Path Home Shows 2011 Show Archive August 2011 Show 1134 OALP Forum

OALP Forum

We visit with members of the Oklahoma Agricultural Leadership Program about opportunities for Oklahoma and the agricultural communities that serve it.
OALP Forum

OK Ag Leaders

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Oklahoma Agricultural Leadership Program

Show Dates

Show 1134: OALP Forum

Air date: August 21, 2011

 

Transcript

ROB MCCLENDON:  WELCOME TO THIS SPECIAL EDITION OF OKLAHOMA HORIZON.  TODAY WE’RE GONNA TAKE A DIFFERENT TRACK, BUT ONLY SLIGHTLY.  AS ALWAYS WE HOPE TO GIVE YOU INSIGHT INTO OUR CHANGING WORLD BY VISITING WITH VARIOUS EXPERTS; AND TODAY, I HAVE A STUDIO FULL.  JOINING ME ARE REPRESENTATIVES OF OKLAHOMA’S AGRICULTURAL LEADERSHIP PROGRAM; A GROUP WHOSE PURPOSE IS TO UTILIZE THEIR OWN KNOWLEDGE AND SKILLS TO SOLVE PROBLEMS AND EXPLORE OPPORTUNITIES FOR RURAL OKLAHOMA AND THE AGRICULTURAL COMMUNITIES THAT THEY SERVE.  AND TODAY OUR ENTIRE FOCUS IS ON THE CHANGES UNDERWAY IN RURAL OKLAHOMA.  AND I BELIEVE PROBABLY NO ONE CAN GIVE US A BETTER INSIGHT INTO THOSE CHANGES THAN THE PEOPLE THAT LIVE IT EVERY DAY.

WELL, FIRST OF ALL, I WANT TO THANK EVERYONE FOR JOINING US HERE TODAY.  THANK YOU SO MUCH.  I WANT TO START OFF IF WE CAN, WITH AN ARTICLE OUT OF TIME MAGAZINE AND THE TITLE OF IT IS “WANT TO MAKE MORE MONEY THAN A BANKER, BECOME A FARMER; IF YOU WANT TO BECOME RICH, BECOME A FARMER.”  I WANT TO KNOW WHAT EVERYONE THINKS ABOUT THAT; AND I WANT TO START OFF WITH YOU, BLAYNE.

BLAYNE ARTHUR:  WELL I THINK THAT’S PROBABLY AN INTERESTING PERSPECTIVE BECAUSE THE MAJORITY OF AMERICANS PROBABLY DON’T ASSOCIATE OUR FARM PRODUCERS AS PEOPLE WHO MAKE LARGE AMOUNT OF INCOMES. UH, BUT THE FARMING LANDSCAPE HAS CHANGE A LOT OVER THE PAST FEW YEARS IN THAT WE HAVE SOME PRODUCERS, UH MORE PRODUCERS WHO ARE FARMING LARGER AMOUNTS OF ACREAGE AND THEREFORE ARE, PROBABLY HAVE A LOT MORE INCOME THAN OUR FARMERS DID FIFTY YEARS AGO.

ROB:  YEAH, AND HE ACTUALLY ATTRIBUTES, ATTRIBUTES IT TO, LET ME READ A LITTLE BIT FOR YOU.  AT A TIME WHEN THE OVERALL ECONOMY IS LIMPING ALONG AT AN ANEMIC GROWTH RATE OF 1.9%; NET FARM INCOME WAS UP 27% LAST YEAR AND IS EXPECTED TO JUMP ANOTHER 20% IN 2011.  NOW WE HAVE TWO BANKERS, ONE FROM THE CORNERS OF THE STATE, MIAMI, I BELIEVE, OR VINITA, AND THEN ALTUS.  WHAT DO YOU ALL THINK ABOUT THAT?

KURTIS SEARS:  WELL, I THINK THAT IT CERTAINLY IS GOOD TIMES FOR UH FARMERS AND RANCHERS ALIKE IN THESE TIMES; BUT, UH, I THINK WE HAVE TO REMEMBER IT IS CYCLICAL YOU KNOW, IT IS, THERE ARE GOOD TIMES AND THERE ARE MORE TOUGHER TIMES, AND SO I THINK WE HAVE TO KEEP THAT IN PERSPECTIVE.

MONTY THORNBROUGH:  ALSO I WOULD AGREE, IT’S A, IT’S A TOUGH ROAD, AND YOU KNOW, UH WEATHER CONDITIONS, UH COMMODITY MARKETS, THERE ARE JUST A TREMENDOUS AMOUNT OF, OF THINGS THAT CAUSE THESE VARITIBILITIES IN INCOMES AND YEARLY IT’S CYCLICAL, IT’S A TOUGH, TOUGH DEAL FOR EACH INDIVIDUAL OPERATOR, FOR SURE.

ROB:  YEAH, AND SOMETHING THAT WE’RE CERTAINLY EXPERIENCING AND I KNOW THIS IN THE AREA THAT YOU LIVE IN, DANIELLE, IS UH AWFULLY DRY OUT THERE. AND SO WHILE THERE HAVE BEEN SOME GOOD TIMES, THERE’S SOME AWFULLY BAD TIMES RIGHT NOW TOO.

DANIELLE WHALEY:  DRASTIC DROUGHT, VERY SEVERE.

ROB:  SO HOW DOES A FARMER PREPARE FOR SOMETHING LIKE THAT?

DANIELLE:  AS A LIVESTOCK PRODUCER, I THINK THAT A DIVERSIFIED OPERATION REALLY HELPS.  A LOT OF MY PRODUCERS ARE LOOKING AT OTHER AVENUES, TAKING DIFFERENT ROUTES, NOT COMPLETELY SELLING OUT THEIR CATTLE, BUT, YOU KNOW,  TRYING TO SCROUNGE AROUND AND FIND HAY BUT OPENING UP THEMSELVES TO SELLING STOCK TANKS, OR SELLING FEED BINS; JUST DIVERSIFYING ALL THE WAY AROUND, SELLING INSURANCE.

ROB:  AND HAVING A COUPLE OF JOBS.  I, I’M CURIOUS, HOW MANY PEOPLE HERE HAVE TWO JOBS TO SUPPORT YOUR WAY OF LIFE?  ONE, TWO, THREE, FOUR, FIVE, SIX, SEVEN.  SEVEN, SEVEN OUT, OUT, OUT OF NINE AND THAT’S VERY TYPICAL OUT IN FARM COUNTRY, IS IT NOT?  TELL ME MORE, JESSICA.

JESSICA WILCOX:  WELL, EVERY BODY HAS TO HAVE AN OFF-FARM INCOME JUST TO HAVE STABILITY ANYMORE. UH, HEALTH INSURANCE IS A BIG DEAL FOR THOSE OF US WITH KIDS OR SMALL CHILDREN, UM, PARENTS, ELDERLY PARENTS, UM, YOU KNOW, YOU’VE GOT, YOU HAVE YOUR INSURANCE, OF COURSE, LIKE I SAID THEN YOU ALSO HAVE JUST THAT STABILITY, BANKERS WANT TO SEE THAT STABLE INCOME.

ROB:  UH, HUH

JESSICA:  THAT’S NOT BASED ON THE WEATHER, ON THE DROUGHT.

ROB:  AND WHILE IT’S CERTAINLY GOOD TIMES, I THINK WE HAVE TO NOTE HERE THAT WHILE FARMERS MAY WELL BE MAKING A LOT OF MONEY, THEY’RE ALSO SPENDING A LOT OF MONEY TO MAKE IT.

BRYAN VINCENT:  ROB, WHEN THEY TALK ABOUT THE 27% INCREASE IN FARM, NET FARM INCOME, THE FARMERS ARE ALSO SPENDING A HIGHER PERCENTAGE THAN THAT IN JUST FERTILIZER COSTS.  WE IMPORT A LOT OF FERTILIZER IN THIS COUNTRY, AS WELL AS WE MAKE A LOT.  BUT THAT FERTILIZER COST HAS INCREASED IN EXCESS OF 27%.

BRIAN ARNALL:  ABSOLUTELY I AGREE.  OUR INPUT COSTS ARE GOING UP, BUT IT’S ALSO A GREAT TIME TO BE IN AGRICULTURE.  THE TECHNOLOGIES THAT HAVE COME ABOUT IN THE LAST 10 YEARS HAVE CHANGED DRAMATICALLY; OUR EFFICIENCIES ARE IMPROVING.  SO IF YOU KEEP UP WITH CHANGING TIMES, YOU DIVERSIFY AS DANIELLE SAID, DIVERSIFICATION IS, IS THE KEY; NOW IS A GOOD TIME, BUT YOU HAVE TO BE SMART.  AND IT’S NOT GOING TO MAKE YOU MILLIONS, BUT IT IS A GOOD LIFESTYLE.

ROB:  ALRIGHT; WHEN WE RETURN, WE TAKE AN UP-CLOSE LOOK AT LIFE DOWN ON THE FARM.