AFR/OFU President Reviews 2014 Farm Bill Passage, Previews Annual ConventionThu, 30 Jan 2014 16:08:24 CST
With a vote in the Senate on the Agriculture Act of 2014 still pending, Terry Detrick, president of American Farmers and Ranchers, took some time to discuss with Radio Oklahoma Network's Ron Hays the importance of the bill's passage to his organization's members. He also talked about the upcoming AFR/OFU annual convention. (You can listen to their conversation by clicking on the LISTEN BAR at the bottom of this story. Detrick will also appear on this weekend's "In the Field" segment on News 9 about 6:40 a.m. Saturday.)
"This is very, very important. It's long overdue. We've had the extension. The extension has expired. We've got producers who are trying to plan their futures. They need to have some certainty when they go to the bank. The banks need some certainty because we operate, in large part, on borrowed capital. And it requires quite a bit of it.
"I commend Congressman Lucas. What a yeoman's job. At the times we're in now in Washington, D.C., to be able to get a bipartisan vote and to finally get it through the House of Representatives, which has kind of been the problem a lot all along- And I really commend him for the work that he has done and his staff. He has really put together a great staff, most of which are from Oklahoma by the way. And to thank him and Congressman Cole and Congressman Mullin for supporting that bill through the House."
Detrick said that the direct farm payments have been eliminated under the new bill, but there are other provisions that provide a safety net.
"With the new farm bill we do, I think, have increased protection with the crop insurance on our crops. This is very, very important: This farm bill includes livestock disaster programs to help our livestock producers and it's retroactive back to the expiration of the previous bill. That will mean a lot of money to the economy of Oklahoma."
Detrick said that Congressman Lucas not only understood and assisted Oklahomans, but farmers and ranchers nationwide.
Also on Detrick's agenda in the near future is the annual convention of the American Farmers and Ranchers/Oklahoma Farmers Union. He said they have held meetings with their members all across the state and their policy committee has worked to draw up resolutions in preparation for the convention.
"One of the big issues is always water," Detrick said. "And I have run it by our policy committee and I do not anticipate any change to our water policy which opposes selling water to Texas. We have lots of needs for that water right here within our state. That policy also states that in the event that water is ever sold, the people in the watershed from whence that water came should also share in the proceeds of that. That's a natural resource where they dwell and they should have some proceeds from that."
He said there are a number of smaller statewide issues they are watching including a push by some lawmakers to require tags on all trailers which would be a nightmare for farmers and ranchers. He said their analysis reveals the expense of titling and tagging all those vehicles would be a net loss of revenue for the state, so they oppose it.
Another issue the group opposes is a move to put FFA chapters in Oklahoma's career tech centers. He said doing so might result in the elimination of chapters in smaller school districts to the detriment of their communities.
"FFA is something that holds our communities together. It's a foundation block in our communities and we are opposed to doing anything that would encourage it to ever be separated from our public schools."
Detrick said AFR/OFU also supports increased state funding for security and storm shelters in rural schools.
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