Oklahoma Secretary of Ag Blayne Arthur Talks Top Ten Bridge Rating, Meat Processing Grant Competition and MoreSun, 16 Aug 2020 12:00:50 CDT
On Friday evening, Radio Oklahoma Ag Network Farm Director Ron Hays caught up with Oklahoma Secretary of Agriculture Blayne Arthur at the Express Ranches "Big Event" at the ranch in Yukon. Secretary Arthur was asked to deliver the invocation- and after that- Hays and the Secretary talked about several issues important to rural Oklahoma- starting with the Top Ten rating on bridges across Oklahoma.
Secretary Arthur praised her boss, Governor Kevin Stitt and Transportation Secretary Tim Gatz for their efforts to get Oklahoma to Top Ten status in bridges. Arthur says that she and Secretary Gatz talk frequently and that he understands the importance and roads and bridges in helping move the livestock and grain produced on farms and ranches into commerce. "It's exciting to see the movement we have made in the state of Oklahoma in the rankings of our bridges" and she looks forward to even more improvements on rural roads across the state.
Secretary Arthur also offered an update on the CARES Act grant of $10 million dollars designated by Governor Stitt to be used by Oklahoma Meat Processors to improve their infrastruture to expand beef and pork processing in the state. She says that as of Friday afternoon(application deadline was close of business Friday August 14) that over 150 applications had been submitted- she did not have a total number of dollars that had been requested in total by the applicants- but it will be several times that ten million dollars that are available. The Department of Ag will rank the applications and award the money to those that can deliver the most impact for the dollars invested- and the improvement that should include more shakle space in the state to process animals should be seen quickly- as the money has to be utilized by the end of this calendar year.
Hays and Secretary Arthur also talked about the recent grants announced by USDA for rural broadband upgrades- and they also discussed the recent Supreme Court Ruling that ruled in favor of the Muskogee Nation in criminal issues. Many legal scholars expect it could open the floodgates of litigation in other areas of regulation and private property rights. Secretary Arthur was asked by Governor Stitt- along with all of his cabinet- to offer a report on areas within their agency's responsibilities that may be impacted by the McGirt Ruling. Arthur told Hays that the Department of Ag is largely a regulatory agency- and that the uncertainty that may lie ahead in the jurisdiction of ODAFF may mean more regulatory burdens on land owners, farmers, ranchers and businesses that do business with the Agency.
You can listen to their conversation by clicking on the LISTEN BAR below.
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