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Agricultural News

Oklahoma Ag Secretary Blayne Arthur Expresses Appreciation to ODL For Expanding COVID-19 Testing

Mon, 27 Apr 2020 11:16:50 CDT

Oklahoma Ag Secretary Blayne Arthur Expresses Appreciation to ODL For Expanding COVID-19 Testing Last Friday the Oklahoma agriculture community showed their appreciation for the great effort extended by the staff at the Oklahoma State University Animal Diagnostic Laboratory to help expand testing for COVID-19. The show of thanks was coordinated by Oklahoma Sec. of Agriculture Blayne Arthur who talked with Radio Oklahoma Ag Network Farm Director Ron Hays after the small gathering in Stillwater.

Arthur (far left) is shown in the photo accompanying this article thanking Dr. Jerry Ritchey, interim director of the lab.

The lab, best known for conducting tests in agriculture and companion animals, is known as the state's flagship diagnostic laboratory, and is often referred to simply as ODL (Oklahoma Diagnostic Laboratory).

The OSU lab started COVID-19 testing March 31 and by April 24 had successfully handled over 12,000 tests, making them the largest testing capacity lab in the state.

The diagnostic lab is something we use in the animal world every day, Arthur said. They do a lot of testing for us at the Department of Agriculture and are a great resource, Arthur said.

Arthur said thanks to the work of a lot of individuals at OSU they have become nationally certified to conduct COVID-19 testing.

"We wanted to thank them for taking on the extra work," Arthur said.

She noted the flexibility exhibited when the quickly expanded testing in about a 10-day period.

"Really the staff here at ODL incredibly quickly put a lot of effort into this and were able to start running tests to benefit the entire state," Arthur said.

The Ag Secretary said this is a good example of "one health" where the animal side and human side come together to provide solutions.

Arthur added the agriculture department remains fully engaged in its regulatory duties during this pandemic.

"One thing we're really trying to do is look for regulatory flexibility that allows producers to do their job more efficiently," Arthur said.

She noted the tremendous stress producers are struggling with as they work hard to produce our nation's food and fiber.

Arthur said the Oklahoma Ag Mediation program, run by Mike Mayberry, is available to help producers.

There are a lot of great resources out there to help producers, she said.

Click on the listen bar below to hear more of Ron's interview with Blayne Arthur.



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