President's Letter

 

MAY/JUNE PRESIDENT'S LETTER

Well, we certainly aren’t out of the woods yet, but with the spread of COVID-19 cases seeming to taper off through May, America’s labor market defying forecasts for a Depression-style surge in unemployment, and OPEC considering the possibility of extending its May and June production cuts…all signs point to the economy picking up faster than anticipated.

Normally, May is a very busy month for OCAPL as we host two of our larger networking events, the fishing and golf tournaments. Unfortunately, we were unable to reschedule the fishing tournament and had to cancel this event. Luckily, Bhavin Naik and his team were able to reschedule the Golf tournament for Monday, August 10th at Oak Tree Country Club.  The format this year will be a four-person scramble with a 9:00 am registration time and a shotgun start at 11:15 am at Oak Tree National and 11:30 am at both the East and West courses of Oak Tree Country Club. Each hole will have one team of four assigned to it. The entry fee will be $300.00 for OCAPL members and $350.00 for non-members and includes driving range use, lunch, dinner, and refreshments. If you want to sign up as an individual instead of a team, you will be grouped with other individuals to make up the team. Registration deadline is 6/30.

Click the following link for registration:

 /sites/default/files/files/OCAPL%20Golf%20General%20Registration%20Packet%202020%20(Fillable%20Form).pdf

With the uncertainty of how the pandemic will affect this summer and the lack of jobs in our industry, we know a large percentage of our members and sponsors are facing economic hardship. It has been a challenge to gauge whether to cancel events or attempt to reschedule them. With several key educational events being canceled, I know a lot of members have concerns with keeping up with their continuing education credits. AAPL has done several things to make more credits available through webinars and is even offering free registration to members for the 2020 Virtual Annual Meeting on June 18th.

Our Board and Committees understand the situation and are also working extremely hard to think outside the box, to not only reschedule events but brainstorming on how to make the events cheaper to attend. I have to commend Shannon Reed and the Sporting Clays committee for doing just that. Shannon reached out with concerns about a possible decline in attendance for the event because a lot of our members and sponsors may not have the ability to pay the normal registration fee.  After our discussion, we both thought it would be best to “get back to the basics“ of OCAPL and focus on the importance of networking and comradery and less on prizes and giveaways. Shannon and his team are still working on the details but as of now, the Sporting Clays Tournament is still scheduled for August 28th at Silverleaf Shotgun Sports in Guthrie. This year’s event will be more along the lines of coming out, networking, shooting, and enjoying lunch on us.

As of now, we are still taking the normal summer break through August and September and will hopefully reconvene Monday, September 14th for the educational luncheon and Monday night meeting.

I know this year has been difficult for everyone and I want to assure you we are doing everything in our ability to make the best decisions that will benefit our members. As always, if you have questions or ideas to further help our Organization, please do not hesitate to contact me.  Although times are tough and there is much uncertainty for the rest of 2020, please remember, as Landmen, we retain a much-needed skillset, diligent work ethic, and overall passion for the industry. We are leaders, innovators, and teachers of the future generations but most important, we are family.

Stay positive, be persistent, and persevere.

 Respectfully,

Jerrod R. Hardegree, President

APRIL PRESIDENT'S LETTER

Fellow OCAPL Members,

As many of you know, last month the Board and Executive Committee had to make the tough decision to cancel several upcoming events to be in accordance with the CDC guidelines regarding the COVID-19 pandemic. Our top priority is keeping our members safe.  As of now, our April lunch and dinner speakers have been rescheduled for October and the Field Landman Educational Committee is working to secure a date closer to the end of Summer.  Also, Bhavin Naik has secured a later date (August 10th) for the Golf Tournament. We will continue to keep everyone informed of any changes to these events and whether they are postponed or canceled.

Although, no stranger to industry downturns, Landmen have always been a resilient bunch and found ways to make it through to better days. Unfortunately, what our beloved industry and National economy face now, is unlike anything experienced before.  With everyone experiencing a total economic shutdown and uncertainty over the next few months, I want to take this opportunity to provide some guidance and hopefully help anyone willing to listen.

A few weeks ago, our Legislative Affairs Chair, Aaron Meek, reached out and informed me that he had been watching the COVID-19 Stimulus Relief bill closely with hopes that once passed, there would be fiscal opportunities for not only small business owners to utilize but relief that independent contractors could also apply for.  If opportunities for both scenarios were included in the bill, this information should be presented to our members to assist in any way possible. Fortunately, the bill passed, and Aaron began working diligently on a more detailed explanation of what the relief packages entail for both the small business owner as well as the best choices for independent contractors. Aaron’s full article, co-authored by John Arrowood, is included in the newsletter and will be extremely beneficial to everyone. 

With the short timeline between the Bill passing and the deadline for the April newsletter, I reached out to my CPA and other co-workers who were already getting things in order to apply for an SBA Loan and the Paycheck Protection Program, to get as much information as possible and I would like to share a few beneficial tips and links that will help make the application process much easier. I hope the information below, paired with Aaron’s article will benefit any OCAPL members currently facing economic hardship:

The cash "rebate" payments, subject to income limits:

Tax filers with adjusted gross income up to $75,000 for individuals and up to $150,000 for married couples filing joint returns will receive the full payment. For filers with income above those amounts, the payment amount is reduced by $5 for each $100 above the $75,000/$150,000 thresholds. Single filers with income exceeding $99,000 and $198,000 for joint filers with no children are not eligible. Social Security recipients and railroad retirees who are otherwise not required to file a tax return are also eligible and will not be required to file a return. 

Eligible taxpayers who filed tax returns for either 2019 or 2018 will automatically receive an economic impact payment of up to $1,200 for individuals or $2,400 for married couples and up to $500 for each qualifying child.

NOTE:  For payment the IRS will 1st look for a 2019 return, if not filed they will use the 2018 tax return information. If direct deposit is listed on tax return that is how you will receive funds. As of 4/2/2020 the IRS has made the announcement that the first economic payments, if by direct deposit, will hit in two weeks.

2)      Independent contractors can now apply for unemployment benefits:

Unemployment compensation benefits were usually reserved only for employees who were laid off from their job. Under the CARES Act, independent contractors and freelancers are now eligible to receive unemployment benefits as well. The CARES Act even increases the amount of benefits by $600 a week.

To claim the unemployment benefits, freelancers and contractors should log on to the state’s unemployment website and apply as soon as possible for benefits. Here is the link to the State of Oklahoma  https://unemployment.state.ok.us/

3)      Small business loans that can be forgiven if they are used for certain designated purposes:

For the Paycheck Protection Program/EIDL Loans/SBA Express Bridge Loans/SBA Debt Relief there are several options and below is a link that will take you directly to the SBA website for a breakdown of each loan/relief so that you can determine which one makes the most sense.

https://www.sba.gov/funding-programs/loans/coronavirus-relief-options

COVID-19 Economic Disaster Loan Application (SBA Loan) and a good friend and co-worker of mine sent a YouTube video that helped tremendously.  Thanks for your help, Jay Asbill!!!!
Here is the link to the online application:  https://covid19relief.sba.gov/#/ 

Here is the link to an extremely helpful step by step YouTube video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1AXQt1iI4C4

4)      Student loan payment and interest suspensions until 9/30/2020:

Borrowers can request to delay student loan payments until 9/30/2020. All federally owned student loans will automatically have a 0% interest rate until then. Contact your federal student loan servicer to request forbearance.  NOTE:  Federal Student Loans (not all Student loans are Federal) should suspend automatically. Request is more than likely for non-federal loans.

5)      You can withdraw up to $100,000 from a retirement account early without paying the 10% early withdrawal penalty (but you will still have to pay the income taxes you would owe on it):

The Cares Act will allow eligible individuals to withdraw up to $100,000 from their retirement accounts, in total, without the 10% early-withdrawal penalty as long as they pay back the distributions within three years. The relief package also eases some of the rules surrounding 401(k) loans.

NOTE:  To qualify for the provisions, individuals need to fall into one of two main categories. You, your spouse or a dependent is diagnosed with Covid-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus. Alternatively, you qualify if you have experienced adverse financial consequences as a result of being quarantined, furloughed, laid off, having work hours reduced, being unable to work due to lack of child care or closures related to the coronavirus pandemic.

6) Forbearance of Mortgages:

Holders of federally backed mortgages can request forbearance if they have been affected by COVID-19. If approved by the bank, the borrower will not be required to pay the mortgage for 180 days and the lender cannot impose any penalties or other fees. This can be extended another 180 days. Banks must halt foreclosure proceedings until May 18, 2020. To utilize this benefit, contact your mortgage holder to request forbearance. 

As mentioned above, the article by Aaron Meek and John Arrowood, included in this newsletter, will go into greater detail and should further layout what choices are available for your specific situation as an In-House/Small Business or Independent Landman.

I hope the small amount of information provided can help everyone in one way or another. Although times are tough and there is much uncertainty for the rest of 2020, please remember, as Landmen, we retain a much-needed skillset, diligent work ethic, and overall passion for the industry. We are leaders, innovators, and teachers of the future generations but most important, we are family.

Stay positive, be persistent, and persevere.

I hope to see everyone sooner rather than later…even if it’s through a Zoom meeting.

Respectfully,

Jerrod R. Hardegree, President