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|Oklahoma's Latest Farm and Ranch News
Your Update from Ron Hays of RON
Monday, April 6, 2020
U.S. pork exports posted the third largest month on record in February while U.S. beef exports also recorded double-digit gains from a year ago, according to data released by USDA and compiled by the U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF). Through February, exports of both pork and beef are on a record pace and account for a growing share of record-large U.S. production.
February pork exports reached 273,056 metric tons (mt), up 46% from a year ago, valued at $726.6 million (up 59%), trailing only the volume and value totals from December 2019 and January 2020. For the first two months of the year, pork exports exceeded last year's pace by 41% in volume (546,659 mt) and 54% in value ($1.47 billion).
Pork export value per head slaughtered was $67.77 in February, up 50% from a year ago and the highest since 2014. The January-February average was $65.02, up 45%. Exports accounted for just under 33% of total February pork production and nearly 30% for muscle cuts only, the highest on record and up substantially from last year (24% and 21%, respectively). The January-February ratios were 31.3% of total production and 28.6% for muscle cuts, up from 23.8% and 20.6%, respectively, in 2019.
U.S. beef exports also achieved outstanding growth in February, increasing 18% from a year ago to 112,021 mt and climbing 17% in value ($681 million). These results pushed January-February volume 10% above last year's pace at 219,395 mt and 11% higher in value ($1.35 billion).
Beef export value per head of fed slaughter was $343.03 in February, up 11% from a year ago and the highest since December 2018. The January-February average was $321.86, up 7%. Exports accounted for 15.3% of total February beef production, up from 13.9% a year ago, and 12.4% for muscle cuts only (up from 11%). Through February, exports accounted for 14.1% of total beef production and 11.5% for muscle cuts, up from 13.5% and 10.7%, respectively, last year.
With COVID-19 dominating all news headlines, including those related to global trade, USMEF President and CEO Dan Halstrom said the February export results confirmed that global demand for high-quality protein remains strong and resilient.
Midwest Farm Shows is proud to produce the two best Farm Shows in the State of Oklahoma annually- the Tulsa Farm Show each December and the Oklahoma City Farm Show each April.
They would like to thank all of you who participated in their 2019 Tulsa City Farm Show.
Up next will be the Oklahoma City's premier spring agricultural and ranching event with returns to the State Fair Park June 18-19-20, 2020.
Now is the ideal time to contact the Midwest Farm Show Office at 507-437-7969 and book space at the 2020 Oklahoma City Farm Show. To learn more about the Oklahoma City Farm Show, click here.
In light of how things have significantly changed around the world in the last 30 days due to the COVID-19 crisis , the number of corn and soybean acres farmers said they would plant this year, as indicated in the March 31 USDA Prospective Plantings Report, could change before spring planting gets underway. That was one of the key points brought out during a University of Illinois Extension farmdoc webinar April 3 featuring Rob Johansson, USDA chief economist.
Things have changed since late February and early March when farmers completed the plantings survey, Johansson said. For example, soybeans have strengthened relatively to corn since early February, suggesting those two acreage numbers could change in the next report.
The USDA's prospective plantings survey results indicate farmers intend to plant 97 million acres of corn, and 83.5 million acres of soybeans. Compared to USDA's February estimates, corn planted acres increased by 3 million. The report also indicates farmers intend to plant 7.3 million more corn acres than in 2019, a projected 8% year-over-year increase. The prospective soybean acres are 1.5 million acres fewer than USDA's February estimates, but up 7.4 million acres, or 10%, compared to 2019's significantly low soybean production year of 76.1 million planted acres.
The numbers suggest farmers may move more acres into soybeans rather than corn this year.
The real challenge is trying to determine the COVID-19 impact on farmers' planting intentions. Johansson used the 2008-9 recession to draw some conclusions.
We did see a dramatic decline on cotton, dairy and cattle receipts at the height of that recession, Johansson said.
As global growth declines this year, we will likely see a quick recover moving out into 2021-22, he said.
The USDA chief economist also said the $9.5 billion tagged for agriculture producers in the CARES Act could be distributed to a wide array of producers.
The spending authority includes support for a broad range of ag producers, Johansson said.
Today I caught up with Dr. Derrell Peel, OSU Extension livestock economist, about moving forward during uncertain times.
Dr. Peel said we're in unprecedented territory for the cattle market. We've seen massive shocks in the market before, Peel said, but these were specific events and we were able to quickly think past the event.
"This one is different," Peel said. There is just a lot more uncertainty and it involves everyone, he said.
This time of year, we normally see producers moving cattle off wheat pasture, but stocker feeder prices are in the dumps right now. Can producers wait until prices improve?
"I think waiting this out in the short run for the next 30 to 60 days, is not an option," Peel said. "I see little prospects in things letting the market rebound significantly in that time period."
Unfortunately, the uncertainty ramps up in the mid-term, around 6 months out.
In some ways, the period 2 to 9 months out, is more uncertain," Peel said. "At some point we are going to peak but when will that happen. It's even a bigger challenge as we try to figure out how this will play out," Peel said.
The OSU economists advises producers to stay in a "defensive" mode and put any expansion plans on hold.
USDA's Risk Management Agency (RMA) is authorizing self-certification on replant inspections and waiving witness signatures in certain situations as part of a broader suite of flexibility to support producers during the coronavirus pandemic. Specifically, Approved Insurance Providers (AIPs) may allow the use of self-certification replant inspections for certain crops with 100 gross acres (before considering share) per unit in lieu of 50 acres, and they may waive the witness signature requirement for approval of Assignment of Indemnity through July 15, 2020, for applicable crop years.
"RMA recognizes the challenges the crop insurance industry and America's farmers and ranchers face," RMA Administrator Martin Barbre said. "We will continue to provide flexibility that supports the health and safety of all parties while also ensuring the Federal crop insurance program continues to serve as a vital risk management tool."
Many state and local governments have issued "stay-at-home" orders in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, which may prevent loss adjusters from completing on-the-farm replant inspections and obtaining associated signatures required for replant certification purposes. In the absence of "stay-at-home" orders, loss adjusters and policyholders may also be prevented from meeting in person due to concerns of spreading COVID-19.
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From dairy farmers with nowhere to send their milk and cattle ranchers reeling from plummeting beef prices, the impact of the coronavirus is rippling through farm country. Corn, cotton and soybean futures have tumbled, ethanol plants have been idled, and some fruit and vegetable farmers are finding their best option is leaving produce in the field.
Price forecasts for most agricultural products are bleak. In the past month, dairy prices have dropped 26-36%, corn futures have dropped by 14%, soybean futures are down 8% and cotton futures have plummeted 31%. Hog futures are down by 31%. A surge in demand for beef emptied grocery store meat aisles, but there is no lack of supply. Despite a rise in retail prices in some areas, the prices paid to cattle ranchers have fallen 25%.
During a special teleconference with the media outlets, Two Farm Bureau members talked about their current situation while trying to navigate through the COVID-19 Challenges. Radio Oklahoma Ag Network Farm Director Ron Hays heard from James Alderman, a Vegetable farmer in Florida, and Peter Bakken, a Cattle farmer from Minnesota about the daily challenges they are facing on their farms. Click or tap the listen bar below to hear their comments.
Dairy producers were optimistic at the start of 2020 that it would be a turnaround year, with milk prices on the rise and feed costs holding steady. But hopes were dashed when the coronavirus quickly and dramatically impacted demand, disrupted supply chains and led to the 26-36% drop in prices. Schools, restaurants and universities that were among the main purchasers of milk and milk products were suddenly shuttered, leaving dairy farmers with far more milk than plants are capable of processing. The sometimes-empty supermarket milk coolers reflect supply chain adaptation challenges, not lack of supply. Experts do not expect retail demand for dairy to make up for lost food service and restaurant demand.
As the Coronavirus Pandemic rages- there has been discussion about the ability of custom harvest crews to travel as they normally do- starting in Texas harvesting hard red winter wheat in a matter of weeks. OSU Extension Grain Market Economist Dr. Kim Anderson called it a possible "concern" for Oklahoma wheat producers, who will see their wheat ready for the combines to pull into their fields by the end of May or the first of June.
Well- the US Custom Harvesters are taking exception to that worry- saying that concern is NOT going to happen, because U.S. custom harvesters WILL BE right there when you need them.
Mandi Sieren, Operations Manager for US Custom Harvesters traded emails with me last week and offered this response to Dr. Anderson's commentary- "We have plenty of crews that will make this happen(meaning harvest). And if one won't, that's what our organization is here for. We have many farmers call us looking for a harvester and they find one. "So just because of COVID, there's no reason to put a fear out there that custom harvesters won't come south."
U.S. Custom Harvesters is a company based our of Turon, Kansas. They are a member's based organization that has around 400 harvester members and a little over 200 associate members. U.S. Custom Harvesters, Inc. is a non-profit association of professional harvesters (combine, forage, hay, and cotton), all serving the needs of the American farmer.
Director, Raph Jolliffe says the goal is to make harvesting easier for farmers by freeing up their time and resources, "Harvesting is a very labor-intensive time of the year, very equipment intensive-capital intensive time of the year. So if you are in the market, you can hire a harvester. Now you've taken all the extra equipment out of the shed, all the money off the banknote, and you don't have all the headache of harvest time. You've got somebody else that comes in, gets the job accomplished for you. Meanwhile, you are busy doing other chores that need to be accomplished while harvesting is happening and you don't lack on family time, and the rest of the operations around the farm that need to take place at the same time."
The deadline for students to apply to receive one of nine $1,000 college scholarships from the Oklahoma Farm Bureau Young Farmers and Ranchers Committee has been extended to April 30, 2020.
The Oklahoma Farm Bureau Young Farmers and Ranchers Committee is now accepting applications for its annual $1,000 scholarships for high school seniors who will pursue a higher degree in agriculture after graduation.
Nine $1,000 scholarships, one from each OKFB district, will be awarded to high school seniors pursuing a career in agriculture at an Oklahoma institution of high learning as a full-time student.
Applications must be postmarked no later than April 30, 2020. Applicants must meet all of the following eligibility requirements:
Must be a graduating high school senior.
Must enroll full time in an agriculture program at an accredited Oklahoma institution of high learning.
Must be a member of a Farm Bureau family (father, mother or legal guardian memberships qualify; grandparents', siblings' or other relatives' memberships may not be used). Membership must remain in good standing for the duration of the scholarship.
Children of paid employees of Oklahoma Farm Bureau and Affiliated Companies are not eligible
Applicants must also provide the following materials along with the scholarship application:
A copy of the applicant's official high school transcript.
A copy of the applicant's resume with activities and honors listed.
Two character reference letters.
Three essays (500 words maximum), double-spaced, typed in Times New Roman, 12-point font.
No. 1: Explain your preferred career and describe why you have chosen it.
No. 2: How can Farm Bureau encourage young people to engage in agriculture?
No. 3: Explain how receiving this scholarship will help you achieve your educational goals.
The application can be found on the OKFB website at okfarmbureau.org/applications.
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