Kansas merges ag agencies

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) -- Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback has signed an executive order consolidating the functions of state agriculture agencies.

The order moves the Animal Health Department and livestock commissioner within the Kansas Department of Agriculture. It creates the animal health division within the agency, headed by the animal health commissioner.

Brownback also transferred the State Conservation Commission and commission executive director to the agriculture department. The commission will fall under the agency's conservation division and be led by an executive director.

The final move puts the Agriculture Products Development Division within the Department of Commerce and renames it the Marketing and Promotions Program.

Reservoir could solve water disputes

ATLANTA (AP) -- Building new reservoirs in north Georgia could help resolve long-running water disputes with Alabama and Florida by making it possible to release enough water downstream into neighboring states during dry years, Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal said.

The Republican governor spoke about his recent reservoir plans while addressing members of the Georgia Farm Bureau, the state's largest farm lobbying organization.

"No industry or no area of our economy is more sensitive to the issue of water than ... agriculture because you depend on it for the vitality of your crops, for the necessity of producing the poultry and the livestock that we do in this state," Deal told the crowd.

After the speech, Deal told reporters that a negotiated settlement with Alabama and Florida will probably involve guaranteeing minimum water flows in rivers leading into those states. Having water stored in more reservoirs upstream would give officials the ability to supplement river flows during droughts.

Collapsed roof traps cows

CHESTER, Vt. (AP) -- Vermont rescue workers struggled to free dozens of cows trapped when the roof of a Chester barn collapsed.

State Police say the collapse was reported Feb. 7 at about 11 p.m. after workers arrived at the Roman Way Farm for the evening milking.

Officials say a 100-foot section of a 250-foot barn roof collapsed under the weight of the snow.

Between 20 and 30 cows were trapped inside. Some animals were led out of the barn unharmed.

Police say it's unclear how many cows, if any, were killed.

And a dairy farmer in upstate New York said he expects to lose dozens of cows in addition to 60 killed when a barn roof collapsed last week.

Jeff King, co-owner of the Kings-Ransom farm in Northumberland, Saratoga County, said that 35 cows died when part of the roof on the 400-foot-long barn caved in Feb. 2. He says another 25 have since died and they expect as many as 40 others may have to be euthanized.

King says about 600 cattle were in the barn when the roof collapsed.

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