Agriculture

facebook.com/rushspringswatermelonfestival

COVID-19 is causing organizers of annual agricultural festivals in Oklahoma to be cancelled, and some think it will have an adverse effect on the economies of the rural towns that host them.

Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

Three rural Oklahoma communities are receiving $7 million in grants and loans to improve water infrastructure. The money is part of a $462 million investment from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to help modernize rural water and wastewater systems across 44 states.

OKLAHOMA DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE

Unsolicited packages of seeds from China are arriving in mailboxes around the country. More than 20 state departments of agriculture, including Oklahoma, Iowa and Nebraska are warning that the seeds could potentially be harmful.

KRISTOFOR HUSTED / HARVEST PUBLIC MEDIA

Large meatpacking plants across the country shut down after outbreaks of COVID-19 among employees, causing supply chain disruptions for farmers, ranchers and consumers. But a new bill in the U.S. House seeks to address the problem by boosting small scale meat processors.

According to new quarterly crop data from the USDA, farmers planted about 92 million acres of corn this spring, a 5 million acre decrease over the agency's March acreage report. The decrease could slash this season’s corn harvest by around a billion bushels, providing some much-needed price increases for commodity farmers. 

SHERI GLAZIER

Sheri Glazier is used to seeing dry conditions on the family farm in central Oklahoma around wheat harvesting time in June. But this year, the heat came faster than normal. She remembers the unusually early heat one day while driving the combine in the wheat field.

“I was extremely worried about heat strokes that day, and I don't ever remember truly being that early in June, being that extremely concerned about ‘where's the water, where's the Gatorade, where's the fire extinguishers?’ All in one day, that early in wheat harvest,” Glazier says.

Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

KOSU, the public radio station licensed to Oklahoma State University, welcomes a new reporter to cover agriculture and rural issues. At a time when local journalism is reeling from years of newsroom cuts and unforeseen challenges brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, KOSU is expanding its newsroom to be of better service to the Oklahoma community.

Rachel Hubbard / KOSU

Farmers in Oklahoma and across the Great Plains are in the middle of cutting their wheat crops. Even as more people bake during the pandemic, some wheat farmers may need help to break even this year.

Glenn Carstens-Peters / Unsplash

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Purdue recently announced that $545 million in aid has been approved for farmers who have been affected by COVID-19.

Chelsea Stanfield

A growing demand for more locally-sourced food options has been highlighted by the COVID-19 pandemic’s effects on large meat processing hubs throughout the country. Oklahoma ranchers want to increase the state’s cattle processing and packing capacity to provide more local beef options for Oklahoma consumers. 

Pages