~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Oklahoma's latest farm and ranch news
Your Update from Ron Hays of RON for Wednesday September 10, 2008!A service of American Farmers & Ranchers, Johnston Enterprises and KIS Futures!
-- Senator Inhofe and the Oklahoma House Delegation All Called a Friend by Farm Bureau
-- Ag Secretary Ed Schafer at the Big Iron Show
-- Bill To Criminalize Horse Movement Scheduled for Vote Today in House Judiciary Committee
-- Energy Plan By Senators Promoted as the Right Thing to Do
-- Environmental Working Group Upset That Congress May try to Cut Conservation Spending
-- SUNUP Rising From the Dead- Returns as a Weekend Show in October
-- Senator Obama Calls In to NFU
-- Looking at our Agricultural Markets...
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Senator Inhofe and the Oklahoma House Delegation All Called a Friend by Farm Bureau
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~We received a news release from Senator Jim Inhofe's office on Tuesday afternoon that the Senator had received word this week that he had received the "Friend of Farm Bureau" award by the American Farm Bureau for his continued support of agriculture during the 110th Congress. Senator Inhofe has been given the "Friend of Farm Bureau" award in every Congress since he took office. "I want to thank the Oklahoma Farm Bureau and the American Farm Bureau Federation for honoring me with the 'Friend of Farm Bureau' award," said Sen. Inhofe. "Agriculture is vital not only to our state's economy, but to the prosperity of the entire nation. I am committed to addressing the needs of our farmers and ranchers. Whether it's leading the fight to lower the cost of fuel and feed or providing federal assistance for severe weather, we are working together to ensure Oklahoma continues to be a national leader in agriculture."
In addition to Senator Inhofe, Oklahoma Farm Bureau Federation President Mike Spradling confirmed to me that all five members of the Oklahoma House Delegation, Congressman Dan Boren, Tom Cole, Mary Fallin, Frank Lucas and John Sullivan- were also recipients of this award from the American Farm Bureau as voted on by the AFBF Board of Directors and recommended by the Oklahoma Farm Bureau.
Spradling told us that he was proud of the spirit of cooperation that was evident when the Oklahoma delegation works on issues important to rural Oklahoma. The Tulsa county rancher and pecan grower commended all six lawmakers receiving the award for "their commitment and support of the state's agriculture community."
Ag Secretary Ed Schafer at the Big Iron Show
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~USDA has not decided which two years to use as a base for the Average Crop Revenue Election or ACRE program. U.S. Ag Secretary Ed Schafer told our colleagues at the Red River Radio Network in North Dakota that USDA feels little pressure to decide immediately, but he does understand that producers need to know how USDA will structure the support level for 2009 in order to make an intelligent decision on staying with the traditional
The question remains- will USDA go with the 2006-2007 crop years to figure support levels for 2009- or will they jump to 2007-2008 commodity prices? The latter years will mean higher supports for farmers- so that's the choice of ag groups and lawmakers eager to garner favor with voters in front of the November general elections.
We have audio courtesy of the Red River Radio Network of the dialogue between Farm Broadcasters Mike Hergert, Don Wick and Secretary Schafer. Click on the link below to jump to our Ag Perspectives Podcast that features comments from the Tuesday North Dakota appearance by the former Governor of that state as he returned home.
Bill To Criminalize Horse Movement Scheduled for Vote Today in House Judiciary Committee
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~The Judiciary Committee of the U.S. House of Representatives has scheduled a vote at 9:00 central time this morning on H.R. 6598, a bill that in some cases would criminalize selling horses. According to the Animal Ag Alliance, this measure is "inappropriately named Prevention of Equine Cruelty Act (H.R. 6598), a bill which would criminalize the sale and transportation of horses for the purposes of slaughter, will be voted on by the House Judiciary Committee on Wednesday, September 10. The bill was introduced by Judiciary Chairman John Conyers (D-MI) and Representative Dan Burton (R-IN)."
The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), the leading veterinary association in the nation, warns, "This new bill will do nothing to improve the welfare of horses or prevent equine cruelty" and opposes H.R. 6598. The Animal Ag Alliance adds that "This bill would severely limit the rights of owners to manage their private property and subject horse owners to criminal prosecution should they sell or transport their horses for processing for human consumption."
Groups that oppose this measure include the American Quarter Horse
Association, American Association of Equine Practitioners, American
Veterinary Medical Association, American Farm Bureau Federation and
National Cattlemen's Beef Association.
Energy Plan By Senators Promoted as the Right Thing to Do
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~While the prices of many commodities are favorable - Senate Ag Committee Ranking Member Saxby Chambliss says the nation's farmers and ranchers are facing increased production costs that are forcing them to adjust their operations. He says that's why Congress must take action now. Chambliss - speaking during a press conference with National Farmers Union and other Senators Tuesday - says the New ERA plan launched by a bipartisan group of Senators before the August recess is a comprehensive energy proposal that offers realistic solutions to curtail the nation's energy crisis.
According to USDA's Economic Research Service - production expenses are expected to rise by 40.4-billion dollars from 2007 levels to 294.8-billion. Chambliss says America's family farmers simply can't afford the rising costs they face as a result of rising energy prices. He says his Congressional colleagues need to support the New ERA legislation - which will move the nation in a direction to ensure the next generation of farmers doesn't have to endure the energy issues faced today.
New ERA - the New Energy Reform Act of 2008 - calls for a focused effort to transition the nation's motor vehicle fleets to fuels other than gasoline and diesel. In the interim - the proposal includes conservation provisions, consumer tax credits and measures to increase domestic production. All are expected to help ease gas prices.
Environmental Working Group Upset That Congress May try to Cut Conservation Spending
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~The Environmental Working Group held a news conference on Tuesday, blasting action in the Senate Appropriations Committee that if it worked all the way through the budget process, would slash conservation measures by $331 million in fiscal year 2009. The spending measure would leave commodity title spending untouched- according to the EWG.
The EWG claims in a news release that "This farm bill bait-and-switch routine by the Democratic Congress mirrors a longstanding Republican tradition of broken promises where pledges to increase money for environmental programs are followed by systematic and dramatic cuts that have left conservation programs billions short over the past decade."
The EWG further charges that "For every $10,000 in crop subsidies Congress sends to the most heavily polluting counties in the Corn Belt, just one dollar is spent on conservation. In the 124 counties that cause 40% of spring nitrate fertilizer pollution, the ratio between subsidies and conservation spending is 500 to one. Tens of thousands of farmers are turned away from USDA conservation programs every year because Congress cuts the budgets. "
Based on Senate bill 3289, spending for the Environmental Quality
Incentive Program- EQIP- would be slashed by $285 million- almost 86% of
the total cuts from what EWG says was promised in the 2008 farm law. Other
programs that face reductions in the Senate plan include the Wildlife
Incentive Program. and the Grassland Reserve Program.
SUNUP Rising From the Dead- Returns as a Weekend Show in October
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~The first Saturday in October will see a fresh presence for the Division of Agriculture of Oklahoma State University on the state educational TV system. SUNUP is coming back- remade as a weekend edition Saturday mornings on OETA, starting October 4th.
Robert E. Whitson, vice president, dean and director of Oklahoma State University's Division of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources, says "Agriculture is the backbone of this state, and we're here to do whatever we can to make a difference in the lives of our producers. From cattle producers to wheat growers to all other crop and livestock producers, SUNUP will feature informative segments to help each farmer and rancher in his or her own operation."
Clinton Griffiths, an Oklahoma State alumnus in agricultural
communications, will serve as host of the show.
Senator Obama Calls In to NFU
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~In and around their planned Hill visits, members of the National Farmers Union that are participating this week in their national fly-in got a phone call from the Democratic candidate for President, Barack Obama. There was no mention of lipstick, but the Illinois Senator came out with a strong statement in favor of the Renewable Fuel Standard- the federal mandate that requires ethanol be used as a part of our motor fuel supply in this country.
Just a week ago, the Republicans caused a furor over their changing of their platform to reflect the views of their candidate to be President, John McCain, when it comes to ethanol. The Republican platform now shows the GOP as being on record against federal mandates for biofuels- but rather allow the market to determine their future.
During the brief telephone call to the NFU yesterday, Obama spoke of being a "strong supporter of the RFS. I am strongly committed to advancing biofuels as a key component of reducing our dependence on foreign oil."
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