State Secretary of Agriculture Blayne Arthur Reflects on Her First 100 Days at the Helm of ODAFFTue, 30 Apr 2019 17:12:18 CDT
Governor Kevin Stitt recently reflected on the first 100 days of his administration and the progress it has made advancing its agenda. Likewise, Oklahoma Secretary of Agriculture Blayne Arthur reviewed the work she and her staff has accomplished at the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, Food & Forestry since taking office. In a conversation with Radio Oklahoma Ag Network Farm Director Ron Hays on Tuesday, during a visit with the Oklahoma Grain and Feed Association, Arthur remarked on several of the goals that have been achieved over the past four months and those goals she continues to pursue. You can listen to their complete conversation by clicking or tapping the LISTEN BAR below at the bottom of the page.
“I’m certainly very excited that we’re making some progress. I don’t know that we’re making as much progress as I would like to see as quickly as I’d like to see it. But we have had some great success from an animal health perspective,” she said, alluding to the department’s recent collaboration with the Kansas Department of Agriculture on a traceability project. “I think that will be a great opportunity for us to learn a lot and decide how we can best approach things in regard to the electronic identification of cattle.”
In addition, the Secretary says the department has selected the members of its new Youth Council. Arthur says youth development and engaging youth in the ag industry is very important to her and one her personal passions. The department has welcomed more new faces beyond those, too. Professionals with experience at other agencies and commodity associations have joined the staff since Arthur’s appointment. She says these new additions to the staff have injected fresh energy and enthusiasm into the department and have further brightened her outlook about what can be accomplished at the department.
During her visit with the OGFA, Arthur says one highlight of the work done so far has been securing a much-needed update of department vehicles and equipment. Having these tools, she says, will help significantly increase ODAFF’s productivity and level of service to its stakeholders.
In the short time that she has been at the helm, Arthur says working to establish and oversee the framework of Oklahoma’s industrial hemp industry is a task that has been one of the most demanding of her time. The legislation that recently passed Oklahoma’s Legislature has in fact, just been sent back for an emergency amendment to correct its language in a manner that reflects some necessary changes needed by the Farm Service Agency. However, she is confident this process will be finalized in time for producers interested in growing industrial hemp this season, to get their crop in the ground. In the meantime, she says she continues to work closely with the US Department of Agriculture to ensure that Oklahoma’s regulations stay in alignment with federal rules as the USDA continues to craft those.
Looking ahead to the next 100 days and beyond, Arthur says there are still many more things she hopes to achieve.
“There’s certainly a long list of things we want to do. No. 1, is we want to make sure we’re navigating any challenges in interfacing with producers and how we can be a better agency for producers here in Oklahoma. Ultimately, we want to really promote what our producers are doing both domestically and internationally and bring some more processing here to the state,” she said. “There’s a lot of challenges sometimes to recruit processing here to Oklahoma. But, I think we’ve got a lot of folks who will really help us move forward and once we start that, I hope we see a little bit of a snowball effect.”
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