Oklahoma Wheat Growers President Keeff Felty of Altus Talks Politics and Prices with Carson HornWed, 07 Mar 2018 16:12:24 CST
Altus farmer and President of the Oklahoma Wheat Growers Association Keeff Felty took a moment to speak with Radio Oklahoma Ag Network Associate Farm Director Carson Horn last week during the 2018 Commodity Classic in Anaheim, Calif. He touched on several topics affecting wheat growers in Oklahoma currently, including the ongoing legislative session. You can listen to their complete conversation by clicking or tapping the LISTEN BAR below at the bottom of the page.
Felty says in Oklahoma, farmers throughout the agricultural community are lucky to have a legislature that for the most part understands their business and strives to have a good working relationship with rural citizens. However, some state policymakers have eyed the ag sales tax exemption enjoyed by farmers recently as a possible means to help offset some of the state’s budget woes. Felty defended the exemption as a key financial tool for agribusinessmen.
“For us in Oklahoma it’s crucial. It’s been a long-standing exemption and it’s strictly on input purchases,” he asserted. “We’re purchasing inputs to put together a sellable product and then that product will ultimately go into the tax revenue stream. You’ve got so many layers of sales tax and the way it works, especially in agriculture, it’s all going in and out and it’s already on your ad valorem roll at the county level. It’s a bid deal for agriculture and our survival.”
With commodity prices still severely depressed, Felty insists farmers can’t handle another negative financial hit. The current price of wheat is so strenuous on some farmers’ bottom lines right now, that many have opted to switch to more potentially profitable crops this year. Cotton acres are expected to grow exponentially in Oklahoma this year. As president of the state’s wheat growers’ association, Felty doesn’t seem to be sweating that fact - understanding that the ag business is all cyclical and believes wheat will eventually bounce back.
“Cotton is the banner child right now, so it’s the Cinderella of commodities,” he remarked. “We know it’s going to go the other way, wheat is going to come back up and it’s really not all bad, because it helps with rotation and allows you to make some progress on some of the agronomic factors that we work with every day.
“It’s a little uncomfortable, a little different mindset. You just kind of got to get your head around it and go do it.”
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