Farm Bureau delegates maintain strong support for property rights
Voting delegates at the 71st annual Oklahoma Farm Bureau convention reaffirmed their position on protecting private property rights for the state's landowners. The annual meeting was held at the Cox Convention Center, Oklahoma City, Nov. 9 to 11.
"Protecting private property rights has always been a priority issue for us," said Mike Spradling, OFB president. "Property rights are the foundation for keeping Oklahoma agriculture strong."
Delegates also voted to support voluntary regional planning groups that are non-regulatory in regards to the statewide water plan.
"We are going to continue to work with legislators on this in 2013 as we recognize water is an important issue for Oklahoma residents," Spradling said.
The farm group voiced concern over increased government environmental regulations, increased taxes and the lack of a new farm bill.
"We've been saying for months now that farmers and ranchers need a new farm bill," Spradling said. "Now that the elections are over, we hope Congress will take quick action on the bill. Pushing the bill into 2013 could prove costly for agriculture as the new Congress will have different budget numbers to work with."
However, Mary Kay Thatcher, senior director of Congressional relations, American Farm Bureau, told the group she is pessimistic the lame duck congress will pass a new farm bill.
"I think it's going to be an uphill battle," Thatcher said. "The farm bill has to compete with other issues such as the expiring tax provision and Medicare doctor fix."
In other delegate action, resolutions were passed supporting a $2.5 million emergency agricultural fund to be used for wildfires and other natural disasters; penalties should be increased for livestock theft; support for increased public education on animal agriculture production practices; more aggressive control measures for feral hogs; strengthen trespassing laws; and continued support for farm sales tax exemptions.
Pottawatomie County farmer John Grundmann, Shawnee, was elected to represent District 8 on the OFB Board of Directors.
Mason Bolay, Tahlequah, was elected to lead OFB's Young Farmers and Ranchers Committee in 2013. Adam and Nicole Martens, Fairview, were selected as the YF&R Achievement Award winner.
Richard and Cecelia Castle, Jet, were named OFB's Farm Family of the Year; Steve and Mindi Clark, Byron, were named winners of the YF&R Excellence in Agriculture Award; Gerald Turner, Pawnee, received the Lifetime Legacy Award; and Clint Wilcox, Fairview, won the YF&R discussion meet.
Clara Wichert, Fairview, received the Distinguished Service award.