agriculture

Dustin Green, owner of 10 Acre Woods farm near Norman, feeds a few of his 400 or so chickens.
Logan Layden / StateImpact Oklahoma

The right-to-farm bill got through the legislative process last week. That means voters will have a chance to decide next year whether to give farmers and ranchers broad protections against future state laws that might interfere with their operations.

But opponents say right-to-farm is a license that allows big ag to harm animals and the environment. But where do actual Oklahoma farmers and ranchers stand on the issue?

If passed by the Oklahoma legislature, the right-to-farm amendment to the state constitution wouldn’t appear on the ballot until November 2016. But the Humane Society of the United States is trying to kill the controversial issue in its crib.

Attendees listen as former Missouri state senator Wes Shoemeyer speaks against Amendment 1 at the Missouri’s Food for America sign-making event at Café Berlin Friday, June 27, 2014 in Columbia, Missouri.
KOMUnews / Flickr

Oklahoma voters have at least a year before seeing for and against state questions on the ballot in November 2016. But you might want to get used to hearing this phrase now: right-to-farm. It’s a divisive national issue that’s made its way to the Sooner State, and puts agriculture at odds with environmentalists and animal rights activists.

monarch butterfly
David Levinson / Flickr

Habitat loss and the use of herbicides to kill butterfly-preferred milkweed plants have caused the monarch butterfly population to drop by 90 percent over the last twenty years, according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Now, the race is on to save the monarchs through the newly announced National Fish and Wildlife Foundation Monarch Conservation Fund, a partnership with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

China's Pork Feeds People And Economies

Feb 10, 2015

More than half of the world’s pigs are in China. In 2012, farmers there produced more than 50 million metric tons of pork – five times the amount produced by the United States.

The growing industrialization of pig farming is putting small farmers out of business and it’s creating soil and water pollution.

The demand for grain to include in animal feed dramatically increased exports to China from South America and around the world.

Ranchers Fight Drought With Desert Cows

Feb 10, 2015

Imagine a cow that can tolerate the heat and eats relatively little grass – in other words, a cow that can thrive in the desert.

Meet the Criollo, a cattle breed that was brought to America by Columbus and established by the Spanish conquistadors in the late 1500s.

Criollos were hardy and raised for milk, meat and leather, but the British phased them out in the late 1800s when they introduced new breeds.

Now, researchers and ranchers – especially out West where drought continues to plague farms – are looking to bring back these desert-friendly cows.

David Wright / Flickr.com

A combine-sharing program touted as the first of its kind in the country aims to give farmers a chance to make some money off expensive equipment that sits idle after harvest is finished.

FarmLink announced Wednesday its farmer-to-farmer program allows farmers with spring or early summer harvests in Kansas, Colorado, Oklahoma and Texas to rent their combines to farmers with later harvests farther north.

Mason Bolay climbs into the cab of a tractor on his family's farm near Perry, Okla.
Logan Layden / StateImpact Oklahoma

Oklahoma Congressman Jim Bridenstine calls it a power grab by an imperial president. U.S. Representative Frank Lucas says it would trigger an onslaught of additional red tape for famers and ranchers in Oklahoma.

For the first time in decades, industrial hemp crops were planted in Kentucky, Colorado and Vermont this spring. A dozen other states have passed legislation in support of hemp farming, and the latest farm bill eased restrictions on cultivation in some states.

Industrial hemp could be poised for a comeback in the U.S., but there are a couple of roadblocks. Hemp remains a controlled substance, according to the federal government, which says it is illegal to grow it or import viable hemp seeds for planting.

Santi Kos, manager of Fashion Sport and Uniforms at 1300 NW 23rd St. in Oklahoma City.
Brent Fuchs, The Journal Record

Parents, Cities And Counties Plan For Back-To-School Tax Holiday.

August first through third, shoppers don’t have to pay sales tax on clothing items that cost less than $100. The holiday was implemented in 2007 to discourage shoppers from crossing state lines to save.

That’s good news for family budgets, but it also means the state misses out on $4 million it might have had otherwise.

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