~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Oklahoma's latest farm and ranch news
Your Update from Ron Hays of RON for Tuesday August 30, 2011A service of Johnston Enterprises, P & K Equipment/ P & K Wind Energy and American Farmers & Ranchers Mutual Insurance Company!
-- New Dust Regulations Could Be Devastating to Agriculture
-- Oklahoma Crop Weather Update- Uncertainty for Wheat Crop in 2012
-- Environmental Protection Agency Provides Funds to Oklahoma for Water Quality Work
-- OSU's Dr. Derrell Peel says to Expect Changes in Feeder Cattle Markets this Fall
-- Oklahoma Rural Electric Cooperatives Receive Funding from USDA
-- Oklahoma Farmer Named to USDA Agricultural Technical Advisory Committee
-- Come Tweet With Me- And A Farm Bill Game Changer...
-- 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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New Dust Regulations Could Be Devastating to Agriculture
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Dust regulations have been in existance since 1978, however, these regulations have never directly applied to agriculture or agricultural practices. But the most recent regulations to come into play from President Obama and the Enviromental Protection Agency are the most stringent regulations on agricultural dust so far.
Tamra Thies of the National Cattlemen's Beef Association says the EPA is more concerned about dust in urban areas rather than rural areas because of pollutants from vehicular traffic that becomes attached to the dust particles. However, the EPA claims that rural areas can not be exempt from this rule because there needs to be a national standard on dust regulation.
The current regulations on dust only allow for one violation per year to be in attainment, which the EPA is currently trying to allow for more violation opportunities says Thies. While this does sound odd, the EPA is trying to prevent putting areas with more dust spikes per year into non-attainment says Thies.
Thies says while the EPA wants to allow for the additional dust spikes, they are going to have to make the standards twice as stringent. And once the standards are made twice as stringent, it will be devastating for agriculture says Thies.
Our Beef Buzz programs are heard on many of our great radio stations across the region that are a part of the Radio Oklahoma Network. They can also be heard on our website- to see a full list of previous Beef Buzz reports, go to www.OklahomaFarmReport.Com and click on the Beef Buzz button on the left hand side of any page. Click on the LINK below for this Beef Buzz featuring Tamra Thies of NCBA.
Oklahoma Crop Weather Update- Uncertainty for Wheat Crop in 2012
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~The latest Crop Weather Update is out and the topic of discussion is the uncertainty surrounding wheat for 2012 saying- "Grandfield has now reached 100 degrees for 93 days in 2011 shattering the previous record held by Hollis in 1956. Producers are ready to put the 2011 year behind them and are looking ahead to the 2012 crop year. Record temperatures, drought conditions and high soil temperatures across the state are raising concerns for the upcoming wheat crop. Producers are ready to plant but with the lack of moisture, planting is on hold. As producers wait on moisture conditions to improve, news from the OSU wheat trials has shown that more drought tolerant varieties are on the market, and in the pipeline. Buffalo and Freedom both set the week's high temperature at 112 degrees with a low of 56 degrees at Nowata and Oilton. Rainfall was light across the state with the North Central district reporting 0.21 inches with only traces reported in the Southwest district of 0.03 inches."
For our spring-planted crops, according to the USDA- "Dry soil moisture
conditions continued to keep field work at a reduced pace, as seedbed
preparations are behind normal for all small grains. Plowing of wheat
ground was 86 percent complete and 26 percent of seedbeds were prepared by
week's end. Rye ground plowed reached 87 percent complete and 18 percent
of seedbeds were prepared by Sunday. Plowing of oat ground reached 91
percent complete with 28 percent of seedbeds prepared. Canola seedbed
preparation reached 44 percent complete by the end of the
Hay shortages and supplemental feeding continued across the state. Hay that is in the state has continued to be rated mostly very poor. Second cuttings of alfalfa reached 93 percent complete and third cuttings reached 38 percent complete, 60 points behind normal. First cuttings of other hay were 94 percent complete and the second cutting was only 17 percent complete by Sunday.
Environmental Protection Agency Provides Funds to Oklahoma for Water Quality Work
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~The recent decision by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to provide nearly $1 million in additional funds for water quality work in Oklahoma through voluntary, locally-led conservation efforts is a welcome one according to Joe Parker, President of the Oklahoma Association of Conservation Districts (OACD). Parker said this recent decision by EPA shows recognition of the water quality work going on in Oklahoma.
"We are very happy with this recent development in our ongoing dialogue with EPA," Parker said. "This new injection of funding for our water quality efforts in Oklahoma recognizes the outstanding work that is taking place on the ground in our state to address non-point source pollution through voluntary conservation practices. Too often it seems that EPA and production agriculture are at odds with one another, but this new money recognizes the hard work Oklahoma agriculture producers and other landowners are doing to protect our water. It's nice to have a chance to find agreement on this issue that is so important to us all."
The action singled out by Parker for praise was the redirecting of nearly $1 million in EPA clean water act section 319 funds (319) to Oklahoma for voluntary, cooperative conservation work in the North Canadian River/Oklahoma River Watershed and the Illinois River Watershed. These funds will go to supplement the ongoing effort by local conservation districts, the Oklahoma Conservation Commission and the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) to work with agriculture producers and other landowners to establish best management practices to control non-point source pollution in water through voluntary, locally-led means.
These programs will continue the work already started in these watersheds to address non-point source pollution; work that in some cases has resulted in reductions of nutrients as high as 60% to 70% in certain areas and led to the delisting of several Oklahoma stream segments from the EPA list of streams that are impaired for nutrients, bacteria and sediment.
OSU's Dr. Derrell Peel says to Expect Changes in Feeder Cattle Markets this Fall
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~August feeder cattle prices are usually near the seasonal peak with prices dropping from through the remainder of the year. At least, that is how feeder prices have averaged over the last 10 years. In Oklahoma, 525 pound Medium/Large Number 1 steers are currently about $140.00/cwt. The ten-year average price index would suggest a November low about $10-$12/cwt lower than current prices, Heavier feeder steers (727 pounds) are currently averaging $137.00/cwt. and would drop seasonally by $4-5/cwt. into November.
Can we expect typical seasonal price patterns this fall? According to Dr. Derrell Peel, Oklahoma State University Extension Livestock Marketing Specialist, there are several factors that may modify this seasonal price pattern. First is that seasonal price patterns may be changing. Over the past 10-15 years, feeder price patterns have changed from spring peaks to summer peaks in seasonal prices. The seasonal peaks in calf prices this year were in the spring, although heavy feeders have peaked in price this summer. Over time, one of the impacts of high feed prices is likely to shift the industry back to spring price peaks.
The next factor is corn prices. Feedlot ration costs are very close to a level where feeder cattle have to trade at even money to fed cattle in order to have a feedlot breakeven. This won't necessarily happen immediately, but over time, continued high prices of corn will limit feeder prices, especially at heavier weights. A spike in corn prices this fall could push feeder prices lower, not for normal seasonal reasons but lower nevertheless.
The third factor is the drought. The southern drought has changed both supply and demand prospects for the fall. The dry conditions at the current time limit any prospects for wheat pasture this fall and winter. Normally, this lack of demand is bearish to stocker prices. However, the drought has also caused significant early marketing of calves in the Southern Plains. There will likely be a significantly smaller fall run of calves, which may offset the lack of wheat pasture demand. Thus, it is not clear whether the net impact on prices will be positive or negative. My expectation at this time is for little or no seasonal price pressure on calves and stockers this fall beyond the pressure already noted on stocker prices in this region.
Oklahoma Rural Electric Cooperatives Receive Funding from USDA
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced that rural electric cooperative utilities will receive funding for smart grid technologies and improvements to generation and transmission facilities. These loans will benefit more than 19,000 rural consumers in 14 states. Oklahoma was selected for two projects working on improving existing electric distribution lines and transmission lines.
"Rural electric cooperatives provide direct jobs and support economic growth in our rural communities," Vilsack said. "By financing electrical system improvements USDA and the Obama Administration helps ensure sustainable growth and business job creation. Investments in smart grid technologies will give rural electric utilities and their consumers one more tool to better manage use of electricity, increase reliability and lower costs."
Among the rural electric cooperative utilities that will receive
funding is the Anadarko, Oklahoma based Western Electric Farmers
Cooperative- $184,100,000, to finance generation and transmission system
improvement projects and new construction; to build 16 miles of new
transmission line, and improve 18 miles of existing transmission line.
The $900 million in loans announced today are provided by USDA Rural Development's Rural Utilities Service (RUS) to help electric utilities upgrade, expand, maintain and replace rural America's electric infrastructure. RUS funding will help build nearly 1,500 miles of line and improve more than 1,700 miles of existing line in rural areas. More than $19 million will finance smart grid technologies. USDA Rural Development also funds energy conservation and renewable energy projects.
Oklahoma Farmer Named to USDA Agricultural Technical Advisory Committee
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~American Farmers & Ranchers (AFR) member and Tillman Co. farmer, Harvey Schroeder, was recently named to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Agricultural Technical Advisory Committee (ATAC) for Trade in Tobacco, Cotton and Peanuts.
The committee's objectives are to make recommendations concerning consumers, producers, processors and traders of tobacco, cotton and peanuts relating to trade policy activities undertaken by the United States. This group will provide advice and information regarding trade issues that affect both domestic and foreign production and trade.
When announcing the committee, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said, "USDA and the U.S. Trade Representative rely heavily on the individuals who serve on these committees to provide their expert advice on U.S. trade policy and priorities."
Schroeder owns and operates Schroeder Farms in Frederick, Okla., and is currently the Executive Director of the Oklahoma Cotton Council. He was nominated for this position by the National Farmers Union (NFU), at the request of American Farmers & Ranchers/Oklahoma Farmers Union.
Come Tweet With Me- And A Farm Bill Game Changer...
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Later this morning- we will be "tweeting" from the Oklahoma Farm Bureau Drought Conference that starts about 9:30 at the OFB state headquarters across the street from the State Capitol. The reality of this drought is seen in the latest numbers- the latest Crop Weather update we discussed in an earlier story shows that 92% of the Oklahoma pasture and ranges are in poor to very poor condition- and the latest National Drought Monitor shows 66.87% of the state's land mass is in the clenched fist of exceptional drought- D4 is what the weather buffs call it.
We don't expect a dollar figure to come out of this meeting as to the impact of the Oklahoma drought to this point as we saw released a few days ago in Texas- $5.2 billion in drought losses to agriculture in that state (and rising). OSU Ag Economists are working on a number and we anticipate that will be released in another couple of weeks. As much as anything, this meeting will be discussing how to work through these harsh conditions- and remain as whole as possible- both mentally and economically. Click here for our Ron_on_RON tweet stream to keep up on the meeting as it unfolds.
Oklahoma Farm Bureau Board Member Rodd Moesel tells us via Facebook
that he and other Oklahoma Ag Leaders had a chance to interact with the
Chairman of the House Ag Committee Frank Lucas yesterday about what needs
to be a part of the 2012 farm bill. Rodd writes "Congressman Lucas spent
several hours with a number of Oklahoma Ag leaders today to discuss the
issues & share ideas! Thanks for the chance to put in my 2 cents!"
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Let's Check the Markets!
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Current cash price for Canola is $13.18 per bushel- as of the close of trade Monday, while the 2012 New Crop contracts for Canola are now available are $13.43 per bushel- delivered to local participating elevators that are working with PCOM.
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