Voting delegates to the 71st annual Oklahoma Farm Bureau convention reaffirmed their position on protecting private property rights for the state’s landowners. The annual meeting Friday through Sunday in the Cox Convention Center.
“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.