From: Ron Hays []
Sent: Friday, February 08, 2008 00:36
Subject: Oklahoma's Farm News Update
Oklahoma's latest farm and ranch news
Your Update from Ron Hays of RON for Friday February 8, 2008!
A service of Farm Credit of East Central Oklahoma, KIS Futures & Midwest Farm Shows
-- Cattlefax Calls Cattle Market Mostly Flat to Slightly Weaker in 2008.
-- Region IV of NCBA Elects Ford Drummond Regional Veep- Salutes Paul Hitch as well.
-- Farm Transitions Conference Coming Mid February- BUT Registration Deadline is Today!
-- $78 Million and Counting- the Amount of Ag Disaster Aid for Oklahoma...
-- State Lawmaker Says "Abolish the Abstract Monopoly"
-- Harkin fires back at Bush over Farm Bill Veto threat.
-- Random Reno Ramblings...

Howdy Neighbors!

Here's your morning farm news headlines from the Director of Farm Programming for the Radio Oklahoma Network, Ron Hays. We are proud to welcome KIS Futures as a regular sponsor of our daily E-Mail. KIS Futures provides Oklahoma Farmers & Ranchers with futures & options hedging services in the livestock and grain markets- Click here for their website or call them at 1-800-256-2555.

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Cattlefax Calls Cattle Market Mostly Flat to Slightly Weaker in 2008.
The Cattlefax Market Outlook Seminar is always one of the highlights of the annual Cattle Industry Convention and Trade Show. This year's edition did not disappoint. With frequent mentions of the impact of high grain prices on the cattle business, the Cattlefax team predicted steady to slightly higher slaughter cattle prices for all of 2008, with an average price from $92 to $94 per hundred, and a range of $85 to $102.

For yearling cattle, a 750 pound steer is predicted to be a couple of dollars cheaper on average this year than last at $104, and a range of $94 to $116. Kevin Good with Cattlefax says that we may have already seen the lows of the year on yearling cattle. As far as calf prices go, he sees three dollars a hundred cheaper calf prices this year than last at an annual average of $115 with a range from $110 to $125 per hundred. He also predicts reduced profitability for cow calf operators this year versus the last few years, as the red ink that has been generated in the packer and feedlot end of the business may rush downstream and swamp lower return cow calf producers this year.

We have Kevin's comments on our Bovine Blog at WWW.OklahomaFarmReport.Com- go to our link provided below to be taken to that page and scroll down to the Cattlefax Outlook Seminar report. We also have uploaded the weather comments provided to the group by Dr. Art Douglas of Creighton University, who traditionally provides a spring and summer outlook at this annual Seminar.

Click here for the Bovine Blog- our coverage of the Cattle Industry Convention in Reno!

Region IV of NCBA Elects Ford Drummond Regional Veep- Salutes Paul Hitch as well.
At the Caucus of Region IV (which comprises Oklahoma, Arkansas and Texas), cattle producers elected Ford Drummond of Pawhuska as the new regional Vice President for the coming year. Drummond is a cow calf operator from Osage County.

The Region IV producers also passed unanimously a resolution that they will offer to the full organization on Saturday that salutes Paul Hitch for his service to the cattle industry. The Resolution reads
"WHEREAS Paul Hitch has been a visionary and dedicated leader of the livestock industry: and
WHEREAS, He has committed his time, energy, and resources to improving all sectors of the livestock industry: and
WHEREAS, He has been a tireless volunteer and voice having served in the leadership ranks of the Oklahoma Beef Council, Oklahoma Cattlemen's Association, Texas Cattle Feeders Association, the Oklahoma State Board of Agriculture, Oklahoma State University, and the National Cattlemen's Beef Association; and

WHEREAS, he has also contributed a great portion of his time and resources to local community projects, philanthropic endeavors, and contributing to the betterment of society, and
WHEREAS, He continues to serve as a model livestock producer and advocate;
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED Region IV of the National Cattlemen's Beef Association wishes to express its heartfelt appreciation to Mr. Paul Henry Hitch, Hitch Enterprises and the Hitch Family for their unwavering support of the beef industry.

Farm Transitions Conference Coming Mid February- BUT Registration Deadline is Today!
It was a very popular seminar put on by OSU this past year in Enid, and now we hear from Damona Doye that another two part seminar is planned for northeastern Oklahoma. It's being called Farm Transitions, and it's designed to help get families ready for the passing of the farm or ranch to the next generation. And, it's lot more than just an estate planning session- we are talking about not just the legalities, but also the emotions, the stress and the joys that can be a part of this process.

This conference is all about getting everybody concerned on the same page when it comes to moving the family farm down to the next generation. The brochure for the seminar says "Is the farm ready for the next generation? Are you anticipating transferring farm assets and management? Have you developed a deliberate, financially-sound plan for doing so? This conference is designed to help you and your family consider the many dimensions of a serious decision and make choices that are right for you."

While this event will be held in Pryor, east of Tulsa, it's open to anyone across our state and even folks from our neighboring states as well. Damona Doye needs to hear from you, as the deadline for registration is February 8, which is TODAY! The sessions themselves will be held February 18-19 with the followup coming March 3-4. We have the brochure linked that tells all about this unique seminar- click below to learn more.

Click here to learn more about Farm Transitions, all about passing of the farm to the next generation.

$78 Million and Counting- the Amount of Ag Disaster Aid for Oklahoma...
We got an update from Jim Reese, our state director for the Farm Service Agency in Oklahoma on the amount of money that has flowed thus far from federal coffers to Oklahoma Farmers and Ranchers from three ag disaster programs that have been open for signup since last fall.

Jim writes "Oklahoma ranks 1st with $19,357,133 in the Livestock Compensation Program. We know Texas will eventually pass us based on the number of cattle, but we are getting it out quicker. Oklahoma ranks 5th in Livestock Indemnity Program, which pays for dead or lost cattle due to disaster with $210,423. That is mostly the Panhandle snow storm in late '06. Oklahoma ranks 5th in Crop Disaster Program with the distribution of $57,978,956. Many of these losses are the result of the '07 wheat crop, but includes all other covered crops and years as well. These are not final, but only a status report as of February 5, 2008.

We have a chart that Jim has provided to us showing how Oklahoma stacks up versus other states in the money that has been handed out by Uncle Sam thus far. That chart is linked below.

Click here for a chart on Federal Government Disaster Aid thus far- state by state.

State Lawmaker Says "Abolish the Abstract Monopoly"
In a time of difficulty in the housing market, state Rep. Jason Murphey is calling on the Legislature to enact what he believes to be one of the important parts of the recently released 100 Ideas program. The implementation of Idea number 27 would end the unfair abstract fee that is placed on Oklahoma home owners. Murphey said the abstracting industry, which has been known for its ties to the political-patronage machine of old-guard Oklahoma politicians, is "completely unnecessary."

Murphey said it is a moral imperative for Oklahoma's new leaders to put an end to the abuses of the past by approving House Bill 3229, by state Rep. Charles Key (R-Oklahoma City). House Bill 3229 would allow home buyers to choose to pay an abstractor, as opposed to requiring it. "The fact that the people of Oklahoma used House Speaker Lance Cargill's 100 Ideas program to express their opposition to the abstracting process demonstrates that they know it is time for us to move forward and eliminate this unfair fee," Murphey said.

This was an issue that was brought up and discussed last fall during the state Resolutions Session of the Oklahoma Farm Bureau, with proponents of the change saying that most other states allow a property owner to simply buy title insurance and not do the abstract work- they claimed it was time that Oklahoma joined the list of states that allow that practice to occur.

Harkin fires back at Bush over Farm Bill Veto threat.
The farm bill follies continue as the Chairman of the Senate Ag Committee and the Chair of the upcoming Conference Committee, Senator Tom Harkin of Iowa, told reporters that he just does not understand why the President is not willing to negotiate a fair and reasonable deal with Congress.

Harkin issued the following statement after the latest Bush veto threat- "For President Bush to continue to take a hard line and threaten to veto a farm bill is unproductive and against the bipartisan spirit that made this bill a reality and that carried it through the Senate with one of the largest votes in the history of farm bills. This measure is critical for our farming families and rural communities in Iowa and across this country, so I urge the president to back away from this position and instead work with farm bill negotiators to come up with a bill he can sign."

In talking with various Washington watchers, the consensus is that President Bush really hardened the position of the White House by using the language he did on Wednesday at the Schafer Swearing in ceremony in saying he would veto anything that came from the Congress that didn't fit the standards he has been demanding. Bush sucked a lot of the "wiggle room" out of the dealings with Congress with that statement, and makes the odds longer for a farm bill deal that becomes law anytime soon.

Random Reno Ramblings...
At a huge event like this Cattle Industry Convention, everyone's perspective of what they see and hear is just a little different- and I wanted to share with you a few "bits and pieces" that we have seen and heard this week.

Restaurant Operator Alejandro Benes from southern California serves a lot of Certified Angus Beef- but he sure got my attention when he was talking about issues that could cause consumers to back away from beef. He told the group that he sometimes worries about the Certified Angus Beef Logo- because it has a cow in the middle of the logo- and he is concerned that it reminds consumers that their steak comes from a live animal- and that could get some consumers a little squeamish.

Art Douglas of Creighton University seemed to be saying at the Cattlefax Market Outlook Seminar that if you want to see the jet stream anytime soon- go north (which means fewer chances for us to get storm systems through carrying rain).
Brett Stuart of Cattlefax told participants here in Reno that "US Grain Fed Beef is really becoming a niche market item overseas."
Rob Cannell of McDonalds USA summed up his thoughts on consumers by saying "Consumers don't want to feel guilty- they just want to enjoy their food."

There sure are a lot of companies out there selling their solution to animal ID and source verification- I quit counting in the trade show after I saw at least a dozen such companies all out there going for the cattle industry's money.
Finally, my wife told me there sure are a lot of cowboy hats in and around everywhere we go this week- and I told her, that's true- and in this case the old adage of "All Hat and No Cattle" is NOT an accurate statement at all. Reno this week is darn close to being the Cowboy Capitol of the nation!

Our thanks to Midwest Farm Shows, KIS Futures and Farm Credit of East Central Oklahomafor their support of our daily Farm News Update. For your convenience, we have our sponsors' websites linked at the top of the email- check them out and let these folks know you appreciate the support of this daily email, as their sponsorship helps us keep this arriving in your inbox on a regular basis!

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