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State could keep class-free status under interim USDA rules

Expanding a designated surveillance area that requires additional testing of cattle for brucellosis could help Wyoming maintain its federal disease status, a Powell veterinarian said.

State livestock officials have proposed adding eastern Park County to the current “designated surveillance area.” Wyoming’s DSA now covers Park County west of Wyo. 120 as well as Teton and Sublette counties, western Fremont County and northern Lincoln County.

Pleased with the quality of confection sunflower seeds raised in the Powell area in 2010, representatives of Dahlgren and Co. said last week they will increase the price they pay for the crop this year.

Sugar beet growers anticipate planting Roundup Ready sugar beet seeds this spring under strict conditions as the U.S. Department of Agriculture continues to work on an environmental impact statement governing use of the genetically modified seeds.

But Heart Mountain grower Ric Rodriguez, vice chairman of the Western Sugar Cooperative’s board of directors, spoke with caution Monday, saying there’s still time for opponents to file a court action that could stop planting before it begins.

Yellowstone Park herd drops 24 percent in 2010

Wildlife officials said Wednesday that an acclaimed elk herd in Yellowstone National Park dropped in size by 24 percent over the last year — as predators, hunters, recent drought and deep snows all took a toll.

As recently as 1994, the northern Yellowstone elk herd was the largest in North America with almost 20,000 animals that roamed between the park, Montana’s Paradise Valley and Wyoming areas, including Sunlight Basin and Crandall.

The long battle over whether sugar beet growers can plant Roundup Ready seed in 2011 took another turn in December.

On Dec. 21, the Ninth Circuit court of Appeals extended its stay pending the appeal of Judge Jeffrey White’s ruling in November that sugar beet stecklings, or seedlings grown to produce seed, must be uprooted and destroyed. The stecklings were being grown under permits from the United States Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, or APHIS.

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