~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Oklahoma's latest farm and ranch news
Your Update from Ron Hays of RON for Thursday June 28, 2007!A service of Midwest Farm Shows
-- The Rains Continue as One Observer calls the 2007 Harvest Season a "Mounting Harvest Disaster"
-- The End of an Era- Mason Mungle's last day at Oklahoma Farmers Union.
-- Speaking of China- Class Thirteen of the OALP will be headed for the PRC next February.
-- Changes in Terry Peach's office at the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture.
-- How About a Nice Buyout? The Cato Plan to End Farm Support Programs Altogether!
-- A Beef Export Destination with Money! Now that's worth getting excited about!
-- Oklahoma in on just one project in USDA's Conservation Innovation Grants.
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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The Rains Continue as One Observer calls the 2007 Harvest Season a "Mounting Harvest Disaster"
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~As the rains continue, Canadian County Extension Agent Brad Tipton adds one more "nail" in the coffin that holds the remains of this 2007 Oklahoma Wheat Harvest. Tipton emails us and says that "reports are that several of the few loads delivered last week had 3% sprout damaged kernels. Whatever wheat producers manage to 'salvage' at this point might well end up no better than feed grade wheat at this stage of the mounting harvest disaster." Thanks Brad for that word- and I suspect that some folks are hoping to get into their wheat fields and have enough bushels to make it worthwhile to cut- even if it ends up being feed wheat. With relatively high grain prices, that could help pay at least some of the bills.
While absolutely nothing is going on in the body of the state when it comes to harvest- the reports from the Panhandle continue to be solid. We have a report from a farm lady in Beaver County. One field of straight Endurance produced 57 bushels per acre. She had one field that was part Endurance and part Jagalene. The Endurance produced 53 bushels per acre and the Jagalene 34, she blames the rust for the significant difference. Another comparison, the 53 bushels per acre Endurance was sprayed for mustard while yet another field of Endurance was not and it's yield dropped to 39 bushels per acre. The management decisions that farmers made in the last few weeks before harvest did pay dividends, at least for those who were able to get in with a combine before the rains set in.
The forecast continues to suggest that the upper low that is helping funnel this moisture into Oklahoma is likely to hang on for several more days. It may be the Fourth of July before we will have the "hope" of the traditional summertime High Pressure Ridge that gives us hot, dry conditions most years could begin to build. Can you believe that we are talking about being hopeful that a ridge of High Pressure will camp out over us as we hit July? We have the link below to our front page on our website- and we will update a wheat harvest report later this morning- information being on the limited side of things.
The End of an Era- Mason Mungle's last day at Oklahoma Farmers Union.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~That last day for Mason was actually yesterday. He leaves as the Head of Legislative Services for the general farm organization and will become the President of Farmers Royalty Company as of next Monday.
We set down and visited with this friend of ours that we have known since we were both in Class I of the Oklahoma Ag Leadership Program- we got to know each other pretty well over those two years that included a couple of weeks on the road in Mainland China.
We asked Mason what he was particularly proud of in regards to his service in working with members of the Legislature. He pointed to the excellent relationship that has developed between the various agricultural groups and interests over the last two or three years- and gave credit to Terry Peach for encouraging groups to participate and to support one another in the various issues that were important to rural Oklahoma. He pointed specifically to the Manure Definition bill as a HIGH achievement this past year as this measure passed the State House and Senate and was signed into law by the Governor. We talked for several minutes about the past and what's ahead for those that will be working on behalf of agriculture in the days ahead- and we have that audio conversation linked below.
Speaking of China- Class Thirteen of the OALP will be headed for the PRC next February.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~For the third time in the history of the Oklahoma Ag Leadership Program, class members will pack their bags and head for the People's Republic of China next February. Director for the Program, Dr. Joe Williams, has told the class and supporters that "The capstone experience for each OALP class is an international experience. The purpose of this experience is to provide class members the opportunity to become more articulate spokespersons who understand what is occurring in other parts of the world which have potential for significant impact upon their own businesses and lives. The goals of the international experience are to arrange for first-hand viewing of and involvement with food and fiber productions systems, social and cultural systems, religions and customs, trade relations and economic systems."
The China itinerary is still being fine tuned, but it appears that the group will begin in Bejing, then have additional stops in and near Xian and Shanghai. China continues to make huge strides in becoming a World Power, and is both a major customer of US farm goods and a major exporter of ag products, both bulk commodities and value added.
Dr. Williams and supporters of the OALP continue to work with some Oklahoma and commodity group connections to further enhance the study experience, which will include time with both Chinese agricultural authorities, farmers and US representatives that are on the scene in this dynamic country.
Changes in Terry Peach's office at the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Sharon Higbie has been one of the constants to be found at the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture- but her smiling face will be absent from the outer offices from State Secretary of Agriculture Terry Peach after this week. Sharon is retiring after thirty years at the ODA. She tells me that she has worked there under five different Commissioners of Agriculture, has loved it, but is ready to move on. A special retirement party was held for Sharon earlier this week.
Also announcing her resignation, and this one caught a lot of us by surprise, was the word coming from Amber Lawles that she plans to leave the ODAFF as well a week from tomorrow. In an email sent to ag groups and others, Amber says "After much thought and consideration, I have decided to resign my position as Associate Commissioner for the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, Food and Forestry effective Friday, July 6. The choice to leave is not easy, but there are times when change is necessary, and the time for me is now. " She tells me that she wants to spend more time with her eight month old child, but will also be exploring some other opportunities, possibly within the ag community. Amber is currently serving as the Associate Commissioner under Terry Peach.
It goes without saying, but I am certain that Terry Peach will miss having these two ladies on his team- and those of us that have dealings with his office will surely miss them as well.
How About a Nice Buyout? The Cato Plan to End Farm Support Programs Altogether!
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~The last of a series of interviews that we have featured this week that looks at alternate ideas for farm policy outside of what the House Ag Committee seems to be laying down for 2007 is with a policy analyst for the Cato Institute. Australian native Sallie James has worked for Cato for about a year and a half- and she is one of the authors of a plan that would mandate the end of Commodity programs with a buyout of those who are now receiving government payments.
Sallie James is a bright lady- and she realizes that the political realities here in 2007 don't offer much opportunity for a serious consideration of this approach- but just the fact that this proposal is out there, along with the so called Citicorp voluntary buyout proposal that the House Ag Subcommittee on general Farm Commodities gave a thumbs down to in a voice vote last week, is a signal that opponents of farm programs are gaining ground slowly in this battle of ideas of future farm policy.
Ms. James says that the status quo is not the right policy path, and that at the very least, the country should seriously consider Ron Kind's Farm21 plan which would also end commodity programs but without a buyout- instead using money to help fund Farmers Savings Accounts to help individuals cushion their cash flow in years of low proices and or bad crops. Take a listen to what Sallie James has to say- I suspect pretty well no one in production agriculture will buy what she is saying, but it's important to know what is being said at the edge of the debate if you want to have a chance to prevail in the game itself.
A Beef Export Destination with Money! Now that's worth getting excited about!
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~We continue our conversation today with Gregg Doud, Chief Economist of the National Cattlemen's Beef Association on the Beef Buzz- heard on Radio Oklahoma Network stations around the state. Today, we talk with Gregg about a market that has limited US beef since the late 1980s, the European Union.
Doud says that the ECU is one of the most promising markets for US beef in the world- they have the money and appetite for our product, as long as we provide them with beef not implanted with growth promoting hormones. With the rise of Natural beef programs in this country, that means there is more and more of this product out there and there are parts of the carcass worth little here that has a lot of value across the Atlantic.
You can click below to listen to today's Beef Buzz featuring Gregg Doud- and remember that we have a tremendous archive of Beef Buzz shows on our web site that can give you perspective on a lot of the big issues in the beef business today. One example- a couple of programs that we did with Anne Anderson from Texas on value added beef cattle programs- including the possibilities of "never ever" beef which is a perfect fit for the European market. You can go to the Beef Buzz page and right at the top of the archived programs are the ones with Anne. Check them out..
Oklahoma in on just one project in USDA's Conservation Innovation Grants.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Oklahoma will participate in a small way in a twenty million dollar pot of Conservation money that is being handed out by USDA. Some 51 projects have been awarded the nearly $20 million in Conservation Innovation Grants. As part of the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP), USDA's Natural Resources Conservation Service administers CIG, which provides competitive grants to state and local governments, tribes, non-governmental organizations and individuals to promote the development and adoption of innovative conservation approaches and technologies. Applicants from 47 states submitted 171 CIG project proposals and requested CIG grants totaling about $61.7 million. Projects must involve EQIP-eligible producers.
Approved projects address traditional natural resource issues concerning agriculture such as water quantity, water quality improvement, livestock nutrient management, grazing lands and forest health, and soil resource management. Approved projects also address emerging natural resource issues including agricultural air emissions, energy conservation and market-based approaches to conservation.
The one project that will include a few Oklahoma producers will be coordinated by the Heifer Project International, Inc. This group will receive $237,000 to work with limited resource producers in five states- including Oklahoma. According to USDA, "This project will train limited resource farmers to be trainers for their communities, providing training and support on prescribed grazing, resource management, livestock health, and other topics. Through hands-on, practical trainings conducted at Heifer Ranch, illustrated manuals, and other training tools, and technical support from NRCS, Heifer, and additional professionals, the project will empower limited resource farmers in 5 States with the skills and tools needed to develop economically stable and environmentally sound livestock-based farming systems."
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