Castor Production Banned in OklahomaWed, 14 Dec 2011 05:45:52 CST
During their regular December board meeting on Tuesday morning, the Oklahoma State Board of Agriculture approved unanimously a moratorium on the production of Castor in the state of Oklahoma.
According to Oklahoma State Secretary of Agriculture Jim Reese, the Board felt that this action would offer farmers some clear direction as they make planting decisions in the weeks ahead regarding possibily including Castor as a crop they would grow on their farm. It is expected that the state legislature will take a measure early in the 2012 session that would make illegal the commercial production of Castor in the state as long as there is the naturally occuring protein Ricin in the plant. Plant breeders in Texas have been working on reducing Ricin levels in the plant- but efforts to bring the level down to zero are not yet successful. Ricin is a highly toxic substance that can be lethal if ingested in even tiny amounts.
Most agricultural groups in Oklahoma as well as the Oklahoma Grain and Feed Association strongly backed the Board's action on Tuesday, as they fear that any contamination of Castor beans with other crops could cause major headaches for the Oklahoma grain and oilseed industry.
Click here for our earlier story on the concern over Castor Bean production- which includes comments from Secretary Reese as we talked with him this past Saturday about this expected vote.
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