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Farm Bureau members show support for key issues at annual conventions


Voting delegates at the 68th annual meeting of the Oklahoma Farm Bureau voiced strong support for a statewide water plan, a farm tire recycling program and equine dentistry. The meeting was held at the Cox Convention Center, Oklahoma City, Nov. 6 to 8.

"This was a great example of grassroots policy development," said Mike Spradling, OFB president. "The fingerprints of our members are all over the policy book, starting with county meetings and ending here at the state convention."

Delegates passed a resolution stating "Equine dentists, chiropractors and farriers are trained professionals who provide essential services to the horse industry. They should be recognized as such and allowed to continue to practice."

In a move to deal with growing piles of used farm tires, the group said, "Producers who choose to leave their used tires at the business where they purchased the new tires should pay a reasonable fee to have the used tires become part of the Waste Tire Management Fund. This should be a voluntary program."

Voting delegates stated they support a statewide water plan emphasizing water quality and quantity be protected along with private property rights.

The delegates reaffirmed their desire to make the agriculture sales tax exemption a priority issue in the 2010 legislative session.

The federal climate change legislation attracted attention as convention participants signed dozens of farm caps in a grassroots campaign voicing dissatisfaction with the proposed bill. The caps will be sent to Congress later this year as part of a nationwide effort to stop the bill.

Convention participants heard from Oklahoma Congressman Frank Lucas and Senator Jim Inhofe via video link from Washington, D.C. Both lawmakers addressed the climate change bill and health care reform legislation as did Mary Kay Thatcher, American Farm Bureau's director of the agriculture policy team.

"Our biggest concern with the climate change bill is the fact that farmers will suffer higher input costs and food prices will go up," Thatcher said.

In other delegate action, Spradling was re-elected to serve a two-year term as president of the state's largest farm organization. The Sand Springs farmer and rancher noted his appreciation for the member's support.

"I am humbled by this group's confidence in my ability to lead them for another two years," Spradling said. "I have a tremendous amount of respect for this organization and look forward to working for them at every opportunity."

Also re-elected were OFB Board of Directors Larry Boggs, Tom Buchanan and Billy Gibson. Boggs, a Wilburton rancher, represents Farm Bureau's fifth district. Buchanan, Altus, represents the second district, and Gibson, Ada, represents district eight.

Will and Jennifer Cubbage, Bartlesville, were chosen to lead OFB's Young Farmers and Ranchers committee in 2010.

Joe and Mary Jo Peeper, Enid, were named the Farm Bureau Farm Family of the Year. Jon and Natalie Leeds, Webbers Falls, won the Young Farmers and Ranchers Achievement award.

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