A couple of Nebraska farmers were sued because their corn was too tall. It began in October of 2007 when two pickups collided at an intersection obstructed by 7-foot-tall corn planted near the road. The crash killed one passenger and left another a quadriplegic who died from his injuries three years later. The second victim’s wife sued the truck drivers and the farmers who planted the corn. The suit traveled all the way to the Nebraska Supreme Court which confirmed the two farmers were not negligent for the height of their corn that created the blind intersection.
California’s case of the mutilated pelican carries a much deeper message for livestock producers. We’ve known for years that consumers care about animal welfare and they want assurances that food animals are treated with respect. That sentiment was underscored this week by the public’s outrage over the mutilation of a brown pelican in Long Beach. Person(s) unknown slashed the pelican’s pouch from ear-to-ear, leaving the bird unable to feed. The bird, named Pink by rescuers, was found April 16 and a veterinarian at International Bird Rescue spent 6 hours stitching up Pink’s pouch. How much do people care about Pink? The Port of Long Beach donated $5,000 towards the bird’s medical bills, and multiple anonymous donors have contributed a total of $20,000 to a reward fund in an effort to catch the person(s) responsible for the cruelty.
Bundy vs. BLM ... Continued
Undeterred by mounds of criticism, Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy continues his fight against the Bureau of Land Management for last month’s attempted roundup of his cattle. Today, Bundy was set to file a criminal complaint in Las Vegas against the BLM for "men blocking access to public land ... harassing people for taking photos" and other claims such as impersonating police officers, threatening to use stun guns and "threatening to fire upon unarmed civilians" as well as use of attack dogs and "men pointing weapons."
The spat also has spilled over into the local community. According to a letter Rep. Steven Horsford (D-Nev.) sent to a local sheriff, armed militiamen around Bundy’s ranch have set up road checkpoints and are asking passersby for proof of residency.
Local authorities and Bundy’s neighbors are growing weary of the attention. Travelers are calling the sheriff asking if it’s safe to travel along Interstate 15, where some of Bundy’s armed supporters are visible.
Ag commentator Dan Murphy says, "For the sake of every honest, hardworking, clear-thinking cattle rancher out there, let’s hope the Cliven Bundy debacle goes away."
Dust Bowl 2014
The drought is unrelenting.
Massive dust storms this week across the High Plains crated zero-visibility conditions in central Kansas and one western Kansas school was forced to cancel classes and activities. Monday's dust storm was so large it covered most of Kansas, western Oklahoma, the Texas Panhandle and eastern Colorado, said weather service meteorologist Jeff Hutton in Dodge City.
The Wheat Quality Council 2014 Hard Winter Wheat Tour wrapped up yesterday with an estimated production for the Kansas crop at 260.6 million bushels. This is the lowest tour estimate since 1996. The average yield, calculated from 587 stops, was 33.2 bushels per acre.