Golden stalks of wheat contrast against the blue sky before wheat harvest begins in central Oklahoma on Friday, June 12, 2009, in Yukon, Okla. Photo by Chris Landsberger, The Oklahoman
According to Bloomberg News, this year’s Oklahoma wheat yields will range as high as 60 bushels an acre, and the state’s crop was 73 percent harvested as of June 3. Oklahoma is typically the second-biggest U.S. winter-wheat producer, and our production may near 154.8 million bushels, the highest in four years. But achieving those numbers was no sure thing due to potential federal regulations. Last year, proposed Environmental Protection Agency regulations would have essentially made dust illegal during harvest, leaving farmers worried that they had to achieve the impossible or face fines. Then federal Labor Department officials proposed regulations banning teenagers from taking traditional jobs on farms, including harvest work. Fortunately, regulators backed down after public outcry. This year’s early wheat harvest may have been made possible by weather, but it also owes a lot to the failure of those regulations.
Photo by Chris Landsberger, The Oklahoman