~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Oklahoma's latest farm and ranch news
Your Update from Ron Hays of RON for Monday February 25, 2008!A service of National Livestock Credit, KIS Futures & American Farmers and Ranchers.
-- OALP Ag Leaders Visit "Key" Chinese Agricultural University.
-- Cattle on Feed Sorta Bullish...
-- Farm Bill Positions Restated- No Surprises as President's Day Weeklong Recess Ends.
-- Burn Ban Legislation Promoted by State Lawmakers- Would Shift Who Declares Burn Bans.
-- Beef Recall Gives Japan and South Korea Another Reason to Delay Reopening Full Beef Trade
-- All Black All Polled Limousin Bull Sale Set for March 8 in Southwest Oklahoma...
-- This 'n That From China!
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OALP Ag Leaders Visit "Key" Chinese Agricultural University.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~This past Saturday, members of Class 13 of the Oklahoma Ag Leadership Program met with some of the leading University and private researchers in Yangling, the home Northwest A&F University. This agricultural school has grown rapidly over the last ten years- jumping from 17,000 students to 25,000 students in both undergrad and graduate programs. They have two campuses in Yangling where all of the students are located- and have additional locations that are research facilities.
This University is one of two national "KEY" institutions of higher education in the agricultural arena in China- with their emphasis in four disciplines- Vet Medicine, Plant Pathology, Pedology and Agricultural Soil and Water Engineering. The group met with several of their top faculty members- including the Dean of the Animal Science Department, a top wheat breeder and an agricultural economist that was just back from a time of study and teaching at Cornell University in New York.
One of those that we met with was the scientist that led the effort in 1999 to successfully clone a meat goat- and the goat research efforts provide an Oklahoma tie-as they told us that a couple of Professors from Langston will be coming to Yangling in April for meetings regarding goat production research.
We asked their wheat breeder about their wheat breeding efforts- and while they are not actively working on transgenic wheat at this time- at least that's what they claimed- they are busy working on a hybrid wheat which would be comparable to "Super Rice" which they claimed a hand in developing. Their Super Wheat would be a winter wheat and could produce as much as 750 kilograms of wheat per "mu"- which if we are understanding the conversion right is about one sixth of an acre. That could translate into 165 bushel wheat per acre if you assume 60 pound test weight wheat- pretty ambitious stuff.
Cattle on Feed Sorta Bullish...
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~The experts were expecting placements as high as ten percent above a year ago- and this past Friday's Cattle on Feed Report came in at just six percent more cattle placed into feedlots in January this year versus 2007. By virtue of that lower placement figure versus the expectations- we are seeing this latest Cattle on Feed report from USDA being called friendly by the trade.
Total on feed numbers are higher than a year ago- up two percent as of February first versus February one of 2007. It's one of the highest on feed numbers for a first of February since the current series of on feed stats have been kept. It reflects many cattle bypassing wheat pasture in the southern plains in 2007-2008 and being placed into feedlots at a lighter weight.
We have some thoughts on the Friday numbers from Tom Leffler of Leffler Commodities, who visits with Ed Richards on a regular basis during our market wrapup weekday afternoons on the Radio Oklahoma Network. That daily market finale is linked on our website on our "markets" page- you can check that out 24/7 at www.OklahomaFarmReport.Com- and we have Tom's thoughts on this latest USDA COF report linked below.
Farm Bill Positions Restated- No Surprises as President's Day Weeklong Recess Ends.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~The Deputy Secretary of Agriculture, Chuck Conner, was the dinner speaker this past week during the USDA Ag Outlook Conference held in Arlington, Virginia- and there was nothing new coming from Conner as he badmouthed the current Senate Farm Bill proposal- saying it spends too much money and has inadequate reforms- failing both demands of the Bush Administration. Conner did say that the USDA' s top priority is to get a new farm bill into law- and start the implementation process.
Conner says that the next farm law must be "forward looking" and that it must take have an export friendly safety net for farmers.
Meanwhile, it's the same song and verse from House Ag Committee Chairman Colin Peterson, as he said Friday that he will let the permanent agriculture laws go into effect in order to force passage of a farm bill this year rather than support another extension of the 2002 farm bill that would last until next year. "It will be a hell of a mess if we get permanent law," Peterson said. "If we have permanent law for two or three weeks, we'd get a bill."
Peterson said a report that House and Senate negotiators are
considering a bill that would cost $9 billion more than the current
baseline over 10 years is "in the range of what's being discussed."
Peterson said negotiators are making progress, but that he is often
frustrated by the slowness.
Burn Ban Legislation Promoted by State Lawmakers- Would Shift Who Declares Burn Bans.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~The Senate Agriculture Committee passed a measure this past week to give county commissioners the authority to proclaim burn bans in their counties. Currently, the Governor is the only entity with this power, but Senate Bill 1816, by Sen. Don Barrington and Rep. Don Armes, would change that. "When counties are facing extremely dry conditions, it's imperative that our local officials be able to proclaim a burn ban immediately in order to spare land, businesses and homes from possible destruction," said Barrington, R-Lawton. "All it takes is one person burning trash or someone tossing a cigarette out a car window to cause acres of destruction."
Before passing a resolution declaring the fire danger, a board would need the consent of a majority of the municipal and certified rural fire department chiefs or their designees in the county that such a fire danger exists. The resolution would be effective for seven days from the day of passage. If the extreme fire danger conditions persisted, subsequent resolutions could be passed. "Typically, the county commissioners and rural fire departments are the 'Boots on the ground' in areas where dry conditions can develop rapidly," said Armes, R-Faxon. "This measure would allow counties to be proactive and effectively get ahead of the fire danger, address dry conditions quicker and hopefully decrease property loss and reduce risk of injury to firefighters."
"Our state is all too familiar with how devastating wild fires can be," said Barrington. "This bill will help speed up the process and help prevent future wildfires by letting those living and working in the area decide what their level of fire danger is and take immediate action, rather than having to wait on the Governor to make an announcement." If approved and signed into law, the measure would become effective immediately. The full Senate is the next stop for this proposal.
Beef Recall Gives Japan and South Korea Another Reason to Delay Reopening Full Beef Trade
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~U.S. Agriculture Secretary Ed Schafer said Friday he wants to wait to see the results of an investigation into the nation's largest beef recall before making any policy changes, but he acknowledged that the debacle has delayed negotiations to ship U.S. beef to Japan and South Korea. Those markets closed to the U.S. cattle industry in 2003 after a scare over mad cow disease.
Speaking before meat packers and processors, Schafer said the Westland/Hallmark Meat Co. recall announced earlier this week had already prompted diplomats to ask why the U.S. can't produce safe meat. "As people look for reasons to protect their own market places- they say you can't even send us safe meat," he said. "Do we need to issue new regulations and things? Right now we're just not prepared to do that."
It had been hoped that South Korea might announce a full reopening of their market to US beef as early as this week- as they inaugurate a new President today. The Bush Administration symbolized the importance of getting beef trade resolved by including the President of the National Cattlemen's Beef Association, Andy Grosetta of Arizona, as a part of the official US government delegation to the ceremonies in Seoul.
All Black All Polled Limousin Bull Sale Set for March 8 in Southwest Oklahoma...
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~The Kervin-Hall-Coyote Hills Bull sale will be featuring 120 Limousin and Lim-Flex bulls on Saturday March 8 at the Coyote Hills Ranch near Chattanooga, Oklahoma. 55 of these bulls are purebred Limousin, while 65 are Lim-Flex with 25% to 75% Angus blood.
They have got complete performance data for these bulls for you to review online- and we have the catalog details linked for you below for this important purebred offering.
This 'n That From China!
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~We were greeted with snow on Sunday morning as we got up for our final day in Xian- as we made our way to see the eighth wonder of the world- the Terra Cotta Soldiers that were uncovered in the 1970s after being buried for over two thousand years ago. I think you could say this first ruler of a Unified China that had these soldiers made to guard his resting spot had a bigger ego than even some of the modern era extreme rulers like Napoleon or Hitler or- well- you fill in the blank of you own favorite politician you like to hate.
A memo to those who have traveled to China in past classes of the Oklahoma Ag Leadership Program especially those in Class I- I can officially say that nothing we saw back in 1984 (except the Great Hall of the People and the Great Wall and other attractions that date back to the 1400s) are still here and the same. We arrived Sunday night in Shanghai and landed at an ultra modern airport on the opposite side of the river from the traditional city- and it has all been built in the last twenty years. Our guide as we traveled the almost one hour into town to our hotel told us that 1984-1985 was the dividing point when Shanghai started to change from a city that was "broken" into the world class city that we got a glimpse of as we drove last night. China- it is utterly amazing the differences that we are seeing.
China does subsidize their farmers- I saw an article in the China Daily paper this week that the subsidies this year will be 20.6 Billion Yuan- which translates into about three billion US dollars. Since the average farmer in China makes less than $500 a year- which is still much more than a couple of decades ago- even a few dollars per farmer helps. The government says they are raising support this year because of raising input costs- sounds like their government is more sympathetic to that issue than is USDA.
Finally, a story that pretty well sums up where China is today in so many ways. As I mentioned earlier, we visited the Museum that houses the discovered army of TerraCotta soldiers outside of Xian before we flew to Shanghai on Sunday evening. The first thing that our guide wanted us to see was a "movie" that would give us the story of the soldiers- the Emperor that had them made and later how they were discovered and have been recovered. It is a remarkable story. Well, the movie was one of these circular movies that is computer generated and has ten projectors and ten screens in a circular building. You may have seen one of these at places like DisneyWorld and Epcot. They are magnificent as the action circles you in sound and pictures. Well, China had set it all up- had spent the money to produce a movie to showcase all of this- you could hear the sound swirling around you- but only two screens worked- and one of them was out of focus. I guess you could say that China is still trying to get their arms around so much change so very fast- and while they have in many cases bought the "go fast" toys- they are still learning how to get it all together. When they do- watch out.
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