Canadian County ag producers get help with wildlife damage

Annual agreement provides free services to eligible landowners

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Canadian County agriculture producers have access to free help addressing wildlife damage caused by beavers, aquatic rodents and feral pigs through a cooperative agreement between the county and Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, Food and Forestry’s Wildlife Services Division. (File photo)

By Conrad Dudderar
Staff Writer

Canadian County agriculture producers have a free resource if they sustain wildlife damage on their properties.

This service is provided through a cooperative agreement Canadian County has with the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, Food and Forestry’s Wildlife Services Division.

The annual agreement, recently renewed by Canadian County Commissioners, is for “wildlife damage management activities and programs conducted in Canadian County” pursuant to state statute.

Canadian County pays $2,400 annually for wildlife damage services – such as addressing beaver problems on county roads.

“That allows us to be in your county and provide services to any ag producers in Canadian County free of charge,” explained Justin Cooper, central district supervisor for the state agriculture department’s Wildlife Services Division.

Without such an agreement, landowners would be charged for any services they needed.

“If you’ve got livestock and you’re experiencing some predatory issues, you can give us a call,” Cooper added. “We can come out, assess the damages and see what’s going on. Then we can actually do hands-on work, free of charge, because of this agreement in Canadian County.”

State Wildlife Services Division personnel also can help Canadian County ag producers who experience damage caused by feral pigs on their lands or aquatic rodents in their farm ponds and streams.

Cooper attended the Canadian County Commissioners’ June 1st meeting with Canadian County wildlife specialist Josh Randolph.

Canadian County Commission Chairman Jack Stewart

Canadian County often has beaver ponds – up and down stream – on private property that “back water up on county roads”, according to Canadian County Commission Chairman Jack Stewart.

“We don’t have many beaver dams on the right-of-way, but it still causes problems on the right-of-way,” the District 3 county commissioner said.

Since this cooperative agreement is through Oklahoma’s Department of Agriculture, Cooper emphasizes these free services “only cover ag-producing properties.”

The Wildlife Services Division does have other agreements with homeowners’ associations, municipalities and private businesses to provide wildlife damage management services.

“We do have to assess a fee for our services on those,” Cooper said.

Canadian County recently moved from the state ag department’s west district to the central district.

ODDS AND ENDS …

In other business at its June 1st weekly meeting, Canadian County Commissioners approved:

  • Allowing retired deputy sheriff Dewayne Hoehner to retain his county issued badge and weapon. Hoehner, a previously retired El Reno police officer, had been with the Canadian County Sheriff’s Office for 10 years serving as a school resource officer.
  • Appointing Jimmy Smith to the Canadian County Floodplain Board. Smith fills a vacancy on the five-member board after the retirement of Frank Austin. There is another vacancy for a board seat representing southwest Canadian County.
  • Participating in the Association of County Commissioners of Oklahoma’s Self-Insured Fund (ACCO-SIF Workers’ Compensation) for fiscal year 2021-22. Cost is $500,834.
  • Awarding a $25,908.46 bid to Production Essentials for announcer stand equipment at the new Canadian County Expo & Event Center.

Canadian County Undersheriff Kevin Ward presented the county jail report showing 246 inmates in custody, with 194 prisoners at the El Reno detention center and 52 being housed in other counties.

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