From: Ron Hays []
Sent: Sunday, March 30, 2008 21:00
Subject: Oklahoma's Farm News Update
Oklahoma's latest farm and ranch news
Your Update from Ron Hays of RON for Monday March 31, 2008!
A service of Farm Credit of East Central Oklahoma, KIS Futures & the Southern Plains Farm Show!
-- Reporting From Washington- Farm Bureau, NCBA Among Those Here in DC this week as Congress Returns...
-- Lots of Piggies in Latest Hog Count
-- Competing Meats Means a Real Struggle to Capture Consumer Dollar.
-- Some Oklahoma Winter Canola Fields Bothered by Insects.
-- Prospective Plantings Report To Be Released Monday 7:30 AM Central.
-- Hedger or Speculator- the Debate Over Commodity Index Funds Intensifying.
-- This Week- Lots on the Calendar!

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.

We also welcome Farm Credit of East Central Oklahoma as a regular sponsor of our daily email update. Farm Credit of East Central Oklahoma has ten branch offices to serve your farm financing needs and is dedicated to being your first choice for farm credit. Check out their website for more information by clicking here!
And our email this morning is also a service of Midwest Farm Shows, producer of the Tulsa Farm Show that is held each December, as well as the Southern Plains Farm Show in Oklahoma City April 17- 19! Check out details of both of these exciting shows at the official website of Midwest Farm Shows by clicking here.

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Reporting From Washington- Farm Bureau, NCBA Among Those Here in DC this week as Congress Returns...
It may prove to be an interesting week in Washington as Congress returns from the countryside after a two week break- and I suspect that many members of the Agriculture Committees were reminded by farmers in their areas of the need to get the 2007-2008 Farm Bill done. With that said- it remains an issue of how Congress is going to decide how they will pay for the package that is being discussed which calls for spending some ten billion dollars above the budget baseline for a ten year period- even though the actual policy is being written for a five year period.

While in Washington for the next couple of days- we will be following the activities of the Oklahoma Farm Bureau's Congressional Action Tour- with the Oklahoma Farm Bureau delegation being led by OFB President Mike Spradling.

At the same time, we will spend some time with the National Cattlemen's Beef Association as they hold their Spring Legislative Conference here in Washington as well. Watch our website as we will have an update or two later in the day from our nation's capitol as we touch base with these groups and more.

Lots of Piggies in Latest Hog Count
The pre report guesses for the Quarterly Hogs and Pigs Report were mostly exceeded- and this report tells us we have virtual mountain of pork to ship through the pipeline in the months ahead. The report shows there are seven percent more hogs as of March first compared to one year ago- that totals out to 65.9 million hogs nationally. The nation's Sow herd is is even with a year ago while the hogs to be marketed as counted in this report are up seven percent from a year ago as well at 59.7 million head.

Every state in the top ten hog producing states recorded an increase in the number of hogs and pigs with one exception- Oklahoma. Iowa, easily the largest hog producing state in the US, jumped their pig count to 18.7 million head, an increase of 11%. North Carolina, number two, increased hog numbers by six percent. However, Oklahoma, the eighth largest hog producing state in America, dropped hog numbers by one percent to 2.33 million head on March first.

The experts, in a conference call after the report was released on Friday afternoon, agree that we face large supplies of pork for much of 2008- and that this report offers little evidence of a cut back in farrowings in the near term. Overall, the report is being called bearish for hog futures for Monday morning.

Click here for the full report from USDA- the Quarterly Hogs and Pigs Survey.

Competing Meats Means a Real Struggle to Capture Consumer Dollar.
One of the conclusions from the Friday Hogs and Pigs Survey by USDA is that there will be plenty of pork in the pipeline for consumers in 2008- and Extension Livestock Market Economist Dr. Jim MIntert says you add ample amounts of competing meats to that equation and you have a lot of protein for the balance of 2008, with none of the sectors having much ability to push aggressively price increases for their products.

In the conference call held by the National Pork Board after the Hogs and Pigs Report, we asked Dr. Mintert about the Competing Meat situation- and he believes that there's plenty of protein right now- and sees little chance for either pork or beef producers to get much scaleback for the balance of 2008. Dr. Mintert adds that costs for all the meat segments could go higher in 2008- especially if our corn crop doesn't measure up to what the market believes is needed by harvest time- feed grain costs could go balistic!

We have Dr. Mintert's answer to our question about Competing Meats as the centerpiece of our Monday Beef Buzz, which you can hear on great radio stations around the state on the Radio Oklahoma Network- as well as being available on our website and we even have it linked for you below to quickly jump to and to take a listen.

Click here to listen to Ron and Jim Mintert on our March 31st Beef Buzz.

Some Oklahoma Winter Canola Fields Bothered by Insects.
The latest newsletter from the OSU's Plant and Soil Sciences Department is out- and Chad Godsey is reporting that we are getting reports of insects feeding on winter canola as it is starting to break out and begin growing.

Early counts of worms on the canola plants range from 8 to 21 worms per plant- which is worrisome. Godsey says that we are still learning what thresholds justify spraying- so he calls it a judgment call as to spray or not to control these critters- mostly either diamond back moth larvae or cabbage/alfalfa looper larvae.

In addition to the discussion on insects in our winter canola, OSU's Randy Taylor has a piece on utilization of no till seeding in our spring crops.
We have the newsletter linked below- take a look.

Click here for the latest PASS Newsletter from OSU.

Prospective Plantings Report To Be Released Monday 7:30 AM Central.
It's a report that most of agriculture and a lot of our agribusinesses are very interested in- the Plantings Intentions Report for our spring crops here in 2008 will be released Monday morning at 7:30 am Central Time.

The prereport expectations are for several million acres to be diverted from corn to soybeans, and overall wheat acres to be slightly higher than in 2007 and cotton acres expected to decline by something over a million acres compared to last spring.

If you are reading this before 8 AM Central- we have a pre-report analysis featuring comments from Don Roose of US Commodities in Des Moines, Iowa linked below that you can listen to. This link, an hour or so after the report is released will become a review of the report as we look at national numbers as well as numbers back in our part of the country.

Click here for our look at Prospective Plantings numbers from USDA- before the report- a preview- after the report- a review.

Hedger or Speculator- the Debate Over Commodity Index Funds Intensifying.
This past week, I got an interesting "analysis" about Commodity Index Funds that was produced by AgResource, based out of Chicago. According to this look at Index Funds, "There has been a growing disconnect between the cash and futures markets since the 4th quarter of 2007. A new class of investor called "Index Funds" are making large price stakes in commodity markets."

The issue is that these Index funds are gobbling up huge numbers of contracts that represent the entire production in the US in several commodities- "Index funds now hold about 1 billion bushels of Chicago wheat - or 2 years of US SRW production." And it's okay with Uncle Sam- as the CFTC has declared these Funds as hedgers so there are no limits as to how many contracts they can buy and sell. AgResource says that "If index funds were individuals or firms, they would be barred from securing the hundreds of thousands of contracts on commodities on the grounds of market manipulation. The data is beginning to show they do disrupt prices during investment or disinvestment, at contract rolls, and during the rebalance. To suggest that Index Funds do not disrupt the marketplace is quickly becoming a woefully wrong conclusion. "

This issue is rapidly becoming a hot topic- so hot that the Commodity Futures Trading Commission has decided to have a public meeting on the subject in the latter part of April- a highly unusual move for the Regulatory agency. Meanwhile, some Hedge Funds are using their gains to buy into the the cash grain business. Ospraie, a company that operates the Ospraie Special Opportunities Fund, is buying the cash grain business that has been operated by ConAgra.
Hedge Funds are different from the Commodity Index Funds that the AgResource Research details- the Hedge Funds are much more aggressive than their Index fund counterparts-as they will often buy and sell huge hunks of contracts to try to move the market.

We have linked below the analysis on the Index Funds and the danger they pose to users of grain who want to continue to use the futures markets as a legitimate hedging tool and claim that they often cannot now due to the pressure of the Index Funds buying huge hunks of one commodity or another. We will be doing more with this story in the days ahead- as the ability to price our agricultural products seems to be in jeopardy- and a huge red flag seems to be flying over the markets and our traditional agricultural participants.

Click here for the "thought" piece on Index Funds courtesy of Joe Neal Hampton and the Oklahoma Grain and Feed Association.

This Week- Lots on the Calendar!
Since our last Email to you Friday morning- we have been updating our Calendar on WWW.OklahomaFarmReport.Com extensively. We have added several events that are going on this week- and added details for you to check out. That includes details of the NCBA's Spring Legislative Conference, as well as the Oklahoma Farm Bureau's Spring Congressional Action Tour.

There are also details of the Winter Canola Field Tours that come up in mid April- as well as the Southwest Farm Show held this coming weekend in Elk City, Oklahoma. We also direct you to the BioFuels meeting planned in Kingfisher tomorrow evening, April first.

We have our calendar page linked below for you to jump easily to- check the events out- lots of stuff is happening as we end March and move into April- no Fooling!!!

Click here for the Calendar Page on our WebSite- WWW.OklahomaFarmReport.Com

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!

We also invite you to check out our website at the link below to check out an archive of these daily emails, audio reports and top farm news story links from around the globe.

Click here to check out WWW.OklahomaFarmReport.Com

God Bless! You can reach us at the following:
phone: 405-473-6144

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