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Let's Check the Markets!
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Today's First Look:
mornings with cash and futures reviewed- includes where the Cash Cattle market stands, the latest Feeder Cattle Markets Etc.
in El Reno wrapped up their three days of cattle sales this week with the yearlings- Compared to last week: Feeder steers sold mostly 1.00-4.00 lower, feeder heifers traded 2.00-4.00 higher. Demand moderate. Click or tap here for the complete report from USDA Market News.
Okla Cash Grain:
Feeder Cattle Recap:
Slaughter Cattle Recap:
TCFA Feedlot Recap:
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Ron Hays, Senior Farm Director and Editor
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Sam Knipp, Farm Editor
Pam Arterburn, Calendar and Template Manager
Dave Lanning, Markets and Production
|Oklahoma's Latest Farm and Ranch News
Your Update from Ron Hays of RON
Thursday, April 9, 2020
Updated analysis by the American Farm Bureau Federation shows crop and livestock prices falling to levels that threaten the livelihoods of many U.S. farmers and ranchers. Shuttered schools, universities, restaurants, bars and cafeterias are no longer buying milk, meat, fruits, vegetables and other food, causing a downward spiral in crop and livestock prices.
Nearby futures prices for nearly all the major crops have dropped by double-digit percentages. Pushed down by a 40% plunge in ethanol prices, corn prices have fallen 15%. Soybean prices are down 10%, while the price for cotton, which is heavily dependent on foreign manufacturing capacity, sank nearly 30%. Buoyed by demand in the U.S. and China, wheat prices have declined only 3%.
On the livestock front, since the beginning of the year, both beef and pork futures prices have declined more than 30%. Milk futures prices have also fallen sharply, with the price for milk used to make cheese down 28% and the price for milk used to make nonfat dry milk falling by 34%.
"The resilience of farmers and ranchers has been nothing short of stunning, but we must not take for granted their ability to hold on with prices spiraling, taking all hope of breaking even with them," said AFBF President Zippy Duvall. "I stand by my assurance that our food supply remains strong, but America will have fewer farms and ranches supplying it unless USDA acts quickly to deliver aid and our economy is released from the grips of this pandemic soon."
Dr. John Newton, American Farm Bureau Federation chief economist, said, "The drop in demand is pushing the prices farmers would get paid for their crops to lows that may make it very difficult for them to justify putting another crop in the ground this spring. While the whole country is optimistic there is an end in sight, the question of when the economy will be healthy again is fueling further market uncertainty."
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Blayne Arthur is in the unique position to experience the COVID-19 crisis from the perspective of both a beef producer and as Oklahoma's Secretary of Agriculture. On Wednesday's Beef Buzz we explored that perspective as Secretary Arthur and I chat about the pandemic.
On April 1, a letter was sent by 147 congressmen to USDA Sec. Sonny Perdue requesting priority assistance for the beef cattle industry as part of the CARES Act. Less than a week later, Secretary Arthur sent her own letter to USDA, asking for help for Oklahoma cattle producers.
Arthur wants Secretary Perdue to understand how difficult things are for cattle producers and have actually been difficult for several years. We want him to take a good look at how this pandemic is impacting the beef industry, she said.
Specifically, she is encouraging swift action by working with the FSA offices and mimicking past aid programs geared to getting producers' assistance quickly.
Arthur is also adding her name to the long list of those asking the USDA to study the possibility of any market manipulation.
"We want the USDA to investigate all pieces of the supply chain," Arthur said.
The Oklahoma agriculture secretary said the common theme among calls she is getting from the beef industry indicates there is no profit margin left for them.
Producers are working hard to find creative ways to make a profit, Arthur said.
On Wednesday afternoon- after the Blayne Arthur letter and many others were sent- Secretary Sonny Perdue tweeted that their Holcomb Fire investigation, which is still not complete, will now include the COVID-19 fallout. "USDA's Packers and Stockyards Division will be extending our oversight to determine the causes of divergence between box and live beef prices, beginning with the Holcomb Fire in KS last summer and now with COVID-19."
Congressman Frank Lucas (OK-03) released the following statement after the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) provided a FAQ regarding the eligibility for America's agriculture producers, farmers, ranchers, and agriculture cooperatives in the U.S. Small Business Administration's Paycheck Protection Program:
"I'm happy to see the Small Business Administration, in coordination with USDA, release the clarification of the ability for our nation's farmers and ranchers, agribusinesses, and ag co-ops to apply for the Paycheck Protection Program and the Economic Injury Disaster Loan. Agriculture cooperatives play a vital role in helping farmers and ranchers withstand the volatility of the marketplace. During these uncertain times, these important tools will be helpful for producers to utilize."
On March 27th, Congress passed the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act to respond to the spread of COVID-19 and to deliver critical economic relief to individuals, families, and workers. Included in the CARES Act was a provision creating the Paycheck Protection Program administered by the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA). The Program was appropriated $350 billion and is meant to support small businesses and their payroll during the coronavirus pandemic.
In coordination with the SBA, USDA has posted an SBA Paycheck Protection Program Frequently Asked Questions resource for farmers and ranchers.
On Wednesday, NCBA President Marty Smith sent a letter to President Donald Trump, requesting the government to act quickly to investigate the striking disparity between boxed beef prices and cattle prices in the futures and cash markets during the current COVID-19 crisis and following the packing plant fire in Holcomb, Kan., last August.
Our Thursday morning Beef Buzz features comments from Marty Smith, courtesy of our friend and Texas colleague Tony St. James.
You can hear Smith's rationale for the letter by clicking or tapping here to hear and read more.
In the letter to the White House, Smith requests President Trump to direct USDA to expand the ongoing investigation into market activity after the Holcomb fire to include current market volatility, "in the hope of identifying whether inappropriate influence occurred in the markets, and to provide our industry with recommendations on how we can update cattle markets to ensure they are equipped to function within today's market realities."
The letter also requests the Commodity Futures Trading Commission to study the influence of speculators on live and feeder cattle futures contracts to determine whether these contracts remain a useful risk-management tool for cattle producers.
"Fair and functioning cattle markets are vital to the sustainability of our industry," Smith wrote. He also pointed out the importance of keeping the beef supply chain moving during this time of volatility and instability.
Shortly after the letter went to the White House- Secretary Sonny Perdue tweeted that their Holcomb Fire investigation, which is still not complete, will now include the COVID-19 fallout. "USDA's Packers and Stockyards Division will be extending our oversight to determine the causes of divergence between box and live beef prices, beginning with the Holcomb Fire in KS last summer and now with COVID-19."
The Oklahoma Farm Bureau - a grassroots organization that has for its Mission Statement- "Improving the Lives of Rural Oklahomans." Farm Bureau, as the state's largest general farm organization, is active at the State Capitol fighting for the best interests of its members and working with other groups to make certain that the interests of rural Oklahoma are protected. Click here for their website to learn more about the organization and how it can benefit you to be a part of Farm Bureau.
"These are certainly trying and unprecedented times, and chicken processors are doing everything they can to 1) keep their employees safe and 2) work to keep chicken on the shelves - in that order," said National Chicken Council President Mike Brown. "Our members are following all of the CDC and local health department guidelines, and many have consulted with infectious disease physicians to develop site plans."
Brown noted that companies have enacted many additional measures to keep workers safe, including:
* Increasing cleaning, sanitation and fogging frequencies and intensities for equipment and common areas at processing facilities. It is sanitation on steroids right now
* Increased frequency of hand washing/sanitation for employees
* Encouraging employees to stay home if they are not feeling well or believe they may have been exposed to the virus, while still receiving pay and no attendance penalty
* Heightened employee screening for any signs of illness, including temperature checks before entering the plant
* Practicing social distancing not only in common areas, such as break rooms and cafeterias, but also on production lines where possible, including but not limited to:
o Staggered breaks; staggered start/stop times of shifts; creating additional break areas including outdoor areas; installing plastic dividers between workstations; and increasing the space between workers on the production floor
* Implementing travel restrictions and only allowing essential personnel into the plant
* Educating employees about the virus and ways to avoid catching it
* Treating worker safety as a non-competitive issue and sharing best practices
* Company nurses have been trained on CDC protocols for COVID-19. Any employees expressing symptoms are sent immediately to the nurse
* Each company policy is different, but companies are offering paid sick leave, bonus/hazard pay, free chicken for employees, waiving the waiting period for short term disability, making PTO policies more flexible, and many other ways to show appreciation for those workers who are helping to support an entire nation right now
The Animal Agriculture Alliance's 2020 Virtual Stakeholders Summit will leave you primed and prepared with the tools you need to take action and protect the future of animal agriculture and your business. The virtual event will take place on May 7 - 8 and in a series of preconference webinars. For more information and to register, visit Summit.AnimalAgAlliance.org.
Session Highlight: Science as a Tool to Address Animal Welfare
Animal welfare is a topic of critical interest throughout the food chain. In response to questions from curious consumers and pressure campaigns from activist groups, many restaurant, retail and foodservice brands are considering what role they play in the animal welfare dialog and adopting related policies for their supply chains. In a preconference webinar available only to registered Virtual Summit attendees, expert panelists will discuss ways that the animal agriculture industry can help food companies ensure the science of animal welfare isn't lost in navigating conversations where emotions play a larger and larger role.
* Tim Kurt, PhD, scientific program director at the Foundation for Food and Agricultural Research, directs science and technology research programs with targeted outcomes that address cross-sector agricultural challenges. His portfolio includes the International Consortium for Antimicrobial Stewardship in Agriculture (ICASA), the Egg-Tech Prize for in ovo gender identification, the SMART Broiler initiative for automated poultry welfare monitoring technologies and the FFAR Veterinary Fellows.
* Candace Croney, PhD, director of the Center for Animal Welfare Science at Purdue University, and professor of animal behavior and well-being in the departments of Comparative Pathobiology and Animal Sciences. She currently serves as scientific advisor on animal welfare to numerous groups, including Tyson Foods, fairlife, Bob Evans Farms, Kent Pet Group, and Wayne Farms.
* Karen Christensen, PhD, senior director of animal welfare at Tyson Foods, leads a dedicated team who are passionate about welfare, and leads the research at the recently completed Tyson Center for Sustainable Welfare Research, a facility dedicated to broiler welfare.
Xuefeng Ma, Ph.D., Assistant Professor and Josh Anderson, Research Associate posted an article in the Noble Research News and Views Publication discussing the Goals for the small grains breeding at the Noble research institute.
Small grains are an integral part of the forage-livestock system in this region as they can be grazed from late fall to spring, when perennial warm-season forage species remain dormant. In addition, the program aims to improve small grains for enhanced utility as a cool-season cover crop to facilitate agricultural cropping systems that regenerate the land. The major crops covered under the program are wheat, rye, triticale and oat.
The Small Grains Breeding Program's primary goal is to develop small grains cultivars with increased grazing tolerance, winter hardiness, forage yield and forage quality to benefit livestock production primarily in the southern Great Plains, where livestock and forage production are the largest contributors to agricultural income.
Wheat is the largest and most important grain crop in the southern Great Plains. About 9 million acres of wheat are planted in Oklahoma and Texas annually.
Cereal rye has excellent biotic stress tolerance to multiple diseases and abiotic stress tolerance to frost, drought, low pH and marginal soil fertility. It is an important forage crop for fall-winter grazing in the southern Great Plains.
Triticale is a manmade crop from hybridizing wheat and rye for combining the best traits of the two parental species. It inherited its grain yield potential from wheat and its tolerance to various stresses from rye.
Oat is an important forage crop and is a useful alternative to wheat grown for stocker cattle production. Oat is generally the most preferred forage by grazing animals among all small grains because of its superior palatability
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