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By John Marshall
About 40 area farmers and ranchers attended a soil farming seminar Friday at the Geary Agri-plex. The seminar was sponsored by the North Canadian River Watershed 319 Project. Debi Carnott, education/outreach coordinator served as moderatror.
Guest speaker was J. Berton Fisher from Lithochimeia. He has worked professionally as a research scientist on matters related to the inorganic and organic geochemistry of the Earth for over 30 years.
Fisher spoke about the spreading of drilling mud and drill cuttings on pastureland, sometimes called “soil farming.”
The chemicals and compounds used in the process are numerous, he said. Fisher described the process of decomposition and how to monitor the applications. Applications of these materials are extensive in western Canadian County. Landowners agree to have this material spread on their land by the oil companies.
Decomposition can take years for some of these materials, Fisher said. He said most plants are resistant to these cuttings and generally do not ingest the chemicals and compounds. He also said the same is true for cattle.
Fisher urged locals to take a “wait and see” approach to land that has been soil-farmed.
“It is up to you as landowner to monitor the effects of this,” Fisher said. He said no agencies are monitoring the outcome of soil farming, so the landowners are the eyes and ears for any future issues or problems that could possibly arise.