Oklahoma Agriculture Blog

Oklahoma’s Official Agricultural Information Site

Septemberfest Samples Farming Heritage

Posted by arthur1234 on September 5, 2012

Governor Mary Fallin and Secretary Jim Reese look on as First Gentleman Wade Christensen teaches a young participant the finer points of milking a cow at last year’s Septemberfest.

 Have you ever milked a cow or made your own butter? Can you rope a steer or spin wool? Chances are most Oklahomans don’t have a clue how to perform these skills that were part of daily life on the farm a century ago. This Saturday, Sept. 8, you’ll have a chance to try out all of the fun of farming without getting stuck doing chores.

Septemberfest is the annual celebration that invites everyone in the state to come to the Oklahoma Governor’s Mansion, 820 NE 23rd St. in Oklahoma City, for a day of fun and discovery. The free family event is open to the public from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Arts and crafts, health and safety and cultural performances await visitors to booths and stages on the lawn of the Governor’s Mansion. Entertainment will be provided throughout the day on the stage in front of the mansion, and you just might get to meet Governor Fallin.

By far the largest area is the Agricultural Venue. Two dozen vendors will make farming fun with a petting zoo, a hay maze and a giant combine. Take a ride around the grounds on a trained ox or climb into an open carriage pulled by horses. For faster transportation, find a seat in the tractor-pulled barrel train operated by Orr Family Farm. See the action in a demonstration beehive, make watermelon salsa, rope a dummy steer, and plant a garden or a tree.

When it’s time to eat, check out the chuckwagon with real Dutch oven cooking, grab a hotdog at the Beef Council tent, leg of lamb samples from the Sheep and Wool Commission, delicious cinnamon rolls baked by the Wheat Commission and a peanut snack from the Peanut Commission. Get your calcium with milk from Southwest Dairy before joining in the stick horse races, sitting on the driver’s seat of a vintage tractor and making your own souvenir rope.

Septemberfest activities take place on the lawn of the Governor’s Mansion in Oklahoma City.


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Nitrate Toxicity Potential Means Producers Should Test Forage Before They Cut, Selk Says

Posted by arthur1234 on July 30, 2012


In his recent column for the Cow-Calf newsletter, Glenn Selk, Oklahoma State University Extension animal scientist emeritus says drought conditions have made it imperative that forage producers test for excessive concentrations of nitrogen:

Summer has definitely arrived in Oklahoma! Hot dry summer weather brings about heat and drought stress on summer annuals. Stressed plants such as the forage sorghums can occasionally accumulate dangerous concentrations of nitrates. These high nitrate plants, either standing in the field, or fed as hay, can cause abortion in pregnant cattle, or death if consumed in great enough quantities. Nitrates do not dissipate from sun-cured hay (in contrast to prussic acid), therefore once the hay is cut the nitrate levels remain constant. Therefore, producers should test hay fields before they cut them for hay. Stop by any OSU County Extension office for testing details. Testing the forage before cutting gives the producer an additional option of waiting and allowing for the nitrate to lower in concentration before harvesting the hay. The major sources of nitrate toxicity in Oklahoma will be summer annual sorghum type plants, including sudan hybrids, sorgo-sudans, sorghum-sudans, millets, and Johnsongrass.   

Drought-stressed corn plants were tested last summer in North Central Oklahoma and were reported to test well above the 10000 ppm nitrate concentration that is considered potentially lethal to cattle. Other plants also may accumulate nitrates. See OSU Fact Sheet PSS-2903.   

Some of the management techniques to reduce the risk of nitrate toxicity (Note: the risk of this poisoning cannot be totally eliminated), include:

1)      Test the crop before you harvest it. IF it has an elevated concentration of nitrates, you still have the option of waiting for normal plant metabolism to bring the concentration back to a safe level. And experience tells us that we cannot estimate nitrate content just by looking at the field.   

2)      Raise the cutter bar when harvesting the hay. Nitrates are in greatest concentration in the lower stem. Raising the cutter bar may reduce the tonnage, but cutting more tons of a toxic material has no particular value.   

3)      Know the extent of nitrate accumulation in the hay and the levels that are dangerous to different classes of cattle; i.e., pregnant cows, open cows, or stocker steers. If you still have doubt about the quality of the hay, send a forage sample to a reputable laboratory for analysis, to get an estimate of the nitrate concentration. This will give some guidelines as to the extent of dilution that may be necessary to more safely feed the hay.   

4)      Allow cattle to become adapted to nitrate in the hay. By feeding small amounts of the forage sorghum along with other feeds such as grass hay or grains, cattle begin to adapt to the nitrates in the feed and develop a capability to “digest” the nitrate with less danger. Producers should avoid the temptation of feeding the high nitrate forage for the first time after a snow or ice storm. Cattle will be stressed, hungry, and unadapted to the nitrates. They will consume unusually large amounts of the forage and be in high risk for nitrate toxicity.   

5)      Click here to read OSU Fact Sheet PSS-2903 before cutting and feeding any summer annual hay.


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Kirby Asked to Participate in National Conversation About Local Foods

Posted by arthur1234 on July 17, 2012

The Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, Food, and Forestry’s State Farm to School Coordinator Chris Kirby has been invited to join USDA Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan and White House Director of Public Engagement Jon Carson in a conversation about local foods. Kirby is one of six women leaders chosen to participate in the Google+ Hangout.

The virtual meeting will take place Tuesday, July 17th at 2 p.m. CST. The discussion can be viewed online at WhiteHouse.gov/live or on the White House Google+ page. Participants are encouraged to join the conversation on the White House Google+ Page, on Twitter with the hashtag #WHHangout or at http://www.whitehouse.gov/local-food-ask-your-questions. Questions can be submitted ahead of time or during the event.

The meeting is part of the unveiling of USDA’s update to the Know Your Farmer Know Your Food Compass.

To read Deputy Secretary Merrigan’s thoughts on the local foods hangout, visit the White House blog at http://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2012/07/13/join-white-house-hangout-local-foods.

For more information about local foods and the Farm to School program, go to http://www.okfarmtoschool.com or contact Chris Kirby at (405) 522-2106 or chris.kirby@ag.ok.gov.

State Farm to School director Chris Kirby discusses local foods with a crowd in Oklahoma City. To learn more about the Oklahoma Farm to School program visit http://www.okfarmtoschool.com.

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2012 Youth Forestry and Wildlife Camp Applicants Sought

Posted by arthur1234 on April 19, 2012

Students need to move quickly or miss out on this summer’s most exciting outdoor adventure. The 56th Annual Oklahoma Youth Forestry & Wildlife Camp is accepting on-line applications for campers ages 13-15 years old that want to have fun in the outdoors learning about forestry, wildlife and natural resources. The week-long camp will be held June 4-9 in beautiful Beavers Bend State Park near Broken Bow, Oklahoma and is open to boys and girls from across the state.
“Only 50 spots are available, so we urge interested campers to sign up now,” said Camp Director Caleb Fields. “While learning about forestry and wildlife, campers will enjoy fly fishing, archery, skeet shooting and fun field trips.”
The camp is coordinated by Oklahoma Forestry Services, a division of the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, Food, and Forestry. A camper fee of $175 covers all costs including lodging, meals, transportation at camp, field trips, and workshops. Partial scholarships are available on a limited basis. Applications will be accepted until May 18 and are available at http://www.forestry.ok.gov or by calling (405) 522-6158. The website also has additional camp information as well as photos from past camps.
Adult leaders and camp counselors are also urged to apply. Camp counselors, ages 18-22, should be mature, responsible young adults with an interest in education or outdoor careers such as forestry or wildlife. In addition to working with the younger campers and gaining valuable experience in their field, camp counselors will receive a stipend of $200 for the week. Volunteer adult leaders are also eligible to bring one camper for no charge.
By getting your kids in the woods this summer, they will not only have fun but will gain awareness and respect for the world in which they live while learning from some of the top natural resource professionals in the state. So don’t wait, apply now for this memorable outdoor experience.

The beautiful Mountain Fork River is a great setting for a variety of camp classes such as this one where students are taking an aquatic inventory of the river.

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Oklahoma Scrapie Genotyping Program

Posted by arthur1234 on March 29, 2012

Dear Oklahoma Sheep Producers:

Interest in previous years’ state-wide scrapie genotyping program has prompted the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, Food, and Forestry (ODAFF) and the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) to offer free genotyping to Oklahoma flocks again in 2012.  As you know, scrapie is a degenerative disease of sheep similar to bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) of cattle.  This disease is fatal to infected sheep and economically detrimental to flocks.  Because of the movement of animals between flocks, there is potential for exposure to infected animals.  Scrapie genotyping is a DNA test that identifies the genes that control susceptibility or resistance to this disease.  Genetically susceptible animals can further be tested for infection.

 This surveillance program would accomplish two very important objectives:   Increase scrapie surveillance in high risk populations of sheep in Oklahoma.   Help producers identify the genetic makeup of their flocks, increase the selection of genetically resistant breeding animals in those flocks, and consequently help reduce the prevalence of scrapie.   As the number one club lamb producing state, Oklahoma understands how important it is to protect the sheep industry as a valued asset to om state’s economy. We encourage you to take advantage of this free service. If you are interested in participating and wish to be considered for the 2012 Oklahoma Scrapie Genotyping Program, please complete the enclosed application and submit it to:

 ODAFF – Animal Industry Services
Ann: Dr. Justin Roach
2800 N Lincoln Blvd
Oklahoma City, OK 73105

 All applications will be reviewed, and selection for participation will based on eligibility. There is no deadline for applications; however, testing is limited and will be “first-come, first-served”.


Those interested in the Oklahoma Scrapie Genotyping Program can download this application, fill it out and send it to:
ODAFF - Animal Industry Services
Ann: Dr. Justin Roach
2800 N Lincoln Blvd
Oklahoma City, OK 73105
Remember the program is "first-come, first-served.


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“Master Woodworking Artist of the Year” to be Chosen

Posted by arthur1234 on March 2, 2012

The Forest Heritage Center Museum (FHC), located in the heart of Beavers Bend State Park, Broken Bow, Oklahoma, was officially designated as the “Wood Art Capital of Oklahoma” in 2010. This new claim to fame authorizes the museum to bestow the title of “Master Woodworking Artist of the Year” to a commendable artist in this field. FHC will open the very first juried “Master Woodworking Artist of the Year” exhibit with a reception and awards presentation on Sunday, March 4 from 1-3 p.m.

The exhibit will continue through May 6 showcasing some of the most intriguing and innovative pieces of wood art selected from thirteen artists. “The objects will be diverse and should create a lot of conversation about the beautiful art forms that come from trees,” stated Doug Zook, FHC director. “We are pleased to have these talented wood artists commit to a project of this magnitude and help raise the stature of wood art in Oklahoma.”

Oklahoma artists competing for the 2012 title include: Robert Adams, Duncan; Tommy Allen, Idabel; Jerry Brownrigg, Alva; Deon Cavner, Elmore City; Hayes Copeland, Sallisaw; Ron Engel-Wilson, Idabel; Bob Hawks, Tulsa; Bill Koch, Jay; and James Wendell Mills, Sallisaw. Out-of-state artists include: Jim Christiansen, Moscow, ID; Barbara Dill, Rockville, VA; Allen Phillips, DeKalb, TX and Paul Stafford, Littleton, CO.

Quintus Herron, former FHC Board Chair and one of the original FHC founders, pointed out that from the museum’s inception in 1976 it has promoted wood art, beginning with the acquisition of the iconic Peter Toth sculpture known as the Whispering Giant in 1976, the recent addition of the Pine Maiden and the board of directors’ ongoing sponsorship of the woodturning classes at area high schools. In 1996, the Wood Art Gallery was established to showcase some of the finest works of art utilizing wood as a medium.  The Wood Art Gallery has been very well-received by museum visitors and has generated a new audience of wood collectors and art lovers who appreciate the beauty and artistry of wood.  

The “Master Woodworking Artist of the Year” exhibit will be free and open to the public March 4 – May 6 at the Forest Heritage Center Museum. Gallery hours are 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday and 1:00 – 4:00 p.m. on Sunday. For more information call 580-494-6497 or email the museum at fhc@beaversbend.com. This exhibit is made possible by the Forest Heritage Center Advisory Board, Oklahoma Arts Council, Oklahoma Forestry Services and members of the Forest Heritage Center Association.

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Artist of the year gallery at the Forest Heritage Center Museum

Posted by arthur1234 on March 2, 2012

Artist of the year gallery at he Forest Heritage Center Museum

A sneak peak at the gallery for Master Woodworking Artist of the Year. The collection will be on display March 4-May 6.

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Oklahoma Forestry Services Speaks for the Trees

Posted by arthur1234 on March 2, 2012

In celebration of the many benefits provided by Oklahoma’s forests, Oklahoma Forestry Services, a Division of the Department of Agriculture, Food and Forestry, has teamed up with the USDA Forest Service and Dr. Seuss’ character, The Lorax, to “speak for the trees.”

Dr. Seuss wrote about the importance of environmental awareness in 1971. The Lorax is a parable that promotes the conservation of natural resources and warns against the perils of over-consumption. The story depicts a greedy, polluting industry, the Once-ler, cutting down all of the feather-like Truffula trees without replacing them for the future. Through new plantings and the presentation of the last Truffula seed, trees are promoted as a renewable resource, valuable to people for everything from clean air to wood products. The takeaway message is that sustainable forest management practices help strike a balance between the needs of people and the health of our forests.

“Even if you don’t live in one, the forests matter to everyone,” said George Geissler, Oklahoma State Forester. “Given the many threats to America’s private and public forests due to climate change, urban sprawl, pests and wildfires, we anticipate the movie will build awareness and help ensure the health and productivity of America’s forests, a goal shared by forest owners, foresters and the Lorax.”

There are over 751 million acres of forestland in America and, on average, about four million trees are planted each day. In Oklahoma, over 95 percent of our 10 million acres of forestlands are privately owned and landowners plant millions of trees each year.

“Foresters are similar to wheat farmers. They fertilize the land, work it, plant the seedlings, baby the crops and then harvest it; it’s just a longer process,” Geissler said.  “Teaching people that harvesting trees and using wood products are acceptable if done responsibly will go a long way toward changing attitudes.”

So hold onto your Truffula tufts. Dr. Seuss’ beloved book The Lorax springs into 3-D today, March 2, the day when the author would have turned 108 years old. The film will promote the inherent value of our forests and the importance of planting trees and sustainable forest management.

For the latest forestry information, visit www.forestry.ok.gov.

The Once-ler practices irresponsible forest management by chopping down trees without replacing them in Dr. Seuss' "The Lorax".

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Forestry Online Store Now Open

Posted by arthur1234 on February 22, 2012

Oklahoma Forestry Services (OFS), a division of the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, Food and Forestry, is making ordering your trees easy. The OFS online store is open and is taking orders for trees and shrubs.

OFS has been growing tree and shrub seedlings at its nursery just south of Norman in Goldsby since 1946 and to make ordering easier, the online store lets you choose, order and pay for your trees and shrubs with the click of a mouse. The seedlings are available for pick-up or can be shipped to your home.

There are over 30 varieties of trees and shrubs available. A minimum order is 100 seedlings, in bundles of 50. Wildlife packets are also back this year and contain 100 trees with 25 each of four different species. OFS teamed up with the Department of Wildlife Conservation to offer seedling packages to help you increase the diversity of wildlife food and cover on your property.

No matter how large or small your acreage OFS foresters can assist you in planning and planting trees. To get more information or to order your seedlings visit www.forestry.ok.gov or call 800-517-3673

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A Made In Oklahoma Valentine’s Day Dinner

Posted by arthur1234 on February 3, 2012

February is here, and it’s not too early to make Valentine’s Day plans. If you’re looking for a great restaurant, we suggest you check out one that serves Oklahoma products like Tulsa’s SMOKE. on Cherry Street. It’s Made In Oklahoma restaurant of the month.

SMOKE. on Cherry Street opened one year ago in one of Tulsa’s most historic venues with a commitment to offering Tulsa’s best “Inspired American, Locally Sourced” casual-fine dining experience. Since then, SMOKE. has been voted “Best New Restaurant 2011” and “Best Executive Chef – Erik Reynolds”. In October of last year SMOKE added renown Tulsa Chef, Michelle Donaldson, as Chef De Cuisine.

With fresh local produce, grass fed Oklahoma Beef hand cut in house every day, paintings and photography from local artists, local craft beers, a deep selection of scotches bourbons and wines, and a hermetically sealed cigar lounge – SMOKE. is proud of what Tulsa and Oklahoma has to offer the community and city, and loves bringing it to the table for Tulsans and its visitors. To learn more, visit http://www.smoketulsa.com.

To check out other MIO restaurants when planning your Valentine’s Day date, visit http://www.miocoalition.com/mio-restaurant-list.html.

A chef at SMOKE. on Cherry Street prepares dinner. photo courtesy of SMOKE. on Cherry Street

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