~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Oklahoma's latest farm and ranch news
Your Update from Ron Hays of RON for Monday March 5, 2007!A service of Midwest Farm Shows
-- The Speaker of the House spends the ENTIRE evening with farmers and ranchers!
-- Second in Command as a Headliner at the NFU meeting- House Ag Committee Chairman Collin Peterson (and his band!)
-- OFU at NFU
-- Farm Bureau's Terry Francl on Ethanol
-- First Hollow Stem popping up in more and more wheat varieties- Have you checked your fields?
-- Schwab with some plain talk at Commodity Classic
-- Fat Lady Singing for Ray Wulf and his position as a NFU National Officer
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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The Speaker of the House spends the ENTIRE evening with farmers and ranchers!
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~It was a remarkable evening- especially when you step back and look at the opening banquet of the National Farmers Union. It was a incredibly long program- three hours or so and quite a partisan event. At the head table, you had the Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives (third in line to the Presidency), the Democratic chairman of the House Ag Committee, one honoree of the organization that could well be called the Godfather of Food Stamps that worked back in the Kennedy Administration as well as NFU President Tom Buis.
The Speaker sat through all of introductions, speeches and awards before she got her chance to speak- and when she did, the crowd loved her. There were several highlights as she spoke for more than 30 minutes- but probably number one was the announcement that she was committed to including Ag Disaster Aid in the Iraq Supplemental Emergency Spending Bill. She did call on those in attendance to encourage the President not to veto the package when it makes its way to him.
She also pledged no "back room deals" on the 2007 Farm Bill in the House as she says that it will be an open process, starting with the Sub-Committees and then moving from there. This is the same approach that Collin Peterson has stated will occur as well- Peterson telling us that this is the first time he thinks that has a chance to actually happen since the 1981 bill. She also spoke of her desire to see significant monies invested into biofuels- especially cellulosic ethanol research and development. She did mention at this point that she hoped to work with the President on renewables- based on his comments in the last two State of the Union addresses. Outside of that- it was a pure blue night- and most of the folks in the banquet hall loved it. By the way, after the program- Mrs. Pelosi spent close to an hour talking to the media (briefly) and mostly talking to the audience that lined up to get pictures, autographs and to say hello. She worked the crowd and then even danced a bit to the music of the Second Amendments- the band of Congressmen led by Collin Peterson who played everything from Brown Sugar by the Stones to some of the classics from Merle Haggard.
Second in Command as a Headliner at the NFU meeting- House Ag Committee Chairman Collin Peterson (and his band!)
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Before we talk policy- I mentioned the Second Amendments in the story above- and ya know, they were really pretty darn good- and the four members of Congress that play with Collin Peterson are all Republicans.
Peterson spoke for a few minutes Friday evening as he introduced the Democratic Speaker of the U.S. House, Nancy Pelosi to the NFU congregation- and then spoke at length Saturday morning about his views on where we stand on farm bill proposals and where he thinks we will end up later here in 2007.
Peterson says flatly that he sees NO WAY that President Bush will veto the Iraqi War Supplemental if Congress does hang onto it three to four billion dollars in ag disaster aid. Peterson sees a real negotiation ahead on how many dollars we will get from the Budget Committee- he says that on both the Disaster Aid measure as well as a Farm Bill budget number- he will be meeting face to face with Budget Committee officials later today (Monday) which gives him the chance to plead his case for as many dollars in both cases as this budget baseline battle is job one with the House Ag Committee. We held a "mini" news conference with several members of the NAFB gathering around the Chairman with our Mics and threw questions at him all around- click below to listen to some of those remarks from Chairman Peterson.
OFU at NFU
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~About 75 members of the Oklahoma Farmers Union made the trip to Orlando for their 105th national convention of the National Farmers Union that will be wrapping up sometime after lunch today. Ray Wulf, NFU Secretary and the President of the Oklahoma Farmers Union, gave a membership update to the Convention on Saturday morning- pointing out that total NFU membership now stands at just over 244,000 members nationally, with over a 100,000 of them members of the Oklahoma Farmers Union.
OFU contributes about $440,000 of dues money to the NFU, out of $1.1 million dollars now collected, which means that OFU is far and away the largest state in the National Farmers Union. At the bottom of today's email- we provided for you details about Ray Wulf's final report as Secretary of the NFU- so you can check that out.
In talking with Ray as well as with Paul Jackson, several Oklahoma resolutions have been inserted into national policy that will be finalized later today. That includes language within the NFU farm bill parameters as well as language on biofuels and more. Oklahoma Farmers Union also is working to get language within NFU policy dealing with truck weights at a federal level.
Farm Bureau's Terry Francl on Ethanol
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Terry Francl, Economist for the American Farm Bureau Federation out of their Washington headquarters, was in attendance at the end of this past week in Tampa at the 11th Commodity Classic. In their recent Economic Update for February, Francl was clearly showing bullishness about corn acres and production over the next couple of years.
Farm Broadcast colleague Jeff Nalley from Kentucky caught up with Francl while he was at Commodity Classic to get an update on the AFBF ethanol numbers. We have that interview linked below for your consideration.
AFBF's Francl says the ethanol industry is expanding faster than what most people are expecting. Francl says the corn ethanol useage figure will jump from 3.6 billion bushels in the 2007-08 crop year up to 4.9 billion bushels in the 2008-09. Francl says there are a few reports where current corn prices may be slowing some expansion of the ethanol business- but overall, he believes that most of the commercial sized plants remain profitable with $4.00 corn.
First Hollow Stem popping up in more and more wheat varieties- Have you checked your fields?
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~The March 2nd Wheat Production Newsletter is out from OSU's Dr. Jeff Edwards and it shows that most of the early maturity varieties planted in mid September in both Stillwater and in El Reno(conventional tillage) are now at or beyond first hollow stem. This is a strong suggestion that if you are grazing cattle on wheat anywhere in Oklahoma- outside of the Panhandle- you need to be checking those fields very closely to make sure you fields are not yet at that stage- and of course, once they reach that point of development- you have to pull them off those fields to preserve the maximum grain yield potential if you intend to harvest for grain.
The two exceptions at this point are in El Reno and in the Panhandle. Dr. Edwards writes "The delay in the onset of first hollow stem in our no-till plots at El Reno is interesting, to say the least. When we initiated these no-till vs. conventional till plots our working hypothesis was that there would be no difference in development of first hollow stem between the conventional till and no-till variety plots. According to these preliminary data, our hypothesis was wrong. The no-till plots are about one week behind the conventional till plots in terms of first hollow stem. The most likely reason for the delayed development in the no-till plots is cooler soil temperatures.We will continue this work over the next few years to see if this trend is a one-hit wonder or if it holds true across environments."
The other exception to being at First Hollow Stem is in the Panhandle- Edwards reports that OSU folks are watching closely as we get closer to this developmental stage in those counties. We have the latest Wheat Production Newsletter linked on the front page of our website, as well as having it linked directly for you below if you want to review the specifics on the varieties.
Schwab with some plain talk at Commodity Classic
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~I had not seen Susan Schwab up close and personal before this past Friday at Commodity Classic- and I came away most impressed with our Trade Ambassador. She is a bright articulate lady who will actually answer questions like a real person might answer them- instead of what I have heard from some of our diplomats in previous encounters where you don't have a clue what they said and you kinda feel the need for a shower after the encounter was over.
Ambassador Schwab says that she is "cautiously optimistic" about a Doha success- but really backed away from other statements that were saying a breakthrough could happen really quickly. She says it is not days away- but perhaps months away from happening.
I asked her of the OIE preliminary ruling that one wire service has reported this past week- she professed she had not gotten any word that the OIE had indeed put that out as of yet- but that the USTR's office will press Korea with this information once we have details. And, she says while we can never dictate to a country about their food safety standards- the reality with South Korea is that she sees no chance for a Free Trade Agreement with the US unless they open their market to US beef. She promises they will push for all countries- including Korea- to accept our beef based on OIE standards.
Fat Lady Singing for Ray Wulf and his position as a NFU National Officer
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~The President of the Oklahoma Farmers Union as well as CEO of American Farmers and Ranchers Mutual Insurance Company says that when we listened and recorded his brief remarks before the National Farmers Union Convention on Saturday morning- that was his final report as Secretary of the NFU organization. The decision seems to be both a matter of time that Wulf does not have that he must spend on that position- as well as misgivings over the partisan nature of the National Farmers Union.
Wulf tells us the Friday evening opening banquet inspired him to compile and offer several quotes from one of the Texas Farmers Union members back in 1905 during the pioneer days of Farmers Union- as Wulf says Farmers Union founding father O.P. Pyle said over a hundred years ago the reason that Farmers Union was founded was to help control markets to the benefit of farmers- and that there was no room in this young organization at the beginning of the last century for partisan politics. Wulf told the NFU Saturday morning session that "certainly we heard a lot of bi-partisan talk last night from the Speaker and others that were there." As I reported earlier, most of the Friday night event had the feel of a political camp meeting- there was one reference early in Mrs. Pelosi's speech about the fact that traditionally farm policy is written in a bi- partisan way, and she thinks that can continue.
Ray Wulf offered a few figures that reminded the rest of the National Farmers Union how important OFU is to the well-being of the group's national efforts. One example he used as he talked about the over all makeup of revenues for NFU is that more than 45% of the dues dollars collected for NFU come from Oklahoma. Of course, the reason that Oklahoma has long been the dominant state in membership for the NFU is the fact that leaders like George Stone right on down to Ray Wulf today have nurtured a strong and viable Mutual Insurance Company- that has been a core member service and made Oklahoma the only state in the organization to ever have more than 100,000 members. And that tradition may well be carried beyond our state through the visionary efforts to birth American Farmers and Ranchers Mutual Insurance Company from OFU. I thought Ray did a great job in offering up some real food for thought for much of the rest of the NFU here in 2007- and we have linked those comments below.
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