A news releaseon October 18 from the Oklahoma Association of Conservation Districts indicated that, “A major dust storm that closed down interstate 35 in north central Oklahoma provides a vivid example of why it’s critical that the State and Federal Government not turn their back on natural resource conservation and that Farmers and Ranchers continue to practice good soil stewardship on their land according to Joe Parker, President of the Oklahoma Association of Conservation Districts (OACD).
“‘Conservation is critical to the state of Oklahoma and you only have to look at what happened today in Kay County to understand why,’ Parker said. ‘The record drought we have been experiencing coupled with high winds and exposed soils combined to create conditions ripe for this sort of situation. This is exactly why we need to protect our natural resources and why we all need to maintain a focus on good conservation.’
“On Thursday October 18, wind gusts as high as 55 miles an hour blew a massive dust storm through northern Oklahoma that reduced visibility to less than 10 feet. Near black-out conditions forced the closure of Interstate 35 near the Kansas-Oklahoma border. According to OACD Executive Director Clay Pope, this is exactly why soil conservation should be front and center in the minds of both agriculture producers and policy makers.”
Photos of the dust storm, from KOCO-TV Oklahoma City News Channel 5, have been posted below:
Brody Mullins and Naftali Bendavid reported in yesterday’s (Oct. 17) Wall Street Journal that, “Unlike the past three congressional elections, the 2012 campaign isn’t shaping up as a landslide for either party. The fight for the House is really about battles in slightly more than 50 competitive districts.
“One reason is the way Republicans were able to take better advantage than Democrats of the once-a-decade redistricting process to redraw congressional districts in a way that protected many of their most vulnerable members.
“Democrats need to recapture 25 House seats from Republicans to take the majority and return Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D., Calif.) to the speaker’s chair. Most independent analysts say Democrats may gain a handful of seats, but not enough to take control.”
The article explained that, “Spending directly by candidates of both parties will top $1.1 billion on the 435 House races, according to the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics.
“But total spending on the races—including from outside groups—is harder to estimate. Not counted in the official tally kept by the Federal Election Commission are all of the activities of labor unions, which overwhelmingly support Democrats. Much of that spending isn’t disclosed to the FEC.”
This week’s Journal article also included the graphical illustration below, depicting the most competitive 50 House races, 34 of which are held by the GOP.
Farm Bill -Policy Issues, Political Notes
The AP reported yesterday that, “Maine agricultural officials are heading to Washington, D.C., to work with the state’s congressional delegation and federal officials regarding the demise of the 2008 Farm Bill.
“Commissioner Walter Whitcomb says the Farm Bill expired Sept. 30, putting Maine’s dairy producers at risk. He says other programs beneficial to Maine’s potato farmers, blueberry growers and child nutrition education efforts have also been put in limbo.”
The article noted that, “Whitcomb says dairy farmers are particularly vulnerable because the Farm Bill had a federal milk pricing program that gave protection to Maine farmers. Maine has 306 dairy farms ranging in size from 10 to 1,700 cows.”