0125OFBleadershipconference.cfm OFB leadership conference features top state and national leaders Feb. 15 to 16
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OFB leadership conference features top state and national leaders Feb. 15 to 16


A golden plow, a world farm leader, state budget breakdown and legislative priorities are all on the agenda for Oklahoma Farm Bureau's annual leadership conference Feb. 15 and 16 at the Marriott Hotel on Northwest Expressway, Oklahoma City.

American Farm Bureau President Bob Stallman will present AFBF's most prestigious legislative award, the Golden Plow award, to U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe, R-OK, during ceremonies following dinner Feb. 15.

Each year AFBF honors one member of the Senate and one member of the House with the Golden Plow award. The award is based on the lawmaker's strong voting record for agriculture and Farm Bureau issues. This year Inhofe is the only lawmaker receiving the award.

"With over 6 million members, the American Farm Bureau is the world's largest farm organization, and we are extremely proud our very own Sen. Inhofe is receiving the award," Mike Spradling, OFB president, said.

The leadership conference will kick off with greetings from Spradling. Oklahoma State University President Burns Hargis has been invited to address the group at 1:45 p.m. The OSU president's presentation will be followed by a panel of state legislators focusing on State Question 744, often referred to as the HOPE Initiative, which would bring Oklahoma's state educational funding up to the level of surrounding states. The panel includes state Rep. Leslie Osborn and Mark Tygert, deputy director for the Fiscal Division of the House of Representatives. Also invited to join the panel is Brian Downs, Oklahomans for Responsible Government.

In addition to Inhofe's award Feb. 15, OFB will honor state legislators with the organization's Meritorious Service awards. These awards are based on the lawmaker's support of agriculture and Farm Bureau issues.

The schedule for Feb. 16 features a panel of state agriculture legislative leaders. That panel includes Sen. Ron Justice, Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman; Rep. Dale DeWitt, Natural Resources Committee Chairman; Rep Don Armes, House Agriculture Committee Chairman; and Rep. Steve Kouplen, House Agriculture Committee member and former OFB president.

State Treasurer Scott Meachum follows the panel with an overview of the state budget.

The conference concludes with an open forum where participants are invited to discuss issues important to them and their rural communities.

"This conference is packed with information valuable to our members," Spradling said. "There are not many meetings where you get this caliber of state and national leaders together in one room at the same time."

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