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Agricultural News

Ron Hays Reviews the Ag Stories of Impact for 2017

Fri, 29 Dec 2017 16:25:34 CST

Ron Hays Reviews the Ag Stories of Impact for 2017 In the final email news that was sent out on Friday, December 29th, Radio Oklahoma Ag Network Farm Director Ron Hays offered up two lists of top Agricultural Stories that he reported on during 2017- the first a group of stories that impacted Oklahoma Agriculture with the second group more national in scope. Here's the rundown offered by Ron in his daily email:

Stories Impacting Oklahoma Agriculture:

Among the stories impacting Oklahoma's farmers and ranchers in 2017- I would have to put at the top of the list the enormous fire that burned hundreds of thousands of acres in northwest Oklahoma and southwest Kansas- in assessing the fire- we traveled with Ag Secretary Jim Reese to a Fire Informational meeting in Buffalo and heard firsthand from Tom Fanning and others about the fires and the relief that poured into the region after the damage was done. Click here to go back and check that day out. Speaking of the relief effort- we talked in April with Jeff Jaronek of the OCA Foundation about the Foundation being able to collect a million dollars to help ranchers impacted by the fires- click here for that story.

A different kind of tragedy effecting beef producers has played out in 2017 as the legal process slowly but surely unraveled the $2.6 million embezzlement case against Melssia Morton- former employee of the Oklahoma Beef Council. Morton plead guilty in May (Click here) and still awaits sentencing- which is now scheduled for January 4th in Oklahoma City. Back in September, the Oklahoma Beef Council Board and their Executive Director Heather Buckmaster released a statement and some background on the Embezzlement case- click here to go back to that statement and then in early December the Council announced a lawsuit against the Accounting Firm that gave Morton's financial books a clean bill of health- even as she was stealing money- our story on that is available here.

Along the way- the Oklahoma Cattlemen's Association led the efforts to vote on a secondary state beef checkoff to run side by side with the Federal Checkoff that has been around since the late 1980s- that vote held in November- it failed- some in the industry have pointed to unhappiness in the country over the embezzlement as a possible reason the vote was unsuccessful.

The Oklahoma Farm Bureau had a year of change- terminating their Executive Director Monica Wilke at the end of July- naming Thad Doye as Interim Executive Director of the group- the search for a person to take that job full time continues into 2018- and change also occurred in November when Rodd Moesel defeated incumbent Tom Buchanan to become Oklahoma Farm Bureau President for the next two years. Click here for our coverage of that election and our first conversation with Moesel shortly the vote.

FINALLY- it's been a GREAT year for growing cotton in Oklahoma- a huge jump up in acres and apparently a million bale cotton crop for Oklahoma being harvested ad ginned here at the end of 2017. We talked with Randy Boman in November about the tremendous crop raised in 2017- a crop that has pushed Oklahoma up to the fourth largest crop by state in the US for 2017.

National Stories of Impact on Farmers and Ranchers for 2017

The stories of impact on Agriculture on the National Stage started with the election of Donald Trump as President in November of 2016- as he took office in January- lots of things started to roll.

That included his pulling the US out of the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP), announcing that Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt would be his EPA Administrator and that former Georgia Governor Sonny Perdue would run his USDA.

You can go back on our website and check out the official withdrawal from TPP by the President by clicking here- an interview we did with Scott Pruitt not long after he was confirmed to be EPA Administrator is available here- and a story that we did later in the year with USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue on trade can be found by clicking here.

During the 2017 growing season- a herbicide drift issue raised its ugly head and ended up impacting millions of acres- Dicamba Drift impacted farmers in more than 20 states- but ground zero was Arkansas. One of the smartest guys I know when it comes to herbicide resistance issues and here in 2017- the Dicamba Issue- is Dr. Jason Norsworthy- here's a video from earlier in the year put together by some folks in Nebraska on Dicamba:

Finally- a guy and a gal slapped southern agriculture hard in August and September- Harvey first with huge flooding in Texas and Louisiana and then Irma in Florida and Georgia stripping a lot of farmland bare.

Courtesy of our friend Tony St James in Texas- here is a report that we posted on the Oklahoma Farm Report which recapped the Ag Damage by Harvey in mainly Texas- click or tap here to read and to listen.

In mid September- we posted this story(click here) about the damage to Florida agriculture by Irma- citrus trees as well as pecan orchards (in Florida and Georgia) were hit hard by Irma.



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