OKLAHOMA CITY—Following a year of unique challenges for the agriculture sector, American Farmers & Ranchers/Oklahoma Farmers Union (AFR/OFU) brought rural issues to the Oklahoma Capitol Building May 5. Nearly 100 AFR/OFU members from across Oklahoma convened to discuss agriculture and rural issues and meet directly with state lawmakers.
“Because last year brought unprecedented circumstances to our legislative landscape, we knew AFR/OFU members would have both new and returning issues they needed to discuss with members of the Oklahoma Legislature,” said AFR/OFU President Scott Blubaugh.
AFR/OFU members lobbied on behalf of all rural Oklahoma, with a particular emphasis on state agriculture tax exemption eligibility, increased funding for additional state meat inspectors and prevention of foreign ownership in the medical marijuana sector. Most importantly, each AFR/OFU member was encouraged to talk with their representative about the issues most important to their farm, their family and their community.
“As an organization, we strive to educate rural Oklahomans on policy issues and encourage them to get involved in the legislative process,” said Blubaugh. “Our legislative program is truly grassroots. We connect AFR/OFU members directly with their representatives and help them fight for the issues that are most important to them.”
The 2021 AFR Day at the Capitol included a legislative panel discussion featuring Chairman of the House Ag Committee Dell Kerbs (R-Shawnee), Sen. Darcy Jech (R-Kingfisher), and Rep. Ty Burns (R-Morrison). Attendees also heard an update on tribal jurisdiction from Ryan Leonard, Special Counsel for Native American Affairs for Gov. Kevin Stitt. AFR/OFU Cooperative Lobbyist Bray Haven also provided tips on effective communication with lawmakers.