The wheat industry is in for a tough harvest if predictions hold true.
Crop advisers reporting at a recent Oklahoma Grain and Feed Association meeting said the state may only produce 66.5 million bushels when harvest begins later this month. That prediction is based on their surveys of fields and the poor weather conditions faced this season.
“This is probably the worst crop statewide, border to border, that I can remember,” said association President Joe Hampton.
If the projections are accurate, that would mean wheat production is down nearly half of what it was just two years ago, when farmers harvested almost 155 million bushels, he said.
Although the report is troublesome, Hampton said most producers could receive help from federal crop insurance. The impact won’t only be felt on farmers.
“The elevator industry is going to have a rough year,” he said. “It’ll have a ripple effect on probably fertilizer sales, ag chemical sales, farm equipment dealers — all the way down through the agriculture community.”
According to data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, grain elevators across the state were charging up to 30 cents more Friday, up to $8.11 per bushel.
“But the problem with that is it doesn’t do you much good if you don’t have anything to sell,” Hampton said.
A month ago, the price was about a dollar cheaper.
In Kansas, the outlook is just as grim. Surveyors there estimated this year’s crop could be just 260 million bushels.
“If that number comes in at that, it’ll be the lowest production level for the state of Kansas since 1996,” said Oklahoma Wheat Commission Executive Director Mike Schulte. “The crop up there, too, is just not looking good at all.”
Drought, along with extreme late-season freezes have caused damage in southern and central Oklahoma. There could be crop failures near Burlington, he said, because of the drought. Schulte sees one bright spot, though, on farms south of Lawton.
“On the upland areas there was some decent-looking wheat that was probably going to make anywhere from 35 to 40 bushels per acre,” he said.
The harvest is on schedule, so far. But Schulte said if extended periods of dry, 90-degree heat return before Memorial Day, the crop will stress and ripen faster.
“The crop is already extremely drought-stricken. What is out there, if we do get the high winds and no moisture, and extreme heat, it really is going to have a detrimental impact to the crop,” he said.
If the wheat crop fails, some producers still have a chance to plant summer crops like grain sorghum and soybeans.
“But right now they’d just be planting them in the dust,” Hampton said.
From his perspective, there’s not much for farmers to do except hope to get by.
“That’s all I know to do. I hope that we get this drought broken,” he said.
The wheat industry is in for a tough harvest if predictions hold true.
Edmond School District’s change orders anticipated
When building new schools and classrooms there may be additional costs, but when renovating older buildings those costs can more than double, according to a Edmond School District official.
“When remodeling, you have unknown and hidden costs and you need to include in your budgeted funds for the built-in items you can not see,” said Bret Towne, Edmond’s associate superintendent of general administration.
Planning Commission approves rezoning
The Edmond Planning Commission this week voted 4-0 in favor of rezoning from a single family district. Peter and Kimberly Roberts made the request to allow a planned unit development on the southeast corner of Jackson and Lincoln Avenue, said Bob Schiermeyer, city planner.
“They would like to have D-2 family (neighborhood commercial) zoning for duplexes, 14,000 square feet,” Schiermeyer said. “They can put four units on the property.”
A Q&A on ‘Obamacare’ Court Rulings
On Tuesday, two federal appeals courts issued conflicting rulings on the legality of tax subsidies being provided to people who bought “Obamacare” health insurance policies in Oklahoma and 35 other states.
Here’s a look at the rulings’ potential impact in Oklahoma.
Q: I’m confused. What did the courts rule today?
A: A three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals circuit in Washington, D.C., decided that the government can’t provide tax subsidies for Affordable Care Act plans purchased in 36 states where the federal government is operating the health insurance exchange. Oklahoma is one of the 36 states. A few hours later, the U.S. Court of Appeals circuit in Richmond, Va., issued a conflicting ruling that upheld the legality of the health-care law’s tax subsidies.
June healthy month for Oklahoma jobs
Nearly 10,000 new jobs in Oklahoma were created in June, according to the U.S. Labor Department.
Gov. Mary Fallin said Tuesday the state experienced one of the largest increases in employment in the nation in June. More than 9,600 additional people joined the state’s workforce in June.
The unemployment rate in June dropped to 4.5 percent, its lowest ratio in six years. June’s rate was down a percentage point from 4.6 percent in May and April, according to the Oklahoma Employment Security Commission.
University of Central Oklahoma recognized as having friendly work environment
The Chronicle of Higher Education named the University of Central Oklahoma as one of the “2014 Great Colleges to Work For.” Central is the only higher education institution in the state recognized on the list and one of only a handful of institutions in the nation given the distinction of being named to the Honor Roll for being cited most often among all the recognition categories.
Central joins Duke, Baylor and Notre Dame on the list of the 10 universities named to the large institution honor roll.
Council approves funds toward ADA update
City Council members have approved a $398,800 professional services contract with Accessology, a McKinney, Texas, firm, to establish an Americans With Disabilities Act transition plan for the city.
Title II of the ADA requires state and local governments to make their programs and services accessible to persons with disabilities. It includes access to government facilities, programs and events and relevant policy changes.
Accessology was selected out of a pool of five finalists by a five-member committee to create Edmond’s plan. The firm will partner with Kimley-Horn and Associates, a design consulting firm located in North Carolina.
Edmond’s last ADA transition plan was created in 1992.
Panel approves jail services agreement
City Council members have approved renewal of the city’s jail services agreement with Oklahoma County for prisoners incarcerated at the county jail on city charges.
The current annual agreement expired June 30. It provides the feeding, care, housing and upkeep of said prisoners. Edmond uses the county jail when the city jail is at capacity.
The sheriff’s office proposed a slight increase from $46.25 to a $46.50 daily rate per prisoner. City staff said the current agreement is working satisfactorily and believe the proposed rate is reasonable. The new agreement took effect July 1. The city can hold prisoners in its current jail up to 10 days; a new jail with 10 male and five female cells will be available inside the new Public Safety Center next year when the facility opens.
Panel establishes 911 phone rate
City Council members have established the rate for the 911 emergency phone service fee for calendar year 2015
Council members set the rate at 3 percent of the recurring charges as designated by the tariff for exchange telephone service or its equivalent within Edmond beginning Jan. 1, 2015.
Fees collected by wireless and voice over Internet protocol companies are established under a separate statute. To continue collection of the locally authorized service fee on landline phone bills, local governments must approve a resolution on an annual basis to set the actual fee.
Governments must also through the Association of Central Oklahoma Governments notify the appropriate incumbent local exchange carrier and competitive local exchange carrier phone companies by Sept. 1, 2015.
ACOG recommended for calendar year 2015 to maintain service fees at their current level of 3 percent.
Council approves $2.5M extra for utility
City Council members have approved the transfer of a $2.5 million appropriation for Edmond Electric.
The action was needed due to higher natural gas prices. Those increased prices caused wholesale electric purchase costs to exceed the department’s budget estimates for Fiscal Year 2013-14. To cover the increased costs, a transfer of funds from the “Transfers” category to the “Other Services and Charges” category was necessary.
It will maintain state law requirements and not increase Edmond Electric’s budget.
The action occurred during Monday’s meeting and was approved unanimously.
Edmond entrepreneurs sleuth their way to success
Tripadvisor.com led Andrew Gipson to an industrial complex outside of Dublin, Ireland, about a year ago. The recent University of Central Oklahoma graduate was in the midst of an extended stay in Australia and the United Kingdom when he walked through the doors of XIT Live Escape Adventure Game. According to Tripdadvisor, it was the top attraction in Ireland. He had to go.
An hour later, Gipson, 24, exited the facility inspired.
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