~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Oklahoma's latest farm and ranch news
Your Update from Ron Hays of RON for Wednesday May 6, 2009A service of Producers Cooperative Oil Mill, KIS Futures and American Farmers & Ranchers Mutual Insurance Company!
-- Kansas Wheat Crop Tour is Underway- Oklahoma Crop Numbers to be Added Up Today
-- The Livestock "Preemption" Bill Passes the Oklahoma House- Headed to the Governor's Desk
-- President Obama wants to accelerate the commercialization of sustainable biofuels.
-- Iowa State Announces Plan to Go Regional with Extension- as They Plan to Drop County Extension Educators
-- Mississippi State Conservationist Named USDA Under Secretary for Natural Resources
-- Montana Lawmakers Okay Measure That Would Permit Horse Slaughter Plant to Operate in that State
-- The President Likes Mustard- Veep Joe Likes Ketchup
-- 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 proud 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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Kansas Wheat Crop Tour is Underway- Oklahoma Crop Numbers to be Added Up Today
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Day one of the Kansas Wheat Crop Tour is in the books and the Executive Director of the Oklahoma Wheat Commission, Mike Schulte, traveled one of the six opening routes from Manhattan across to Colby, Kansas. Schulte tells us that this is the same route he was on last year- and that while the wheat looked good- he believes it does not compare to the above average wheat they saw last May in these same areas.
Ben Handcock, the longtime director of the tour, told the Red River Farm Radio Network in North Dakota that he is "touring the northern most route in NE and KS and has seen no disease or damage with mid 40's yield potential." Click here for our midday report of yesterday- click on the link at the bottom of this story to hear Mike's comments from Kansas at the end of Day One.
This morning at the annual meeting of the Oklahoma Grain and Feed Association, eight regional reports will be offered on the condition of the 2009 Oklahoma wheat crop- and there will then be a consensus as to what the size of the crop may be. Those that will be delivering observations from the various parts of the state include Rick Kochenower from the Panhandle, Joe Royster from the North Central West, Kim Metcalf for the North Central East, KC Kinder for the West Central, Avery Eeds for Central Oklahoma, Casey Burns for the Northwest and East Central, Mark Gregory and Mike Cassidy with reports on the southwest and Mark Gregory with a report from the south central and southeastern areas of the state.
We'll have details of this session on Twitter as they develop this morning- and a more complete report will be on our website this afternoon and on the radio and this email tomorrow morning.
The Livestock "Preemption" Bill Passes the Oklahoma House- Headed to the Governor's Desk
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~The Oklahoma House of Representatives has easily passed HB2151 that mandates the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture is the legal entity in the state to oversee animal well being issues in Oklahoma. We have audio comments from Don Armes, Chairman of the House Ag Committee, on the passage of this measure on Tuesday- and his thoughts on the message it sends to animal rights activists about how the legislature feels about protecting animal agriculture in the state.
The House passed the measure by a 87 to 9 vote on Tuesday morning. The House accepted the Senate Amendments to the measure, which means it now heads to Governor Brad Henry for his expected signature.
HB2151 says that "The Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, Food, and Forestry shall be the state entity empowered to implement the policy of the state regarding the care and handling of livestock in this state." Representative Armes points out the original language had the legislature as the empowered group- but that was changed to the Department of Ag along the way. Click on our link below for more on this story- and listen to our comments from House Ag Committee Chair Don Armes.
President Obama wants to accelerate the commercialization of sustainable biofuels.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~President Obama issued a presidential directive today to Secretary Vilsack to aggressively accelerate the investment in and production of biofuels. On a conference call with Energy Secretary Stephen Chu and Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa Jackson, Vilsack also announced that he will help lead an unprecedented interagency effort to increase America's energy independence and spur rural economic development.
"President Obama's announcement today demonstrates his deep commitment to establishing a permanent biofuels industry in America," said Vilsack. "Expanding our biofuels infrastructure provides a unique opportunity to spur rural economic development while reducing our dependence on foreign oil - one of the great challenges of the 21st century."
We have more on these developments on the Biofuels front from the Administration- including an audio overview of the announced push on the next generation of biofuels for America. Click on the link below to check that out.
Iowa State Announces Plan to Go Regional with Extension- as They Plan to Drop County Extension Educators
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Iowa State University Vice President for Extension and Outreach Jack Payne has announced a plan that would restructure ISU Extension. In a videotaped announcement, Payne informed all staff and county extension council members of a restructuring plan that will streamline the organization to address state budget cuts. "The current economic downturn forces us to change the way we do business," said Payne. "The Extension leadership team has listened to the desires of Iowans, and the ideas of our staff and council members, to create a plan that will strengthen the organization for years to come."
Five Area Director positions and all five Area Offices will be closed. This was recommended by Extension staff and County Extension Councils during listening sessions and in online surveys conducted last month. The County Extension Education Director (CEED) positions also will be eliminated as part of the plan, and in their place regional positions will be created. County Extension Councils will have the ability to retain offices in every county.
To read more about where Extension is going in Iowa- click on the link below. Budget realities have caught up with the folks in Iowa- and while Oklahoma is not there yet- there is a lot of uncertainty about what the state budget will look like in Fiscal Year 2011, let alone 2010 that is now being worked on by lawmakers.
Mississippi State Conservationist Named USDA Under Secretary for Natural Resources
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~President Barack Obama announced on Tuesday afternoon his intent to nominate Homer Lee Wilkes as Undersecretary for Natural Resources and Environment at the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Reed will serve with Secretary Tom Vilsack.
"For nearly thirty years, Homer has worked for the Natural Resources Conservation Service where he has been dedicated to conserving and improving the environment in multiple states," said Vilsack. "It would be a privilege to have a public servant like Homer join the USDA leadership team to help carry out President Obama's vision of protecting our natural assets."
Wilkes is a 28 year veteran of the NRCS, currently serving as State Conservationist in Mississippi where he administers the natural resources conservation program for the state. He has also served as a Budget Officer for NRCS in Amherst, Massachusetts, the Assistant Financial Manager and Fiscal Specialist for NRCS in Washington, and served as the Chief of Administrative Staff for the South Technical Center for NRCS in Fort Worth, Texas.
Montana Lawmakers Okay Measure That Would Permit Horse Slaughter Plant to Operate in that State
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Ever since a state law in Illinois forced the closing of Cavel International in Dekalb, Illinois, horse owners have had no place to send their horses for slaughter. But, a new state law in Montana appears to be changing that situation. Legislation to allow investor-owned horse slaughterhouses in Montana became law last week when Governor Brian Schweitzer neither signed nor vetoed the action. The law limits opportunities for legal action against such investors.
Montana may be only the first state to permit horse slaughtering plants to operate. Lawmakers in a number of states, including Georgia, Kentucky, New Mexico, Nevada, Texas, Washington and Tennessee, are considering introducing legislation in support of the horse industry. Other bills are pending in Congress.
Here in Oklahoma- there has been no move on this type of bill- but lawmakers do expect to have a bill that will allow those trained in equine dentistry to be regulated but allow them to operate legally outside of veterinary supervision. Lawmakers told me yesterday afternoon that we are very close to acceptable language to all concerned- and it should be made public within the next few days.
The President Likes Mustard- Veep Joe Likes Ketchup
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~We now have a new definition of the Burger Boys. The President and his Vice President headed across the River from the White House to Arlington and landed at a local burger joint for lunch on Tuesday- and Ray's Hell Burgers will never be the same again.
After they pulled up in the Limo- you can't expect the President to take the Metro- President Obama walked up to the counter, placed his order, paid his money(I wonder if he carries money in his pocket all the time), took a number and waited for that number to be called. Then the President and Veep Joe sat down and wolfed down their Hell Burgers.
As we mentioned in our headline- Vice President Joe Biden prefers ketchup while President Obama said no ketchup for him- just a regular cheese burger with mustard- maybe some dijon mustard if you have it. Click on our story and we have linkage there of the video of this burger encounter- it is comforting to know that even the leader of the free world likes to tackle a thick juicy burger with the trimmings from time to time- apparently there is no danger of him doing a PSA advocating a vegan existence for HSUS.
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