Wildfires in the Great Plains states have killed livestock and caused a shortage of forage in the affected areas. Farmers in southern OK wanted to help their neighbors to the north by shipping hay. Unfortunately, those areas have fire ants and are under quarantine and forage cannot be shipped outside the quarantine area.
The Cooperative Extension Service funded by a combination of Federal, State and local funds has come to the rescue. Trained extension educators in the quarantine area have offered to inspect hay for fire ants. If no fire ants are found, the farmer receives a certificate that permits the shipment. If fire ants are found, the farmer receives information on treating the hay so it can be re-inspected and shipped later.
This work helps prevent fire ants from rapidly moving to new territory and allows farmers in need to receive uncontaminated hay from farmers willing to help. The costs of inspection are offset by the cost savings of keeping fire ants from spreading.