COL Missouri seeking disaster help for farmers

MACON, Mo. -- Missouri Agriculture Director Peter Hofherr told northeast Missouri farmers he is seeking state and federal funding to aid them during an extended drought.

But, Hofherr said, farmers must keep officials informed of their struggles.

"You can't quit," Hofherr said. "You've got to keep letting people know where you're at and what your problems are."

Most of Missouri received 3 to 6 inches of rain during the Labor Day weekend, but some far northwestern and extreme south-central portions of the state got only sparse rains. Some parts of northern and western Missouri have been struggling with drought conditions for two years.

"The last good rain we had was in last March or April," said James Replogle, a farmer from northeast Macon County.


Chronic wasting disease may spread easily

Chronic wasting disease is transmitted more easily than previously thought, a finding that complicates efforts to curb the relative of mad cow disease as it spreads in populations of deer and elk, according to a new study.

Researchers who previously believed transmission from doe to fawn played an important role in its spread now say that's not the case. Instead, the contagious brain disease is "remarkably efficient" at spreading from animal to animal, new research shows.

The finding suggests it will be harder to control the fatal disease other than through the drastic thinning or eradication of infected herds, as has happened in parts of Wisconsin.

"Unfortunately, that's what we're left with in the short term. In the long term, we hope something will come along," said Mike Miller, of the Colorado Division of Wildlife and co-author of the new study.

Roosters on steroids causing trouble

BECKLEY, W.Va. -- Cock-a-doodle don't!

Some southern West Virginia residents say roosters on steroids are clucking relentlessly all day long, and they want the birds to pipe down.


A disgruntled resident gave a recording of the roosters' noises to Raleigh County Prosecutor Larry Frail and Bill Roop, the county commission's lawyer.

Frail and Roop said Tuesday that they didn't notice anything unusual when they inspected the area near state Route 3, but they plan to return for further evaluation.

County Commissioner John Aliff said a man is raising gamecocks, and the birds have been injected with steroids. Raising gamecocks is legal in West Virginia as long as they're not used for cockfighting.

"A rooster crowing very early in the morning is no problem," Aliff said.

County commissioners say they probably will amend a noise ordinance, which deals primarily with barking dogs, to cover the birds' crowing.

USDA designates Ohio, Arizona as disasters

WASHINGTON -- The U.S. Department of Agriculture last week designated 70 Ohio counties and Arizona as agriculture disaster areas.

Arizona's disaster has been caused by a drought that began Jan. 1. The Ohio counties suffered severe losses by excessive rain, flooding, hail and high winds.


PETA drops lawsuit against Kentucky Fried

LOS ANGELES -- An animal-rights group is dropping its lawsuit against KFC Corp., saying the fast-food giant has agreed to change misleading statements about its treatment of chickens.

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals sued KFC in July, claiming it was misleading the public by denying it mistreats chickens headed for its restaurants, PETA officials said.

The lawsuit was being abandoned after KFC and its parent company Yum! Brands agreed to change statements on its Web site and in customer-service telephone operations that PETA alleged were misleading, he said.

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