Business briefs, May 3, 2014

Business briefs, May 3, 2014
Oklahoman Published: May 3, 2014
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BUSINESS BRIEFS

Chesapeake must pay $121M award

Chesapeake Energy Corp. lost its appeal of a $121 million judgment stemming from the aborted purchase of oil and natural gas leases in east Texas in 2008. The Oklahoma City-based oil and natural gas company had offered to pay $99 million for about 6,700 acres of leasehold in the Haynesville Shale from Preston Exploration Co. in June 2008, according to court filings, but company officials refused to attend the scheduled closing after raising some title concerns. Preston and three other leaseholders sued Chesapeake in federal court in Houston for breach of contract four days after the aborted closing, arguing Chesapeake had no intention of honoring the deals because of reeling natural gas and financial markets. A federal judge ruled against Chesapeake in July 2012, a decision affirmed this week by a three-judge panel at the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans.

OK figures in U.S. farm census

Oklahoma remains fourth in the nation in number of farms, according to the 2012 Census of Agriculture released Friday by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The agriculture census, which occurs every five years, takes into account details of the operations of farmers, ranchers and other agricultural producers across the United States. The 2012 numbers show the average age of Oklahoma producers is 58.3, equal to the national average. The average age of Oklahoma producers has dropped since 2007, perhaps indicating an increase in young producers returning to the farm, according to the state Department of Agriculture, Food and Forestry. From 2007 to 2012 there was an increase in the market value of agricultural products sold and production expenses. However, the increase in costs outpaced the increase in products sold by 5 percent. Oklahoma livestock, poultry and their product values outpaced the crop values by a rate of nearly 3-to-1, the census shows, while U.S. crop values dominated the market for the first time since 1974. In Oklahoma, of $6.7 billion total production expenses, $3.7 billion was livestock or poultry purchases and feed expenses.