~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Oklahoma's latest farm and ranch news
Your Update from Ron Hays of RON for Wednesday March 14, 2007!A service of Midwest Farm Shows
-- Crop Insurance Deadline is Close of Business Thursday!
-- Back to where we were (at least when it comes to wholesale beef prices)
-- See Abby Crisscross the State as ODA beats the drum for Agritourism!
-- Oklahoma Youth Expo Continues with Pigs and Cows(and lots of GREAT Kids!)
-- What about an Ethanol Pipeline?
-- Roundup Ready Alfalfa challenged in court.
-- Farm Bureau's Young Farmers and Ranchers Committee plans a day at the Capitol.
Here's your morning farm news headlines from the Director of Farm Programming for the Radio Oklahoma Network, Ron Hays. Our email this morning is a service of Midwest Farm Shows, featuring the Southern Plains Farm Show in Oklahoma City April 19-21, 2007, as well as the Tulsa Farm Show held each December. Check out details of both of these exciting shows at the official website of Midwest Farm Shows by clicking here.
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Crop Insurance Deadline is Close of Business Thursday!
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~This is for spring planted crops in all counties of the state of Oklahoma- it also applies to several other states in our region- so check with your local crop insurance agent to see when your deadline is. The interesting thing about this deadline is that it simply forces you to declare that you are considering the possibility of planting that particular crop this season and decide which type of crop insurance product you would wish to buy if you did indeed plant that crop.
There are no obligations to actually buy anything. You are not committing to planting a particular crop, or a certain number of acres. As much as anything, it's a signal that you may be in the market for a crop insurance product later in the season once your cropping decisions are made. This is a "keep your options open for risk protection" decision that costs you nothing except some of your time today or tomorrow if you have not already done so.
We talked with Scott Bulling of Oklahoma Farm Bureau who is their crop insurance guru and he walked us through these decisions- including the fact that the second part of the decision- becomes more important this year because of higher and higher input costs. You can elect to take the classic crop insurance- otherwise known as multi-peril insurance- or you can consider a policy with a price component in it as well- revenue assurance and/or crop revenue coverage. The crop prices at which these policies pay are higher- but so are the premiums. You can listen to our conversation with Scott by clicking below- Scott was featured on our morning farm news across Oklahoma this morning on the Radio Oklahoma Network.
Back to where we were (at least when it comes to wholesale beef prices)
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~If you follow our market reports on the Radio Oklahoma Network- you have seen the wholesale boxed beef trade rise quicker than the water from a broken dam rushing down a mountain hollar towards town. ( for those of you not from the hills of Kentucky- a "hollar" is not something you shout- it's a valley tucked up into the hills where you find "ethanol" being produced- but that's another report!) Anyway, back to the beef market- since late February , it has risen from less than $150 per hundred for the Choice cutout value to $165.92 as of yesterday afternoon- that was up another $2.04 yesterday and our research shows that we are now in territory not seen since November 2003!
Why is that significant? Well, think back to November 2003- we were feeling very sorry for the Canadians and their problems with Mad Cow Disease as our cash cattle prices peaked at more than $1.15 a pound. I remember that fall covering the Texas Cattle Feeders Association meeting- and the stories being swapped about the money made on some of the pens of cattle sold that fall were nothing short of legendary. The December 23, 2003 arrived and Secretary of Agriculture Ann Veneman introduced us all to the "cow that stole Christmas." The Canadian Dairy Cow found in Washington state with BSE drove prices down immediately- we lost most of our export business and beef prices have not approached those levels since then- until now! We have now fully retraced back to the historic highs of the wholesale beef market seen just before BSE swamped the US cattle market.!
Apparently at these levels, packers are making money- so says Hedgersedge.Com. In their daily computations, they claim beef processors are making about $11 a head for each bovine critter processed. And, the word from last week that the cash cattle prices at 98 to 99 dollars per hundred weight last week resulted in feeder closeouts that were "slightly profitable." Why is all this happening? Perhaps factor number one is the toughest winter we have had in four or five years- the snow and rain have caused sloppy feedlots, hurting cattle performance and reducing the number of pounds of beef we have available in the market. USDA estimated the average carcass weight on cattle slaughtered last week at 768 pounds, compared to 783 pounds a year ago. There are fewer pounds of beef going through the pipeline- so recent higher prices suggest that the laws of supply and demand are still working!
See Abby Crisscross the State as ODA beats the drum for Agritourism!
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Oklahoma agritourism experts and promoters will begin a series of workshops beginning April 6 and continuing through the May 11, according to Oklahoma Agritourism Director, Abby Cash. “Last year’s workshops were a huge success and the participants asked us to continue offering educational programs,” she said. “We believe we have put together the sort of workshop that will appeal to a broad range of potential and existing agritourism enterprises and we’ve added three more workshops than last year to increase opportunities for people to attend.”
Topics covered will include areas of potential for agritourism opportunities in Oklahoma, landowner liability, identifying funding sources, current tourism trends, marketing, pricing, and more. Cash said representatives from the Oklahoma Department of Tourism, the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, Food, and Forestry and USDA will be on hand to tell how their agencies can help new businesses.
Workshop dates and locations include:
Oklahoma Youth Expo Continues with Pigs and Cows(and lots of GREAT Kids!)
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~If you have ever wanted to see a lawmaker chase pork instead of vote for it- your chance is this evening at 6:30 pm at the Legislative Celebrity Livestock Show during the 2007 Oklahoma Youth expo. It's a chance for lawmakers who may or may not have ever shown an animal to do so- and it's always a real hoot!
As far as the young people themselves are concerned, the gilt show continues today in the hog barns, while the beef heifer show will be wrapping up today. Tomorrow, the barns will be open for barrows and steers to begin to arrive- as we head for the final weekend of the "World's Largest Junior Livestock Show."
The Grand Champions in the barrow and steer shows will be selected on Sunday afternoon- and the premium sale of the top market animals will be held this coming Monday afternoon. We have linked the Schedule of Events as they continue to unfold at this year's Youth Expo- check it out.
What about an Ethanol Pipeline?
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~The Ethanol Infrastructure Expansion Act of 2007 has been introduced in the U.S. Senate. If enacted - the bill would direct the U.S. Department of Energy to study the feasibility of transporting ethanol - by pipeline - from the Midwest to the East and West coasts.
According to Senators Tom Harkin of Iowa and Richard Lugar of Indiana - demand for ethanol is growing - and there may be economic benefits to transporting the alternative fuel through dedicated pipelines. Because they realize such a dedicated system could take a decade or more to build - the Senators say it’s important to study the issue and begin the planning process now.
I thought it was interesting that this concept of wanting to figure out how to bring pipelines into the picture was brought up last week over on the House Ag Committee in a hearing before the Frank Lucas subcommittee that has jurisdiction over conservation and also energy. Tim Barker, Executive Vice President for Orion Ethanol out of Pratt, Kansas brought this subject up in his testimony to the subcommittee. Barker called on Congress to help the fledgling industry develop a pipeline infrastructure,as he told the lawmakers that he believes that "when the ethanol industry matures, it will have been pipelines that will have played a major catalyst to make it occur." Of course, Orion is the company that has signaled they plan on building two ethanol plants in Oklahoma- although they currently seem to be on hold. I have linked Barker's testimony from last week below- it is an interesting read.
Roundup Ready Alfalfa challenged in court.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~A federal district court in California issued a preliminary injunction on the sale and planting of genetically-modified Roundup Ready alfalfa Monday. This is one of the first times that a federal court has ordered a moratorium on a genetically modified crop. Monday's ruling stems from a suit brought last year by the Center for Food Safety against the USDA. The center alleged that the government approved Roundup Ready alfalfa without required environmental studies.
Roundup Ready alfalfa, a product of Monsanto Co., has been on the market for more than a year, and a limited amount already has been commercially planted. The court's ruling allows the continued harvest of the crop, but the seeds cannot be sold as of yesterday and the crop cannot be planted after March 30 until the court issues a final ruling. The court will hear arguments on April 27 and issue a final ruling thereafter.
The seed is one of many genetically modified crops -- including soybeans and corn -- designed to withstand herbicide spraying. Monsanto argues that the ruling adversely impacts farmers who have come to rely on the product.
Farm Bureau's Young Farmers and Ranchers Committee plans a day at the Capitol.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Oklahoma Farm Bureau’s Young Farmers & Ranchers Committee will hold its annual YF&R Legislative Leadership Day on Tuesday, March 20. All 18- to 35-year-old Farm Bureau members who are involved in agriculture are encouraged to attend. The conference will begin at 9 a.m. at the home office in Oklahoma City. Farm Bureau's Public Policy staff will brief participants about ag issues and priority legislation.
Following the briefing, the group will head over to the Capitol to visit with its legislators. YF&R are urged to contact their senators and representatives to invite them to lunch, which will be held at the Capitol in Room 419A & B from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. The group will meet back at the home office at 1:30 p.m. for an international trade session with Oklahoma Farm Bureau National Affairs Director Ericka McPherson.
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