NORMAN—American Farmers & Ranchers/Oklahoma Farmers Union (AFR/OFU) hosted the organization’s 118th annual state convention at the Embassy Suites & Conference Center – Norman Feb. 17-19. The event features educational speakers and entertainment, the annual business meeting of Oklahoma Farmers Union and American Farmers & Ranchers Mutual Insurance Company, discussion and adoption of AFR legislative policy and officer elections. This year’s convention theme was “Honor Tradition, Embrace Change.”
This year, three seats on the AFR Board of Directors—District 1 Northwest Independent Director, District 3 Northeast Agent Director and District 4 Southeast Independent Director—were up for re-election.
Roger Edenborough, Goodwell, was elected AFR District 1 Northwest Independent Director and will serve a three-year term. Edenborough graduated from Goodwell High School. He attended Oklahoma Panhandle State University and was named a partner in Edenborough and Edenborough, CPAs, in 1992. He served 19 years on the Goodwell Public Schools Board of Directors and 11 years on the Oklahoma State School Board Association, serving as OSSBA President in 2016-2017. Edenborough has served on the board of trustees for Panhandle Telephone Cooperative for 27 years and currently serves on the Goodwell Town Council. He and his wife, Shelley, have three daughters.
William Lane, Grove, was elected AFR District 3 Northeast Agent Director and will serve a three-year term. He graduated from Jay High School and attended NEO and Oklahoma State University on as part of collegiate livestock judging teams. He graduated from OSU in 1996. He was also a member of Class 10 of the Oklahoma Ag Leadership Program. Lane is a third-generation AFR Insurance agent. He began his insurance career in 1998 and currently owns an agency in Gentry, Ark. He also helps his family with their AFR Insurance agency in Langley, Okla. Lane owns a small purebred Shorthorn cattle operation, which produces nationally-successful show genetics. Lane and his wife, Jennifer, live in Grove. Together, they have five children.
Loyd Steward, Bethel Acres, was elected District 4 Southeast Independent Director and will serve a three-year term. Steward graduated from Oklahoma State University. For the past 30 years, he has owned and operated RS Lawn Services. Steward served on the Bethel School Board for 11 years. He voluntarily improves the turf on the local school’s sports complexes and also maintains a community cemetery. He’s been a longtime AFR member and has served as county president for more than 20 years. He has served on the AFR Policy Committee and attended the National Farmers Union Legislative Fly-In. Steward owns a cow/calf operation. He and his wife, Becky, have two children and five grandchildren.
In addition, AFR Cooperative Secretary Paul Jackson, Courtney, ran unopposed and will retain his current position for a three-year term.
In addition to elections, 2023 AFR State Convention attendees learned about rural economic issues, connected with the next generation of AFR members during the youth program, learned about new opportunities available through the Oklahoma Certified Beef Association and much more.
The three-day event featured presenters such as National Farmers Union (NFU) President Rob Larew, Oklahoma Speaker of the House Rep. Charles McCall, North Dakota Farmers Union President Mark Watne, Associate Economist and Regional Affairs Manager of the Federal Reserve – Oklahoma City Branch Megan Williams, Oklahoma State Statistician Troy Marshall, and Oklahoma AgCredit Chief Executive Officer Patrick Zeka.
This year’s convention banquet was one to be remembered. In addition to a lively auction to benefit the AFR Political Action Committee, the organization also honored the late Mona Lee Brock, who was instrumental in the farmer suicide hotline developed during the 1980s Farm Crisis.