Murdock's Minutes

Blunk's Lazy KT Ranch in Freedom one of state's “outstanding ranches”

 


When it comes to the importance of agriculture in our state, I never tire of promoting the hard work of Oklahoma farmers and ranchers. As chair of the Senate’s Agricultural and Wildlife Committee, I appreciate the opportunity to highlight and champion legislation filed by other members, along with my own, that supports Oklahoma agriculture. It’s our heritage and our future.

I recently had the honor of attending an awards ceremony for one of our state’s outstanding ranches. The Lazy KT Ranch in Freedom is the latest winner of the Oklahoma Leopold Conservation Award, which comes with a $10,000 prize for their stewardship of land and water. The ranch is owned by Katie Blunk, her husband, Michael Horntvedt, and Katie’s mother, Rose Kline Blunk. They sell Black Angus cattle as seedstock, but they also sell “Jackass Ridge Beef,” which is named after a spot on their ranch dubbed Jackass Ridge.


Katie grew up on the Blunk family ranch, inheriting the land that would later become Lazy KT Ranch after her father passed away. It had been ravaged by drought, cedar trees and over-grazing. Katie was determined to change that. Conservation methods implemented included prescribed burns, replacing non-native red cedar with native grasses and wildflowers, and water protection and conservation through erosion control, the building of ponds, installation of pipelines, water storage and solar-powered watering systems. I am so proud of Katie and her family and was happy to help the Lazy KT Ranch celebrate this much-deserved honor.

FFA is an outstanding youth organization that is helping prepare our next generation of leaders, farmers and ranchers. This past week we celebrated FFA Day at the Capitol, and we welcomed members from Fairview, Hardesty and Woodward. I think these kids represent some of the best our state has, and it was great to welcome them to the Capitol.


This past Thursday, we hit the deadline for our committees to hear bills that were originally filed in the Senate, but passed legislation off the floor as well, including Senate Resolution 27, which I co-authored, expressing Oklahoma’s support of Ukraine and condemning the illegal invasion by Russia.

People from the area of modern-day Ukraine immigrated to Oklahoma even before statehood in search of better wages, the opportunity to own land, and religious freedom. Some settled in southeastern Oklahoma to work in the coal mines, while others gravitated to the central part of the state to establish farms. Immigration to Oklahoma from Ukraine continues to Oklahoma to this day, so we have many people in our state that still have loved ones in that country.

The Russians have fired missiles on civilian targets, and children have been among those killed and wounded. Even though they are badly outnumbered by the Russian forces, Ukrainians are courageously fighting to preserve their freedom. The resolution calls on Oklahomans to join in prayer for the safety and protection of Ukraine and its citizens.

It is my honor to serve you in the Oklahoma State Senate. You can reach me by calling 405-521-5626 or emailing [email protected].

 

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