~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Oklahoma's latest farm and ranch news
Your Update from Ron Hays of RON for Thursday January 8, 2009A service of Johnston Enterprises, KIS Futures and American Farmers & Ranchers Mutual Insurance Company!
-- Secretary Ed Schafer Instructs the USDA Office of Inspector General to Check Out the Soybean Checkoff
-- Animal Rights Activists Have More Money to Use Than Ever to Put Livestock Producers Out of Business
-- National Association of Wheat Growers Trying to Build Case for GM Wheat
-- Congress back to Work- Death Tax Postponement Proposed and Coburn Claims Democrats Back to Business as Usual.
-- Tim Lust to Assume CEO Position for Both National Sorghum Producers and the new National Sorghum Checkoff Board
-- TSCRA Hails Court Finding Against Cattle Killer
-- What About a Tweet (or is that Twitt)???
-- Let's Check the Markets!
Here's your morning farm news headlines from the Director of Farm Programming for the Radio Oklahoma Network, Ron Hays. We are pleased to have American Farmers & Ranchers Mutual Insurance Company as a regular sponsor of our daily update- click here to go to their AFR web site to learn more about their efforts to serve rural America!
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Secretary Ed Schafer Instructs the USDA Office of Inspector General to Check Out the Soybean Checkoff
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Secretary of Agriculture Ed Schafer has signed a memorandum recommending that USDA's Office of Inspector General conduct an audit and, as appropriate, investigation of the National Soybean Checkoff Program. The Secretary's action is based on a petition filed by the American Soybean Association calling for an investigation of the United Soybean Board and the U.S. Soybean Export Council. ASA wants OIG to ensure that soybean checkoff dollars are being managed and invested as prescribed by law.
ASA President Johnny Dodson, a soybean producer from Halls, Tennessee, says - ASA is doing what is in the best interest of soybean farmers ethically, legally and financially. He says, - ignoring serious allegations of abuse or sweeping them under the rug would have been wrong and would have done a disservice to all soybean farmers who are paying the checkoff.
Some of the charges made by ASA include: 1/ Use of a knife against another individual by an employee at an official function; 2/ An improper sexual relationship; 3/ The misuse of checkoff and federal funds to facilitate the improper relationship; 4/ and the firing of whistleblower employees.
More details on this story are available from our website (the story is linked below) including links to the actual petition provided to the USDA by the American Soybean Association.
Animal Rights Activists Have More Money to Use Than Ever to Put Livestock Producers Out of Business
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~In 2008, there appeared to be an increase in well-funded animal rights activities directed at animal agriculture. Based on our research, the Animal Agriculture Alliance understands why. In 2007, the latest reporting period available for review, charitable donations to animal rights groups rose 11% providing activist groups with more funds to develop wide ranging activities such as California's Proposition 2, undercover video operations, legislative initiatives and legal actions. Donations to the extremist People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) and its subsidiaries increased 11%. Donations to PETA in 2007 totaled almost $29 million.
The Alliance research used a variety of sources including independent examinations of some groups' Internal Revenue Service Form 990 which the IRS requires non-profits to file and the 2008 Animal People Watchdog Report on 150 Animal Charities--the newspaper Animal People's annual review of animal charity budgets. Donations to Humane Society for the United States (HSUS), the largest animal-rights activist group in the USA, remained about the same as last year when including subsidiary organizations the Fund for Animals and Doris Day Animal League (DDAL). HSUS had total giving that year of $130 million.
A very significant increase in charitable donations to an animal rights
group was to Acton, Calif.-based Animal Acres which increased donations by
443%. Animal Acres was founded by Lorrie Bauston, a co-founder of the East
Coast animal rights group Farm Sanctuary. For all who value animal
agriculture, this group warrants watching.
National Association of Wheat Growers Trying to Build Case for GM Wheat
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Wheat growers around the country should be watching their mailboxes for a petition survey seeking their opinions about deploying biotechnology traits in wheat. The survey, which was released late last week, has been commissioned by the National Association of Wheat Growers (NAWG) and is intended to measure and document the level of support for biotech trait commercialization among wheat growers.
"The petition is designed to document the depth and breadth of support for biotechnology among wheat producers," said Daren Coppock, NAWG's chief executive officer. "Anecdotally, we're convinced the support is there - this petition will either confirm or confront that belief."
Wheat area in the United States has been on a steady decline for the past 30 years as other crops that do have access to biotech traits have competed for producer interest and delivered greater returns. NAWG and many other groups in the "wheat chain" believe biotechnology will be a key component in the future competitiveness of wheat as a crop by providing a variety of agronomic and, eventually, consumer advantages.
We have more on this story- including audio with Daren Coppock of NAWG explaining their plans with the results of this survey- it's on our website, WWW.OklahomaFarmReport.Com and we have it linked for you below.
Congress back to Work- Death Tax Postponement Proposed and Coburn Claims Democrats Back to Business as Usual.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Colorado Representatives Betsy Markey and John Salazar have introduced the Save the Family Farm and Ranch Act. The measure would defer payment of the inheritance tax on family farms as long as the land is used for ag or conservation purposes. To ensure true farmers and ranchers benefit from this legislation - the Act would apply to those receiving more than 50-percent of their gross income from the farm or ranch operation.
Meanwhile, Oklahoma Senator Tom Coburn is resuming his role as a lone voice in the wilderness when it comes to the mindset of spend, spend, spend in Congress. His first target of the new year is an omnibus public lands bill that has been reintroduced in the Senate by Energy and Natural Resources Chairman Jeff Bingaman of New Mexico. The bill combines more than 150 bills to expand wilderness areas and protect other federal lands. It is expected that Senate Leader Harry Reid may plan a rare Sunday vote to see with the new numbers of Democrats in the Senate if he can steamroll bills like this one past the Republican minority.
Of this measure- Senator Coburn offered this statement yesterday. "The decision by Senate leaders to kick off the new Congress with an earmark-laden omnibus lands bill makes a mockery of voters' hopes for change. This package represents some of the worst aspects of congressional incompetence and parochialism. Congress should spend the next few weeks holding hearings on an economic stimulus package and identifying areas of the budget to cut to pay for that proposal. Instead, the Senate is set to resume business as usual."
Tim Lust to Assume CEO Position for Both National Sorghum Producers and the new National Sorghum Checkoff Board
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~The new United Sorghum Checkoff Program (USCP) Board of Directors has approved a contract with the National Sorghum Producers (NSP) as the management entity for the USCP. In accordance with USDA guidelines, USCP has initiated a contractual agreement with NSP for management of its day-to-day activities. Both organizations will be directed by Tim Lust, CEO, but will otherwise maintain separate staffs.
Bill Greving, Chair of the USCP Board of Directors, said the Board is confident NSP will provide sound management direction for the new organization.
The two organizations will office in the same building in Lubbock, Texas. Toby Bostwick, Chairman of the NSP Board of Directors, said the contract between USCP and NSP will serve sorghum growers nationwide. "NSP has been an advocate of the Checkoff Program since its beginning and we look forward to working for the Board to continue to better the sorghum industry. We are excited about the opportunity to serve producers in this new role, and we believe that we can make great strides in improving our industry."
TSCRA Hails Court Finding Against Cattle Killer
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~A suspect in connection with two of the reported 30 head of cattle shot and killed in Northeastern Oklahoma has been found guilty on two counts of cruelty to animals and sentenced to five years in the Oklahoma Department of Corrections. Jason Douglas Walls, 29, and his 21-year-old cousin Tyler Delance Wyrather were arrested in September. Walls was sentenced in December. Wyrather's sentence is still pending.
"Thanks to the help of numerous law enforcement agencies, we were able to make the arrest," Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association (TSCRA) Special Ranger John Cummings said, "This investigation is not over. We believe these suspects are linked to other cattle shootings in Oklahoma."
In addition to the five-year sentence, Walls must pay a $250 fine and $4,000 in restitution to the ranchers who lost cattle.
What About a Tweet (or is that Twitt)???
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~We signed up for Twitter a couple of months ago- but I have resolved to post regularly here in the new year about what we are covering in the world of farm and ranch news- probably a couple of Twitts per day when we are in town and perhaps a few more when we are on the road covering meetings and hearing information that we want to pass along to you quickly.
I would invite you to follow us on Twitter. It's really very simple. Go to the website we have linked below(Twitter.com) and sign up for an account by clicking on the big green box that says "Join the Conversation." Once you get your account set, you will see an option up at the top of the page- Find People. Click on that and type in "Ron on RON" and it should bring us right up. Simply click on the gray button to the right that says "Follow" and you are set.
You can watch Twitter from your computer- or you can set it up to push
messages as a text to your phone.
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We also invite you to check out our website at the link below to check out an archive of these daily emails, audio reports and top farm news story links from around the globe.
Let's Check the Markets!
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Both the OKC West and the Southern Oklahoma Livestock Auctions had excellent first sales of the New Year yesterday. The OKC West market in El Reno had a run of 5,905 with prices up $4 to $7 on yearlings and $8 to $12 up on calves. Five weight calves brought from $104 up to $116. Meanwhile, in Ada, the Southern Oklahoma Livestock market ran 1,650 cattle and saw prices jump $6 to $7 higher on all weights and classes of feeder cattle and calves. Click on the name above of the respective market for their full USDA recap of the numbers.
Here are some links we will leave in place on an ongoing basis- Click
on the name of the report to go to that link:
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