Want to help Oklahoma ranchers? Check your hay for fire ants

Staff Writer

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Arkansans who want to help fire-stricken ranchers in Oklahoma should be sure to understand federal fire ant quarantine rules before trying to donate hay across state lines, said Kelly Loftin, extension entomologist for the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture.

Oklahoma, along with Texas and Kansas, are suffering from wildfires that have covered more than 2 million acres, killing at least seven people and thousands of head of cattle and swine, according to news reports.

“Ranchers in neighboring states, including Arkansas, have been eager to respond to the needs of their counterparts in Oklahoma, seeking ways to get hay to the ranchers who need it,” said John Jennings, professor and extension forage specialist for the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture.

For Arkansas ranchers in the 39 counties under a federal red imported fire ant quarantine, there are specific conditions under which they can make hay donations. Quarantined counties in Arkansas are Ashley, Arkansas, Bradley, Calhoun, Chicot, Clark, Cleveland, Columbia, Conway, Crittenden, Dallas, Desha, Drew, Faulkner, Grant, Garland, Hempstead, Hot Spring, Howard, Jefferson, Lafayette, Lincoln, Little River, Lonoke, Miller, Montgomery, Nevada, Ouachita, Perry, Phillips, Pike, Polk, Pope, Pulaski, Saline, Scott, Sevier, Union and Yell.

To make donations, ranchers in these quarantined counties can offer the following:
• Hay that is stacked, except for bottom layer.
• Hay that is cut, baled, loaded, and shipped without storage. 
• Baled hay that is stored on an impervious surface such as hard pan -- highly compressed soil -- asphalt, concrete, etc. 
• Baled hay that is stored elevated above the soil on pallets or tires or stored on landscaping cloth placed over the soil. 

Loftin said hay that does not meet the above conditions above must be certified free from red imported fire ants by either federal or state inspection before being shipped. Hay from areas not under a red imported fire ant quarantine may move freely.

“We don’t want to give Oklahoma ranchers any more headaches by introducing fire ants to areas where there are none,” he said.

Donation information
The Oklahoma Cattlemen’s Foundation has established a relief fund to help ranchers in four counties affected by the wildfires. Donations to the relief effort can be made by mail or online. Checks should be made payable to the Oklahoma Cattlemen’s Foundation with Fire Relief” in the memo line, and can be mailed to P.O. Box 82395 Oklahoma City, OK 73148. Online donations can be made at www.okcattlemen.org.

To make a donation of hay use the contact information to make arrangements for drop-off locations.
• Buffalo Feeders, Hwy. 64, Buffalo, Oklahoma, Caleb Nelson 580-727-1332
• Tyree Ag, US 283, Laverne, Oklahoma, Jay Dee Nielsen, 580-334-6819
• Dale Long, near Gate, Oklahoma, Dale Long, 580-571-1249
• May Co-op Elevator, May, Oklahoma, Tom Fanning, 580-727-5530
• Western Equipment, 399 Lakeview Drive, Woodward, Oklahoma, Caleb Zook, 580-254-0080.

For donations of trucking services contact the Harper County, Oklahoma, Extension Office at 580-735-2252.

For more information about the federal red imported fire ant quarantine, visit https://www.aphis.usda.gov/aphis/ourfocus/planthealth/plant-pest-and-dis....

The University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture offers all its Extension and Research programs and services without regard to race, color, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, national origin, religion, age, disability, marital or veteran status, genetic information, or any other legally protected status, and is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employer.

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