From: Ron Hays []
Sent: Tuesday, April 01, 2008 05:57
Subject: Oklahoma's Farm News Update
Oklahoma's latest farm and ranch news
Your Update from Ron Hays of RON for Tuesday April 1, 2008!
A service of National Livestock Credit, American Farmers & Ranchers and the Southern Plains Farm Show!
-- Prospective Plantings Signal Major Battle Between Commodities for Acres- Oklahoma Crop Acres Up for Spring Crops.
-- OFB's Mike Spradling Leading Oklahoma Delegation in DC.
-- NCBA Gathers for Their Annual Spring Washington Deployment
-- Spring Storms Headline Latest Crop Weather Update for Oklahoma.
-- Biofuels Forum Being Planned for Kingfisher Tonight
-- Ken Root in China
-- Southern Plains Farm Show Looking for a Few Rowdy Horses!

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 have National Livestock Credit Corporation as a regular sponsor of our daily email update. National Livestock Credit Corporation works diligently to provide unsurpassed service to their customers in the area of livestock financing. Check out the National Livestock Family of Services website by clicking here.

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Prospective Plantings Signal Major Battle Between Commodities for Acres- Oklahoma Crop Acres Up for Spring Crops.
USDA says that farmers told them they plan to plant 18% more acres of soybeans this year than last- and 8% fewer acres of corn. They also plan to put 13% fewer acres of cotton into the ground this spring than last year and 4% less acres of grain sorghum. However, Oklahoma farmers, after planting three percent fewer acres of winter wheat last fall than a year earlier, are upping their acreages of soybeans, corn, cotton and milo.

This report confirmed that Oklahoma ended up planting three percent fewer wheat acres this past fall than a year earlier- 5.7 million acres. Those acres are going into a variety of spring planted crops, including 73% more soybeans at 320,000 acres; three percent more corn at 330,000 acres; nine percent more cotton at 190,000 acres and seventeen percent more milo at 280,000 acres.

The national wheat acreage number was interesting as we saw fewer hard red winter wheat acres planted in Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas, with Kansas off 5%, Oklahoma down 3% and Texas lower by 3% from a year ago. In contrast, the soft red winter wheat acreage figures jumped higher with Tennessee up by 48%, Kentucky 27% higher and Ohio 24% up on SRW wheat acres. I would bet that at least some of those southern acres could end up being double cropped soybean acres here in 2008- if the farmers can make the timing work.

The cotton acres were also fascinating in the mid- south, as we saw large hunks of cotton acres switched to soybeans- at least that's what farmers where telling USDA in this report released on Monday. Mississippi saw anticipated cotton acres drop 36% versus a year ago and Arkansas off 24% from a year ago- almost of that going over to soybeans as they chase double digit prices.
Speaking of prices, we saw soybeans tumble limit down- 70 cents- during the day trade on Monday, and then extend those losses by another 75 to 80 cents as of early this morning. Wheat futures also tumbled on Monday in Chicago and in Kansas City- while corn eked out small gains of four to eight cents per bushel after that cut of eight percent of the acres from a year ago. those losses in the overnight trade by

Click here to listen to our post report analysis- including comments from Tom Leffler of Leffler Commodities.

OFB's Mike Spradling Leading Oklahoma Delegation in DC.
About 75 Oklahoma Farm Bureau Leaders are here in Washington for much of this week as they talk farm and rural issues with lawmakers, here from Administration leaders and enjoy Cherry Blossom time here in our nation's capitol.

We talked with Mike Spradling of Tulsa County, who is leading this trip for the first time as the President of the Oklahoma Farm Bureau- after winning the Presidency of the organization last November- and Spradling tells us there are several issues "top of mind" for the members here as they represent the general organization from back home. They will continue to urge Congress to finish what they started in developing new farm policy- Spradling telling us emphatically that they do not want an extension of old policy. They also are promoting the Boren-Fallin Truck Weight Bill- HR 3098- which is starting to get a lot of support from several national farm groups- and then finally they are talking manure with lawmakers- keeping the conversation going about the need for legislation to define manure as not being placed under Super Fund rules and regs that were developed decades ago.

The group will hear from Dale Moore, Chief of Staff at USDA this morning- and then will have briefings at the American Farm Bureau- and begins their Congressional Rounds as they meet with both Oklahoma Senators after lunch and later the lone Democrat on the Oklahoma Congressional delegation- Dan Boren from the Second District of Oklahoma.

Click here to listen to Ron and Mike Spradling talk issues from the OFB Congressional Action Tour in Washington this week.

NCBA Gathers for Their Annual Spring Washington Deployment
Like most other farm groups, the National Cattlemen's Beef Association, has really been sucked into the vortex that makes up the farm bill debate here in 2008- and Colin Woodall from their Washington staff, sat down Monday afternoon late and talked with us about where he sees the process. After we did our recorded interview- he threw up his hands and expressed a lot of frustration that he and most of the ag groups are feeling right now in Washington over this issue. He says that even the farm bill veterans- the lobbyists who have been around for multiple farm bills inside the Beltway, have had a hard time in discerning what is real and what is not. Cattle Producers from across the country will be meeting up with this farm bill scenario as they arrive and meet the next few days here in Washington for their annual Spring Legislative Conference.

We heard optimism from some sources yesterday- but not a lot from Colin Woodall. He says that we continue to hear how close we are to a deal- but he believes that we may be further from a deal than we were in early March, as the amount of money needed to pay for the extra spending over the Budget Baseline is up several Billions of dollars from that time frame- and there are inadequate offsets to account for the spending.

Woodall says the lack of openness in this farm bill process has been the most disappointing thing in this farm bill cycle- as the refusal of Speaker Pelosi to name House Conferees has resulted in the whole process being cloaked in secrecy. He thinks we may be closer to a 18 month to two year extension, unless we see a major breakthrough in the next couple of days- and he is dubious of that happening. In the end, he sees a lot of support for an extension to simply remove the issue from the election year arena- with the idea to come back to the reforms that have been worked on up to now after the elections of 2008. Clearly, the danger there is the baseline- as he and a lot of other observers believe that there will be a very limited pot of money available if an extension is allowed to happen.
As we mentioned, we talked with Colin about the Farm Bill- which includes several key topics for cattlemen like COOL revisions and a possible Packer Ban on Livestock Ownership- and we also talked with Colin about other possible legislation for 2008- we have linked that conversation below.

Click here to listen to our conversation on Farm Bill stuff- plus a couple of "bonus" topics with Colin Woodall of NCBA.

Spring Storms Headline Latest Crop Weather Update for Oklahoma.
Even with the storms, we saw a slight decrease in the amount of topsoil and subsoil moisture supplies in the latest crop weather update. The Oklahoma report indicates "Small grain crops were growing fast, but were in need of additional moisture in many areas. Some hail damage to the State's wheat crop may have occurred during last week's thunderstorms. Winter wheat jointing was at 50 percent, a 12 point increase from the previous week, but 20 points behind last year and 16 points behind the five-year average."

Meanwhile for our spring planted row crops, the report tells us "Seedbed preparations for all major row crops were still running ahead of normal with soybeans at 37 percent, peanuts at 33 percent, and cotton at 50 percent. Sorghum seedbed preparation was at 23 percent, two points behind last year, but one percentage point ahead of the five-year average. Corn seedbed preparation was at 63 percent, seven points ahead of normal while corn planted was at 14 percent, four points behind normal. In isolated areas, large amounts of rainfall may have damaged recently planted corn."

We have the full report linked below for your review, which includes a current wheat crop rating of 73% in good to fair condition in this latest reporting week.

Click here to review the latest Oklahoma Crop Weather Update.

Biofuels Forum Being Planned for Kingfisher Tonight
Robin Wolf of Plains Partners in Okarche has helped plan a top notch program that happens this evening at the Kingfisher County Fairgrounds on the opportunities that may be ahead of us in the farm and ranch industry when it comes to biofuels.

The speakers for the evening include:
Yates Adcock - Cattlemen and Biofuels from Seminole Jim Covey - House of Reps - State efforts toward Bioenergy
Terry Detrick - POP and American Farmers Insurance - Biofuels / Appropriate to their territories
Cassie Gilman - Oklahoma Bioenergy Center - Progress of Oklahoma Bioenergy Center (introduction)
Mike Marlow - Monsanto - Crop production for a bio-fuel future
Clay Pope - Oklahoma Association of Conservation Districts - Conservation
and Steven Rhines - Noble Foundation -Noble Foundation Progress and Outlook

They are planning a dinner beginning at 5:00 PM this evening and the program will begin at 6:00 PM. They are asking folks for RSVP for a spot at the dinner table. You can contact Robin in Okarche for more information and a last minute RSVP by calling her at 405-263-7240.

Ken Root in China
Fellow Farm Broadcaster Ken Root (and a native Oklahoman) is traveling this week with a group of Soybean leaders from the American Soybean Association and the Iowa Soybean Association across China. Included on the trip is the Iowa Secretary of Agriculture.

As you may recall, we are just back from China- having traveled with the Oklahoma Ag Leadership Program. While our group stayed in northern areas of the country- the group that Ken is traveling with has started in southern China in the city of Guangzhou- and Ken writes "We may never have a sunny day here in southern China as this season is warm with lots of moisture so the fog augments the pollution to produce hazy skies and limited visibility. Still we set out to see the countryside and to meet with officials of government and industry with a goal of developing a stronger trading relationship with the largest customer for U.S. soybeans at present."

As for the challenge that the Chinese face in bringing their agriculture and food system into the 21st Century, Ken writes "The Chinese may have suffered for much of the 20th century but the 21st century looks like it's theirs. The key seems to be changing from a rural to urban culture and to do so they need to buy food with the money they make in manufacturing. The money is clearly there but the infrastructure to receive and process food products needs to expand. The culture of rural China must be in upheaval as millions are leaving the land to work in factories and services."
Ken has a series of updates on the WHO Radio Website where he serves as Farm Director for the legendary Iowa Radio Station- we have a link to that page. Many of you know Ken from his days at WKY in Oklahoma City- and later his time as the original host of Agritalk- so you will enjoy Ken's take on China- I know I have enjoyed contrasting his thoughts with what we saw- and it will be even more interesting as they get to Beijing later this week.

Click here to jump to the Ken Root in China page on WHO Radio's website.

Southern Plains Farm Show Looking for a Few Rowdy Horses!
We mentioned last week our quest in helping find a few horses that might be candidates for the daily horse training seminars planned at the 2008 Southern Plains Farm Show. John Sampson and the folks at Midwest have a new horse trainer they are bringing in here in 2008- his name is Scott Daily and he is looking for horses that perhaps have a bit of an "attitude" and have some habits that need to be addressed.

We have had several folks respond to our plea of last week- but wanted to mention it again. If you have a horse that might fit this description and would be interested in getting Scott to work with your horse on one of the days at this year's Southern Plains Farm Show April 17-19 in Oklahoma City, drop me an email.

If you can give us a brief description of your horse- and what you feel are the things that need to be worked on- we will pass those details along to Scott and someone will be contacting you in regards to using your horse during the fourth annual Southern Plains Farm Show! Email me at with details of your horse.!

Click here for more details of the upcoming Southern Plains Farm Show at State Fair Park in OKC.

Our thanks to Midwest Farm Shows, American Farmers & Ranchers Mutual Insurance and National Livestock Creditfor 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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