~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Oklahoma's latest farm and ranch news
Your Update from Ron Hays of RON for Monday June 25, 2007!A service of Midwest Farm Shows
-- Wheat Harvest Rolls in the Panhandle- remains mostly stuck in the mud elsewhere.
-- The Profile of Ethanol keeps rising- and the costs of the biofuel are becoming more scruntized every day!
-- Trying to harvest votes- we catch up with Ericka McPherson.
-- This week- we spotlight some of the conversations we had on farm policy while in Washington
-- Cattle on Feed- Back Above Levels of a Year Ago.
-- Ray Wulf In the Field with Ron Hays this past Saturday.
-- This week- OCA Ranch Tour Underway- Regents to Decide on Earmark Allocations.
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 recently concluded Southern Plains Farm Show in Oklahoma City, 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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Wheat Harvest Rolls in the Panhandle- remains mostly stuck in the mud elsewhere.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~The rains became more variable all across the body of the state of Oklahoma since Friday- but still kept a lot of folks from being able to move forward with harvest in this frustrating 2007 Wheat Harvest season.
Mark Hodges with the Oklahoma Wheat Commission reports that it is still too soft in most downstate Oklahoma wheat fields to get combines into the wheat and resume cutting. It is worse in north central Oklahoma than in west central counties from the reports we have been receiving. We did get a picture from harvest of last week in the Weatherford area that we really enjoyed- you might call it "Wind and Wheat- Harvestime!" and we have it posted up on our web site under Today's Agricultural News on our main page at WWW.OklahomaFarmReport.Com. We have this page linked below and we will have Mark's audio update posted there this morning and you might check back after lunch today for further updates as we have received them from folks like YOU that have told us their harvest stories.
Hodges does report that harvest has made good progress in the three Panhandle counties- 50% done in Beaver County, 40% done in Texas County and 30% complete in Cimarron County. Yields are often above 40 bushels per acre and test weights have been excellent- 61 to 62 pounds per bushel. It truly is a tale of two harvests this year- the Panhandle and then the rest of the state.
The Profile of Ethanol keeps rising- and the costs of the biofuel are becoming more scruntized every day!
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~In recent weeks, we have noticed more and more stories in the general media about higher corn prices and how that translates into higher costs for many food and non-food items for consumers.
Time Magazine has done a major piece on higher food costs and it was highlighted by a "seek and find" puzzle showing a soccer mom and her two kids gassing up the family SUV at a gas station that features a large banner proclaiming "Ethanol is Here!" Time challenges the readers to find 20 items in the puzzle whose price may rise as more corn is turned into ethanol.
We have the Time coverage linked below- the article is entitled No Free Lunch and talks about the cost of biofuels as well as some of the other issues related to current food prices. The author does remind readers that food is still a relative bargain in this country compared to the rest of the world.
Trying to harvest votes- we catch up with Ericka McPherson.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~It was like old home week while we were in Washington this past week- as we walked into the hotel we were staying at- and there was Brent Kisling- Oklahoma USDA Rural Development Director- in Washington for a conference. Then in the hallway of one of the House office buildings, we bump into Ericka McPherson of Oklahoma Farm Bureau, in DC this past week- navigating the halls of Congress with members from the Alabama Farm Bureau to drum up support for a bill co-sponsored by Dan Boren and Mary Fallin of the Oklahoma Delegation, 1757, which would alter the definition of a Commercial Motor Carrier from a minimum weight of 10,000 pounds now up to 26,000 pounds.
We also ran into Michael Kelsey with the Nebraska Cattlemen while in Washington last week- he is their Executive Director and he was the top hired hand for the Oklahoma Beef Council before pulling up stakes and heading north to Husker land. Kelsey and his cattlemen were lobbying the cattle industry's position regarding ethanol. Also promoting that position were members of the Texas Cattle Feeders Association- who represent feedlots in New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas. We tried to catch up with Ross Wilson- but he headed west before we tracked him down.
Back to Ericka, we chatted with her briefly while we were in DC this past week- and she gave us a quick overview on two issues that she continues to work on- Manure and Truck weights. We have that linked for you below.
This week- we spotlight some of the conversations we had on farm policy while in Washington
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Our thanks for Ray Wulf and the folks at the Oklahoma Farmers Union for including us in their end of spring legislative fly in to Washington this past week. It was a very busy week in Washington for agriculture, even by Washington standards- and one of the things we were able to do while in our nation's capitol was to sit down and talk with several players in the farm bill debate beyond the players we normally have conversations with. We talk regularly with folks from the major farm organizations, members of the Agriculture Committees, USDA and Land Grant Universities.
But the number of folks interested in the pot of money that resides in the farm bill goes well beyond that universe of people that we normally quote for you. So, the next three days- we want to share with you three viewpoints of folks who want to turn traditional farm support programs out to pasture. The first of these players is Congressman Ron Kind of Wisconsin.
We reported to you last week about Congressman Kind's proposal, Farm21, being rejected by an 18 to nothing unanimous vote. This was the measure that got Frank Lucas' blood pressure moving north. So, let's hear what the author of the measure that would end commodity programs as we know them has to say in his own defense. We have linked below our conversation with Ron Kind, as he took time for us during a committee meeting of the House Ways and Means Committee. It was not one of these "hurry up and finish" situations- Kind was very relaxed and willing to take plenty of time to explain his view of where farm policy needs to head. Click below and take a listen.
Cattle on Feed- Back Above Levels of a Year Ago.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~In this month's USDA Cattle on Feed report, we bounced back above year ago levels in the number of cattle in our feedlots- 11.27 million cattle as of June first. There were 13% more cattle placed into feedlots in May compared to 2006, while marketings were three percent under May 2006.
These numbers came in larger than what the experts were expecting, but OSU Livestock Marketing Specialist Dr. Derrell Peel says you need to keep these numbers in a multi year perspective. "Placements were somewhat higher than expected and marketings were a bit lower leading to an on-feed total roughly one percent higher than anticipated in the pre-report estimates. This may add additional pressure to fed cattle markets already on the defensive. However, the bearish tone of this report should not be overstated. The placement number is large relative to last year's drought reduced May placement figure and is actually 2.5 percent below the previous five-year average. "
Peel adds "Beyond a casual reading, the report also confirms a number of ongoing shifts in the character and demographics of the feedlot industry. First, is the shift to heavier placements and feeding of yearlings versus calves. Placements of cattle over 700 pounds were up 25 percent from last year while placement of cattle less than 700 pounds were down 2 percent. Some of the increase in placement weights is due to the comparison to last year's drought reduced cattle weights, but much is due to higher feed costs this year. Secondly, cattle feeding continues to shift to the Midwest for the time being. Cattle inventories were highest compared to last year in Iowa and Nebraska, up 11 and 8 percent respectively, compared to Kansas, Texas and Oklahoma, down 5, 3 and 1 percent respectively. This is indicative of the proximity to distillers grain, reduced feed and forage supplies in the southern plains and increased feed transportation costs. The severe difficulties with the current wheat harvest in Oklahoma and Kansas is resulting in large supplies of low quality wheat which will be used as feed and will provide some new feed source opportunities for southern plains feeders."
Ray Wulf In the Field with Ron Hays this past Saturday.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~We chatted with Ray Wulf, President of the Oklahoma Farmers Union as well as the top officer of American Farmers and Ranchers Mutual Insurance Company on our TV segment Saturday morning on KWTV, News9 in Oklahoma City.
We talked about their name change for the insurance company as well as some of the key issues they were working on this past week while in Washington for a end of spring fly in that caught the House Ag Committee marking up the Commodity Title of the 2007 Farm Bill.
In case you missed our segment with Ray and wanted to talk a look- we have the link for it below- check it out!
This week- OCA Ranch Tour Underway- Regents to Decide on Earmark Allocations.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~The 2007 Oklahoma Cattlemen's Association Summer Ranch Tour is underway along the very muddy Chisolm Trail as a pair of buses headed out on Sunday afternoon for southwestern Oklahoma. One of the highlights today will be time on the Stuart Ranch- the oldest ranch in the state of Oklahoma. They will also have a big dinner tonight and a chance to enjoy the Chisolm Trail Center in Duncan. Tomorrow- they work their way north back toward Oklahoma City.
This Thursday, the Regents for Higher Education for the State of Oklahoma has a special meeting planned in which they are expected to make a final determination on how $34 million in money earmarked by the Legislature will be handled here for the coming fiscal year.
The Regents seem to resent the fact that Lawmakers have specified how a small portion of the funds destined for Higher Ed in this state will be spent- including $2.9 million in catch up monies earmarked for OSU Extension and the OSU Ag Experiment Station. Farm Groups here in the state have met on the issue- have met with OSU Interim President Marlene Strathe and I have been told there are two likely outcomes for this Thursday. A worse case scenario is a total reallocation of the monies- which would cost Extension and Research programs in the Division of Agriculture at least a million dollars of the $2.9 that the State Lawmakers wanted the programs to have. A second, better outcome, might be for a percentage of the monies to be subtracted to cover some debt service for some of the smaller colleges here in the state that the Higher Regents say should have been funded- that would likely provide Ag interests $2.4 million of the $2.9 million that was earmarked. It is not likely that the full $2.9 million will be provided to the Extension and Experiment Station programs. Dean Robert Whitson told us earlier this month that the funds are badly needed to help restore several positions and programs that have been deemed as critical in the mission of the Division of Ag to serve rural Oklahoma.
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