Oklahoma Farm Bureau President Sees Things Heating Up at Home and in WashingtonFri, 03 Aug 2012 18:22:21 CDT
There is a multitude of issues facing Oklahoma farmers and ranchers on the local and national levels. The drought, of course, is front and center currently, but Mike Spradling, president of the Oklahoma Farm Bureau, tells Ron Hays in a recent interview that there are other issues of importance to his members as well.
“I guess you could say things are not only heating up here, but they’re heating up in D.C. as well. We’re very disappointed, of course, the American Farm Bureau and the Oklahoma Farm Bureau. We want to see a farm bill this year. Whether that’s going to happen is still up in the air.”
He says livestock producers are breathing just a little easier following the passage of the livestock disaster relief bill in the House, but their relief may prove to be short lived.
“It’s admirable of Congressman Lucas to have some sort of solution for the drought assistance for our farmers and ranchers here in the state of Oklahoma, but some of that certainly may be to no avail. Because if we know the Senate’s not going to address it, that exercise may have been all in vain.”
Spradling says his organization is a little frustrated with the reluctance in Congress to, once and for all, take up the farm bill.
“Solving this by a patch here and a patch there is not really going to get us where we need to go. Most of the things we are trying to patch with are already included in the farm bill, so let’s just go ahead and address it and get it over with.”
He says he is hopeful Congress will take up the farm bill once it comes back from their summer recess. He said there are other issues of great concern to farmers and ranchers like the death tax. It is set to kick in again at the end of the year, and the Farm Bureau is four-square against it.
“We’re going to hold our position. You know, there’s been some compromise on the tax issue, but we’re still calling for complete repeal. That needs to happen and we’re going to hang in there.”
Spradling says both the state and national Farm Bureau organizations are working on a strategic plan to carry the organization into its second 100 years. The group will be 100 years old in 2019. Spradling says they are trying to understand how to position the Farm Bureau to serve the needs of the coming generations.
He also said the Oklahoma Farm Bureau has started its annual series of grassroots meetings to find out what’s on members’ minds in preparation for the coming year.
“We had a very positive year last year through the legislative process. And that’s really why we do have such a good success ratio because of the grassroots involvement. Our issues come, really, from the ground up.”
He says there are a number of issues on members’ minds, but there is one issue in particular that is getting a lot of attention so far-water. He said his group is closely following the Oklahoma Comprehensive Water Plan process.
Spradling joins Ron Hays on “In the Field” Saturday morning on News 9 about 6:40.
Click on the LISTEN BAR below to hear more from Ron Hays and Mike Spradling.
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