affirmation with this latest leadership move that unless you pay attention to this issue of Canadian cattle entering the US and are willing to put all your resources into fighting this battle in court and in all other arenas- you aren't fit to be President of this group. I believe that in the circus that an animal that can only do one trick and can't handle the rest of the act is called a One Trick Pony. R-Calf was founded on cattle producers being concerned about live cattle coming across the border from Canada- and they have had problems getting beyond the Canadian cattle ban they desire and establishing credibility as a group that can deal with more than their founding issue.
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