Monday, June 22, 2015

Amendment prohibiting Lesser Prairie Chicken

U.S. Senate committee passes Sen. Jerry Moran's amendment prohibiting 'threatened' listing of lesser prairie chicken

The U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee on Thursday approved an amendment prohibiting the use of funds to implement or enforce the threatened listing of the lesser prairie chicken.

A U.S. Senate committee has approved an amendment barring the federal Fish and Wildlife Service from enforcing its listing of the lesser prairie chicken as a threatened species.
On Thursday, the Senate Appropriations Committee approved a $30 billion measure to fund the Department of the Interior and Environmental Protection Agency, among other departments. The committee, the largest in the Senate, approved the measure along party lines, with all 16 Republicans voting in favor and all 14 Democrats voting against.
Attached to the legislation was an amendment by Sen. Jerry Moran, a Kansas Republican, “to prohibit the use of funds to implement or enforce the threatened species listing of the lesser prairie chicken under the Endangered Species Act of 1973.”
Moran’s amendment was approved by the same 16-14 vote as the full legislation. A measure to remove the Moran amendment and other divisive measures limiting the powers of the EPA and Interior Department failed on a 14-16 party line vote.
“I was pleased the Senate Appropriations Committee acted today to protect Kansas and rural America from the consequences of the listing of the lesser prairie chicken,” Moran said in a statement.
Despite passage Thursday, the future of Moran’s amendment and the appropriations bill it is attached to remain in question. Sen. Tom Udall, D-N.M., said the bill’s amendments are likely to draw a veto from President Barack Obama.
“These riders are terrible policy,” Udall said of the bill’s amendments. “They're nothing more than a special interest giveaway to polluters. And they also have a proven track record of derailing the appropriations process.”
In addition to Moran’s amendment, the Senate legislation contains a measure to bar the threatened or endangered listing of the greater sage-grouse and an amendment to remove the gray wolf from the endangered species list.
The attachment of amendments, or riders, to appropriations bills is a common tactic employed by members of Congress to direct federal agencies to act in a certain manner. During a speech Sunday at the conservative Ripon Society in Washington, Moran touted Congress’ power over federal agencies.
“Only when we have the power of the purse do they start paying attention to us,” Moran said. “It creates a dialogue, an opportunity to have conversation with a cabinet secretary or an agency head. And if they don’t listen or are uncooperative, you have the greater threat, which is no money can be spent."
The Fish and Wildlife Service has said the “threatened” listing of the lesser prairie chicken was the result of a steep decline in the bird’s populations in recent years. Five states are home to the lesser prairie chicken: Kansas, Colorado, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas. Together, the states had fewer than 18,000 lesser prairie chickens in 2013.
But opponents in Kansas of the Fish and Wildlife Service’s listing have argued for years that classifying the lesser prairie chicken as threatened places unfair conservation fees and restrictions on farmers, ranchers and oil companies.
“The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service acted prematurely when listing the lesser prairie chicken," Moran said. "The five states with habitat area ... came together with stakeholders to develop a broadly supported plan to conserve the bird. However, they were not given adequate time to implement the conservation plan due to the federal government unnecessarily stepping in and listing the bird as a threatened species.”
A U.S. House version of the Interior-EPA appropriations bill doesn’t limit the Fish and Wildlife Service’s ability to enforce its listing of the lesser prairie chicken as a threatened species, though it does contain amendments similar to those in the Senate bill, including a measure by Rep. Lynn Jenkins, R-Kan., to defund the EPA’s efforts to update ozone regulations.
On May 15, House members agreed 229-190 to approve an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act that would “prohibit the further listing of the lesser prairie chicken as a threatened or endangered species until 2021.” All four members of Kansas’ House delegation voted in favor.
“With passage of this amendment, we begin ending the massive regulatory threat to our rural way of life from the ill-conceived listing of the Lesser Prairie Chicken,” Rep. Tim Huelskamp said in a statement that day. “It is high time that we place a greater value on the citizens of rural America than the Lesser Prairie Chicken.”

Friday, June 19, 2015

Garden Minute Grasshoppers

June 16, 2015

This is Jason Lamb with your Gardening Minute.

Grasshoppers are a yearly problem in New Mexico. Especially if there is enough food and forage for larger populations to exist. Last year grasshopper populations in Quay County were high and we can assume that populations this year will also be high unless something like a long dry spell occurs that will reduce populations. 

Since grasshoppers are capable of migrating from location to location, they are especially problematic. They begin in open rangeland where the eggs were laid. Then they feed on grasses and weeds, when these are gone, they can migrate to other locations and feed on more plants. 

Insecticides can be used to kill grasshoppers and are more effective when grasshoppers are small but when used on a limited areas such as small private property, the effects are minimal. All areas need to be treated in a comprehensive multi agency program to have a greater impact but even then it must be economical to warrant control. 

Insecticides that have a long residual are more effective against grasshoppers and can be applied around the boarders of properties for crawling insects and can reduce local populations. But also pose a high risk to beneficial insects. If you choose to use insecticides, be sure to choose a product labeled for your plant types and grasshopper control and always, follow the label directions of the product. 

If you would like more information on grasshopper control please contact the Extension office at 461-0562. This has been your Gardening Minute with Jason Lamb your Quay County Ag. Extension Agent. Where are programs are open to everyone.

In the Cattle Markets

In The Cattle Markets
John Michael Riley, Assistant Professor
Department of Agricultural Economics, Oklahoma State University
A Return to Normalcy

At the height of the financial crisis most analysts were discussing the validity of a “new normal”. At the time, equity markets – as well as many other markets – were definitely out of kilter and the common rules of thumb and typical patterns no longer existed, thus the reason for these discussions. Today, market norms are still not exactly what they used to be, but it is safe to say that more normal patterns have returned. The exception today is the agricultural marketing world.

Grain markets remain in an awkward state given that nearby old crop prices are below harvest contract prices (typically stored grain is priced higher). Granted, July 2015 corn futures contract prices, for example, stayed above December 2014 corn futures prices through the life of the December 2014 contract life. However, the July 2015 contract price has consistently been below upcoming harvest contract months. Similar relative prices have been noticed in soybean markets. Therefore, the only incentive to empty the bins is to make room for the next crop. The reasons for this largely center on the estimates from USDA that show large quantities of grain in storage and market dynamics in the Southern Hemisphere.

Beef cattle futures and cash prices are also out of line with their “norms”. As prices heated up in the second half of 2014, seasonality went out the window. Since that time, prices have steadied quite a bit, but are still not showing their typical price patterns that have, historically, been in place. This has led many to ask: “When will seasonality return to cattle markets?”

This is a tough call because the events of the past 12-18 months of the current cattle market is still not at all a common occurrence. Heifer retention has been ramped up since at least mid-2014 which has limited the available feeder volume. Herd rebuilding will likely continue for the short term, especially given the recent rains in much needed areas where pasture capacity is available. Second, the high market price levels has led to earlier marketings of calves and feeders, which will limit off-farm supplies moving forward. Finally, feedlot capacities, while shrunken over the past number of years, still indicate available space.

A return to “normal” seasonal patterns does not appear to be on the horizon for calves or feeders through the remainder of 2015 as a result of these reasons. A look at fed cattle prices since the start of 2015 indicates tendencies of moving in this direction, but a consistent pattern has not fully developed. Carcass and beef primal prices have been moving in more typical fashion. However, over the past two weeks high valued middle cuts (rib and loin primals) have weakened quite a bit and this has filtered through upstream markets. It would be foolish to think these unusual moves will not linger as buyers and sellers continue to adjust to the “new normal” in cattle market prices!

Round Table Weeds