Oklahoma's Latest Farm
And Ranch News

Tuesday, February 21, 2023

Howdy Neighbors!

Here is your daily Oklahoma farm and ranch news update. 


  • Speaker McCall Takes Action to Boost Education in Rural Oklahoma

  • OALP Learns About Biological Pest Control- and Kibbutz in Israel

  • TCFA Continues Study of Possible Implications and Benefits of Cattle Contract Library for Cattle Feeders

  • Oklahoma Forage and Water Supplies Limited This Winter

  • Bridge Loan Product Offered by FBN Finance to Aid in Closing on Land Purchases in Small Time Window

  • Wheat grazing draws to a close with first hollow stem on the horizon

  • Legislative update: education funding, nuisance ordinances, OSU Veterinary Medicine, county zoning

  • Dairy MAX Scholarships Open Now

Speaker McCall Takes Action to Boost Education in Rural Oklahoma

At the 118th American Farmers and Ranchers state convention in Norman, Oklahoma, Farm Director, KC Sheperd had the chance to visit with Speaker of the House Charles McCall, about improving education across the state and looking out for rural school districts.

House Bill 2775, authored by House Speaker Charles McCall, R-Atoka, includes a $500 million increase in funding for public schools throughout the state that will fund $2,500 pay raises for every teacher not designated as an administrator; $50 million to be distributed to schools receiving below-average funding from annual local tax revenue; and $300 million to be distributed to public school districts on a per-pupil basis.

“It is a bill that is dropping this year that really is going to provide a very high level of funding resources for all of our rural schools throughout the state of Oklahoma,” McCall said. “There are over 500 school districts in the state of Oklahoma, and many of those school districts are in the smallest parts of Oklahoma in terms of population.”

The bill specifically, McCall said, will invest an additional 500 million dollars into public education. Of the 500 million dollars, McCall said 300 million dollars will go into a new fund called the “Oklahoma Student Fund.”

“Through that fund, that 300 million dollars, no one school district in the state of Oklahoma will be able to pull more than two million dollars out of that fund,” McCall said.

What this means, McCall said, is that normally, dollars that are absorbed by larger metro schools will be capped at two million.

“That pushes more money, more dollars out, to the rural parts of the state and the smaller schools,” McCall said. “That is a trade-off for a tax credit that would be authorized for private schools, which we know would be heavily utilized in the metros. That doesn’t provide a lot of benefit to the rural parts of the state, so the trade-off in the bill is to give rural Oklahoma more funding dollars than they would normally get through additional public education funding.”

Click here to read more and listen to Speaker McCall about rural school districts, rural broadband, economic development, and more
Sponsor Spotlight

Oklahoma AgCredit supports rural Oklahoma with reliable and consistent credit, today and tomorrow. We offer loans for land, livestock, equipment, operating costs and country homes (NMLSR #809962) to farmers, ranchers and rural businesses across 60 counties. As a cooperative, we are owned by the members we serve. Through our Patronage Program, we have returned more than $74 million to our members since 1997.

For more information on our services or to find a location near you, visit our website here.

OALP Learns About Biological Pest Control- and Kibbutz in Israel

As Class XX of the Oklahoma Ag Leadership continues to travel Israel, I had the chance to visit with Beni Gavrieli, within the communal Kibbutz Sde Eliyahu, talking about biological control and farming in the community.

Bio Tour, located on Kibbutz Sde Eliyahu, offers a unique insight into conventional and organic farming, communal lifestyle and innovation in agriculture through biological control.

One company within the community, BioBee Biological Systems, provides a service to farmers, mainly in greenhouses, but also in open fields and orchards where they provide bumblebees they raise for pollination and natural enemies for insect pests.

While the honeybee is viewed as a popular natural pollinator, Gavrieli said the company uses bumblebees instead for pollination. 

“A honeybee, first of all, is a very aggressive animal, so to putting it in a greenhouse where people work is not conducive as far as safety for the people who work there,” Gavrieli said.

If it is cold, rainy or cloudy, Gavrieli said a honeybee will not go out and pollinate because it already produces honey to eat.

“A bumblebee, on the other hand, does not produce honey, so it has to go out every day in order to collect food for the hive,” Gavrieli said.

Because the bumblebee is a much less aggressive animal and can only sting a number of times, Gavrieli said if the bee becomes aggravated, it will only sting a few times at most before it goes somewhere else. A honeybee, on the other hand, Gavrieli said, stings one time and dies.

AND- we continue our Israeli travels- the second Monday of the experience was a long day- click here for comments on each of the visits from Director Edward Bonjour- featuring Fruit Trees, Beef Cows and Dairy, too.

Click here to read more and listen to Beni Gavrieli talk about the Kibbutz system and more with Ron Hays 

TCFA to Continue Study of Possible Implications and Benefits of Cattle Contract Library for Cattle Feeders

In this episode of Beef Buzz, I am visiting with the President and CEO of the Texas Cattle Feeders Association, Ben Weinheimer, talking about the cattle contract library program, which has gone live by USDA here in the early days of 2023.

The TCFA represents feedlots in Texas, New Mexico, and Oklahoma.

The 2023 Cattle Industry Convention coverage is being powered by Performance Ranch, a part of Zoetis, and by Farm Data Services located in Stillwater, Oklahoma.

Nearly a year ago, Weinheimer said the cattle contract library pilot program started as a voluntary initiative funded by congress, and the USDA worked to implement the program on a voluntary basis. Last summer and fall, Weinheimer said they had some frustrations with the level of progress that was being made, so USDA issued a final rule in December of 2022 requiring the four major packers to submit the terms and conditions of their contracts.

“The effective date of that rule was early January, so here at the meetings this week, USDA rolled out the published version of this- their first iteration of summarizing all of these terms and conditions of these cattle contracts,” Weinheimer said.

Originally, Weinheimer said it was thought that sharing the terms of those packer contracts would provide the cattle feeder with more information, but the way the USDA ultimately published their final rule by limiting it to the four major packers has raised concerns that the rule will make it easier for the packers to decipher the information to individually back out their own data and learn more about what their packer competitors are doing.

Click here to read more and listen to Ben Weinheimer about the cattle contract library program
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For our farmers who have either- always have had cotton on their farms- or those who have more recently have added the fiber crop to their operations- we have a daily report heard on several of our Radio Stations- It's Called Cotton Talk!

Click on the Button below to listen to our most recent report
Click here for our Latest Cotton Talk- Hosted by KC Sheperd

Oklahoma Forage and Water Supplies Limited This Winter

Dr. Derrell Peel, Oklahoma State University Extension Livestock Marketing Specialist, offers his economic analysis of the beef cattle industry as part of the weekly series known as the “Cow Calf Corner” published electronically by Dr. Peel and Mark Johnson. Today, Dr. Peel talks about drought implications in Oklahoma.

Although some recent moisture has reduced drought in Oklahoma, over 80 percent of the state remains in some stage of drought. Drought has been removed from several counties in southeast Oklahoma. Cattle producers face considerable challenges in maintaining herds through winter.

Limited forage supplies in Oklahoma developed over the last year. May 1, 2022 hay stocks were down nearly 48 percent from the previous year. Other hay production was down 21 percent in 2022. Other hay averages nearly 88 percent of total hay production in Oklahoma and is the primary hay used for beef cows. Total hay production in Oklahoma was also down 21 percent year over year in 2022. The 2022 total hay supply in Oklahoma was down just over 26 percent compared to the previous year, the lowest since 2012.

The final crop progress report for the season in late October 2022 showed 80 percent of Oklahoma pasture and ranges in poor to very condition. This indicates that many producers did not carry much standing dry forage into the winter. December 1 Oklahoma hay stocks were down 30 percent year over year to the lowest level since 2012. Unusually cold weather in December no doubt took a big bite out of available hay supplies for many producers. Some producers are scrambling for additional hay with limited success and finding it very expensive. Other hay prices in Oklahoma were reported at $141/ton in December, up 40 percent year over year.   

Livestock water in ponds is very low in much of the state. For many producers, water availability may be the most limiting factor for the remainder of the winter. In most parts of the state, recent rains have not replenished pond levels at all. Water quality is deteriorating as pond levels drop and may be a hazard to animals (see following article).

Click here to read more and listen to Dr. Peel talk about drought implications in Oklahoma

We invite you to listen to us on great radio stations across the region on the Radio Oklahoma Ag Network weekdays-

if you missed this morning's Farm News - or you are in an area where you can't hear it- click below for this morning's Farm news from Ron Hays and KC Sheperd on RON.
Click here to Listen to Our Morning Farm and Ranch News with Ron Hays
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Sponsor Spotlight

Oklahoma Farm Bureau works to improve the lives of all Oklahomans by supporting our state’s agriculture community. As Oklahoma’s largest general farm organization led by Oklahoma farmers and ranchers, OKFB takes grassroots values and advocates for agriculture at the state Capitol and in Washington, D.C., to ensure our way of life continues for generations to come. Farm Bureau hosts leadership events, supports our state’s agricultural youth and connects consumers with agriculture in order to build a brighter future for our state. Become an OKFB member today online at okfarmbureau.org/join. Together, we are rural Oklahoma.

Bridge Loan Product Offered by FBN Finance to Aid in Closing on Land Purchases in a Small Time Window

Farm Director, KC Sheperd, is visiting with the director of sales for the Farmers Business Network finance team, TJ Wilson, about the bridge loan product offered by FBN Finance.

FBN Finance is a membership-based network that is free to join,” Wilson said. “It is kind of a conglomerate of a bunch of farmers across the country, mainly in the United States and Canada. It is really a one-stop-shop when it comes to everything agriculture.”

Recently, Wilson said FBN Finance has launched the bridge loan product, offering farmers with a powerful tool for land purchases.

“We just launched the bridge loan product here for FBN, which is a new product for us and for our customers,” Wilson said. “What we really saw in the industry with this is the appraisal time frame for ag real estate loans is a lengthy process and we needed to find a way to bridge that gap and allow these customers to get their capital sooner.”

Closing a traditional land loan can be a lengthy process: typically taking up to 60 to 90 days to close, often due to the time it takes to complete an appraisal. A bridge loan is an expedited land loan that allows borrowers to secure financing and close on land purchases often on a much shorter timeline than more traditional land loans. The bridge loan acts as a “pre-approval” and enables the buyer to move forward in a manner similar to a cash buyer.

Click here to read more and listen to TJ Wilson talk about FBN Finance’s bridge loan product.

Wheat grazing draws to a close with first hollow stem on the horizon

The first hollow stem stage of grazed wheat, a lead indicator of when to remove cattle from wheat pasture to preserve yield potential, could arrive within the next two to three weeks for some varieties.

Amanda De Oliveira SilvaOklahoma State University Extension specialist for small grains, said her wheat research team is measuring the crop’s progress twice a week, but most wheat varieties, even those planted early, are not quite there yet.

“Wheat is a little behind primarily due to moisture and cold temperatures,” she said. “The drought is really affecting crop growth and development. Also, we didn’t have the amount of forage we would like this year, so we have a lot of producers who didn’t have a chance to graze, especially in the fall.”

Some, but not all, parts of the state have received substantial amounts of rain within the past couple of weeks. Silva said moisture is important for dual-grazed wheat, but varieties planted for grain harvest only will need rain most when the plants leave dormancy later this spring.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture estimates 4.6 million acres of wheat were seeded in 2022, an increase of 7% from 2021. Silva said a lot of the state’s crop, especially those acres intended for forage, was seeded late using the method of dusting in due to extreme drought conditions.

As the weather consistently warms up, she said producers who graze their wheat can begin measuring for first hollow stem every couple of days.

Click here to read more about first hollow stem

Legislative update: education funding, nuisance ordinances, OSU Veterinary Medicine, county zoning

The second week of the 2023 legislative session carried with it the same momentum seen in week one. Once again, state lawmakers were hard at work as they continued committee meetings and hearing bills.

Highlighting the week was an education funding package authored by House Speaker Charles McCall. House Bills 2775 and 1935 would work together to increase public school funding by $500 million and would allocate an additional $300 million in potential tax credits for children in private or home schools.

If passed, the $500 million for public schools would be broken down into three sectors. The first is a $150 million increase to the existing school funding formula to provide a $2,500 pay raise for Oklahoma teachers. The second would grant $50 million to the Redbud Fund, which assists low-income school districts around the state.

The third sector would set aside $300 million to increase each school’s per-pupil funding amount, up to $2 million per school district. The $2 million cap allows a majority of the funding to go to Oklahoma’s smaller, rural schools.

The additional $300 million for students in private and home schools is part of the Oklahoma Parental Choice Tax Credit Act and would potentially give families a $5,000 tax credit per student attending private school and a $2,500 credit per student participating in a homeschool program.

Oklahoma Farm Bureau strongly supports this education package as it was designed to assist rural school districts and provide a compromise in the ongoing school voucher debate. Both bills passed the Appropriations and Budget Committee and move to the House floor for consideration.

Click here to read the full legislative update from OKFB

Dairy MAX Scholarship Applications Now Open

Dairy MAX is committed to strengthening agriculture and sustaining a viable future for dairy farming. One way that Dairy MAX follows through with this commitment is the Dairy MAX scholarship program, which supports local dairy farm families while investing in future generations. Dairy MAX will continue that program this spring and award three $2,500 academic scholarships. Scholarship applications are now open until March 31, 2023.

“Dairy MAX’s commitment to giving over $82,500 in scholarships for the last 16 years to dairy farm families sets this scholarship apart,” said Todd Green, Dairy MAX’s vice president of industry image and relations. This scholarship is a way to help students committed to the future of agriculture and strengthens relationships with future industry leaders.”

To be eligible for the Dairy MAX scholarship, students must reside in the Dairy MAX region, be a graduating high school senior or an undergraduate student currently enrolled in college, and be a child of a dairy farmer, child of a dairy farm employee, or an FFA/4-H dairy show participant.

“The future of our industry is bright, and we are pleased to support these students with big plans for the dairy industry to ensure growth and success,” said Green.

Investing in the recipients’ education propels dairy to feed the world while nourishing communities. The 2023 scholarship applications are now open and will close on March 31, 2023.  For a full list of eligibility requirements and information about applying, visit DairyMAX.org/dairy/scholarships.

Let's Check The Markets!
OKC West is our Market Links Sponsor- they sell cattle three days a week- Cows on Mondays, Stockers on Tuesday and Feeders on Wednesday- Call 405-262-8800 to learn more.
Today's First Look:
Ron on RON Markets as heard on K101  
mornings with cash and futures reviewed- includes where the Cash Cattle market stands, the latest Feeder Cattle Markets Etc.
Hear Today's First Look

Wholesale Boxed Beef Prices were higher- Choice Beef was up $1.85 and Select Beef was up $2.16 on Friday 11/20/2020.

Click on the Button below for the latest report from USDA Market News

Boxed Beef Report

Oklahoma National Stockyards had 8,000 head on Monday, February 20, 2023.

Compared to last week: Feeder steers steady to 2.00 higher, 650-700 lbs are sharply higher at 10.00-14.00. Feeder heifers are 4.00-7.00

higher. Steer and heifer calves 4.00-7.00 higher. Demand is moderate to good. Quality average. 

Click below for the complete closing report.

Oklahoma National Stockyards Market Report from 02/20/23

The Joplin Regional Stockyards had a total run of 9,219 head for their Monday February 20th sale.

A large crowd was on hand for this JRS feeder sale. Compared to last week feeder steers traded steady to 4.00 higher, with a couple of

exceptions. Thirty nine head of 313 lb. steers traded at 303.00. Another package of forty two steers weighing 400 lbs. traded at 280.00.

Feeder heifer calves under 400 lbs. traded 8.00-12.00 higher. Heavier weights traded steady to 4.00 higher. Supply was heavy with very good


Click on the button below for details of the trade as compiled by the USDA Market News Service.

Joplin Regional Stockyards Market from Monday 02/20/2023
OKC West in El Reno Cow and Bull Market Report from 02/20/2023Sharply Higher Prices Reported
Okla Cash Grain:  
Daily Oklahoma Cash Grain Prices- as reported by the Oklahoma Dept. of Agriculture- The report available after the close of the Futures Trade for that day.
Read  Cash Grains Report from 02/20/2023
Our Daily Market Wrapup from the Radio Oklahoma Ag Network - analyzing the Futures Markets for that trading day- as reported by KC Sheperd.
Click to Listen to Our Weekday Wrap with KC
Slaughter Cattle Recap: 
The National Daily Slaughter Cattle Summary- as prepared by the USDA Market News
Read Report
TCFA Feedlot Recap:  
Finally, here is the Daily Volume and Price Summary from the Texas Cattle Feeders Association.
Read Report
Our Oklahoma Farm Report Team!!!!
Ron Hays, Senior Farm/Ranch Broadcaster and Editor
KC Sheperd, Farm Director and Editor

Dave Lanning, Markets and Production

Reagan Calk, Farm News and Email Editor

Pam Arterburn, Calendar and Template Manager
Rural Oklahoma is full of some of the greatest success stories throughout the entire state and is a big reason why Oklahoma is on track to become a top 10 state. 

The Road to Rural Prosperity dives into these stories, bringing you stories covering rural life, agriculture, energy, healthcare, tourism, and politics affecting rural America. 

The Road to Rural Prosperity is here to tell stories about rural America, for rural America.

Oklahoma Farm Report's Ron Hays talks regenerative agriculture and ranching with Jimmy Emmons. Jimmy is a long time resident of Leedey, OK. He is the third generation on the family farm in Dewey County. He and his wife Ginger have been farming and ranching together since 1980. They have a diverse 2000 acre cropping operation growing wheat, soybeans, sesame, sunflowers, irrigated dairy alfalfa hay, canola, grain sorghum and several cover crops for seed.
Jimmy has been monitoring soil health with soil testing since 2011 utilizing cover crops to enhance soil health.

Jimmy and Ginger also have a 250 cow/calf herd and take in yearling cattle for custom grazing on the nearly 6000 acres of native range. Ginger is the primary cattle manager in the operation. The Emmons’ utilize an adaptive multi-paddock grazing system on their range and forages grown on crop ground. They use the system to keep the native grasses and soils healthy, maximize biological diversity and optimize animal health.

As Jimmy Says- Long Live the Soil!

Search for Road to Rural Prosperity and subscribe on your favorite Podcast platform.

To hear this podcast, you can click here or tap below:
Listen to Episode 84 with Ron Hays talking Soil Health in a time of Drought with Jimmy Emmons
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