~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Oklahoma's latest farm and ranch news
Your Update from Ron Hays of RON for Wednesday July 29, 2009A service of Johnston Enterprises, P & K Equipment/ P & K Wind Energy and American Farmers & Ranchers Mutual Insurance Company!
-- You Could Harvest More Farm Program Payments in ACRE
-- Food Safety Bill on the Calendar Today
-- Braums Weighs in at Dairy Hearing
-- Remembering AJ Smith
-- Jim Robb Helping Us Beef Buzz on the Mega Shocks to the Beef Business
-- One Oklahoma Scenic River Commission Board Member Disappointed with Lawsuit Setback
-- Regulatory Czar Pick Continues to Cause Cattle Industry Heartburn
-- 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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You Could Harvest More Farm Program Payments in ACRE
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~It sounds odd to hear it- but perhaps THE sweet spot of the ACRE universe can be found right here in the Southern Plains. Hope Pjesky, who farms with her husband in north central Oklahoma, says she has run the numbers and thinks that ACRE as an alternative to the traditional farm program found in the 2002 and 2008 farm laws may work best for Oklahoma and Texas wheat farmers. Hope says that means it works better here for farms with wheat base acres than perhaps anywhere else in the country.
We talked with Hope about how she has run the numbers, using two calculators that we have told you about, the ones from Texas A&M and from OSU, and that she believes that the payments for this year alone will more than pay for the loss of 20% of the Direct Payment for all four years that you sign up for if you elect ACRE on your farm.
Pjesky says it's important that you check out how ACRE works on your farm. She says if you have at least half of your base acres in wheat- ACRE is likely to be the better farm program choice for you here in the southern great plains. Deadline for signing up for this year in the ACRE program is Friday, August 14.
Click on the link below to jump to our story on ACRE- and how farmers need to look at this program for farms that have wheat base acres. It's likely to pay off- especially in this crop year and probably next year as well.
Food Safety Bill on the Calendar Today
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Collin Peterson, Chairman of the House Ag Committee, says he is 90% okay with the Food Safety bill coming later today to the floor of the House in Washington. It will be considered by lawmakers under a special rule that keeps any amendments from being added- and only twenty minutes of debate will be allowed.
Peterson believes that most Democrats will vote for the bill and that many urban Republicans will as well. He does indicate that he has a firm pledge from the authors of the bill that FDA won't be going on the farm to inspect livestock operations. However, no one knows the language as the bill itself is still not available as of late last night.
Congressman Frank Lucas, top Republican of the House Ag Committee, continues to call on his colleagues to vote no. Lucas says in a letter "I remain convinced that this legislation is seriously flawed and I continue to urge you to oppose this bill. This bill does little to accomplish the goal of enhancing food safety. One glaring example is the fact that the authors of this legislation did not require the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to spend one additional penny on the inspection of food. Yet, this bill does a great deal in imposing significant regulatory burdens on small businesses without properly holding the regulatory agency accountable. New language to the bill would exclude row crop producers from FDA regulatory authority over growing and harvesting of crops. Language was also improved that would relieve livestock producers from some of the burdens of the law. Although these are needed changes, they do not go far enough to make the bill acceptable. This bill still leaves our nation's fruit and vegetable producers subject to objectionable regulatory burdens. We can still expect to have an agency of the federal government telling our farmers how to do their jobs. There are other problems in the bill as well. New registration authorities for food processing facilities create what amounts to a federal license to be in the food business. Hundreds of millions of dollars in associated fees represent a new tax on food production, which along with other regulatory burdens will increase the cost of food for consumers and increasingly force food production out of the country."
Braums Weighs in at Dairy Hearing
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Dairy producers from all across America, representing farms and cooperatives large and small, appeared before the Livestock, Dairy, and Poultry Subcommittee the Subcommittee this month to discuss the effects of low fluid milk prices on their operations. Over the last three weeks, 20 witnesses have appeared before the Subcommittee, including producers, processors, exporters, government administrators, and two Members of Congress in whose districts the dairy industry plays a significant economic role.
The common theme from producers has been that the Dairy Price System in this country is busted. One of those testifying on Tuesday was Anthony Bostwick, CEO of Braum's Ice Cream and Dairy Stores, on behalf of the American Independent Dairy Alliance. Bostwick told the Committee that the dairy industry needs a "coherent national dairy policy." He believes that the Federal milk marketing order pricing system is ill-equipped to meet consumer demand today- in fact Bostwick says that the Marketing Order is "divorced from reality."
In today's marketplace, fluid milk is a minority use for dairy compared
to cheese. The Braums CEO adds that the fluid milk buyer ends up
subsidizing the cheese found on pizza, which he says does not make
nutritional or economic sense.
Remembering AJ Smith
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~We got a few comments from some of you about the life of A.J. Smith, who passed away this past Saturday. A.J's involvement with the seedstock sales in the beef business put him in a position of trust, respect and visibility. Glenford Bensch from the Panhandle wrote "My first thought when you told of A.J.'s passing was "I'll miss him at the PAMC Bull Sale. He's always been one of the ring men at Goodwell each year."
Dr. Bob Kropp of Oklahoma State offered high praise for the Editor of the Cowman. "There are few people that truly influence an industry in the manner that AJ influenced the beef cattle industry of Oklahoma. His personal relationship with the thousands of beef cattle producers in this state speaks volumes in terms of the respect and trust that the clientele had in AJ. His friendly smile, his welcome handshake and his optimistic approach to life benefitted everyone that came in contact with him. His knowledge of the cattle market structure of the animals being sold as well as his knowledge and relationships with the clientele in the seats enabled him to be one of the most effective bid spotters in cattle auction history. No one would consider having a beef cattle auction in Oklahoma without the assistance and professionalism of AJ Smith."
As we mentioned to you yesterday- the Memorial Service that will celebrate the life of AJ Smith is Thursday afternoon at 2 PM, at the Express Ranch Show and Sale Barn at the ranch just north of Yukon.
Jim Robb Helping Us Beef Buzz on the Mega Shocks to the Beef Business
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~If you are still basing a lot of your marketing and herd size decisions on the cattle cycle, Jim Robb of the Livestock Market Information Center says you may be making decisions off the wrong information. Robb says the world has changed- and that for the foreseeable future, he believes that cattle producers need to look at the cattle market in two to three month segments and base marketing decisions off what is being seen from those slices of time.
It's pretty well impossible, but Robb's advice is to anticipate the unexpected. He points out that we have had three mega shocks to the cattle market in this current decade that is rapidly winding down. The first was the 9/11 terrorist attack, the second was the cow that stole Christmas as BSE arrived in the US in the form of that Canadian dairy cow found in December 2002- and the third mega shock has been the worst economic meltdown since the Great Depression that we have been living through over the last twelve months.
You can hear Robb's comments in today's Beef Buzz- a regular program that is heard on great radio stations around the state on the Radio Oklahoma Network. We also have today's Beef Buzz on our website- and linked for you below.
One Oklahoma Scenic River Commission Board Member Disappointed with Lawsuit Setback
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Ed Brocksmith of Tahlequah is unhappy with the decision announced a week ago by US District Court Judge Frizzell that monetary damages can not be extracted from the Northwest Arkansas poultry companies in the lawsuit filed by the State of Oklahoma and Attorney General Drew Edmondson.
Brocksmith dropped us an email expressing his concern- wondering why there are those who are pleased with the decision that takes much of the wind out of the AG's sails.
He writes "Oklahoma Attorney General Drew Edmondson's detractors seem to be relishing in the adverse ruling by United States Judge Frizzell in Tulsa. Instead of regretting that the judge knocked the wind out of Oklahoma's lawsuit to protect and restore the Illinois River watershed, they are rejoicing. These persons suffer from an incredible delusion. They believe that they, or perhaps the Scenic Rivers Commission, can reach an agreement with the poultry companies when the Attorney General, with the help of an EPA facilitator, could not. How absurd! To all those people who are gloating over Oklahoma's loss, not Edmondson's loss, I ask just how naive can you possibly be?"
Regulatory Czar Pick Continues to Cause Cattle Industry Heartburn
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Senator Saxby Chambliss of Georgia had placed a hold on the nomination of Cass Sunstein to be President Obama's man on overseeing all regulations that come out of the Administration. Chambliss was worried, as is much of animal agriculture, that his views on Animal Rights might be carried over into his job. Chambliss met with the nominee- and has released his hold, saying that he has been assured that those ideas are the personal ideas of Sunstein- and won't be carried over to any official duties.
However, now Senator John Cornyn has blocked Sunstein because of the nominee's support for animal rights, as well as concerns over his thoughts on the Second Amendment.
David Martosko, director of the Center for Consumer Freedom, told Fox News' Glenn Beck that Cass Sunstein, the Harvard Law professor nominated by the president to become the administrator of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, is a "raving animal rights nut" and devout disciple of Peter Singer. Singer, a bioethics professor at Princeton University, is a leader in the animal rights movement. He has also argued that abortion should be permissible because unborn babies as old as 18 weeks cannot feel pain or satisfaction.
World Net Daily has an interesting piece on the Sunstein controversy- with links to various things that Sunstein has said and to folks like David Martosko, who we quoted above. We ahve linked their article below- take a look- and judge for yourself.
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