American Farmers and Ranchers Set Policy, Elect Board Members and More at 109th Annual MeetingSun, 23 Feb 2014 21:05:57 CST
American Farmers & Ranchers/Oklahoma Farmers Union (AFR/OFU) wrapped up the organization's 109th annual state convention at the Embassy Suites & Conference Center in Norman on Saturday evening. The event featured educational speakers and entertainment, the annual business meeting of Oklahoma Farmers Union and AFR Mutual Insurance Company, discussion and adoption of AFR/OFU legislative policy and officer elections. This year's convention theme was "Go, Gather, Grow."
"This year's convention theme represents who we are as a company and as an organization," said AFR/OFU President Terry Detrick. "We are a forward-looking organization that focuses on our team work, service to others and responsibility to the future." As the Convention concluded on Saturday night, Detrick talked with Radio Oklahoma Ag Network Farm Director Ron Hays- listen to their conversation by clicking on the LISTEN BAR at the bottom of this story.
This year, the membership voted on three contested seats on the AFR/OFU Board of Directors Northwest District Seat #1, Southeast District Seat #4 and At-large Seat #2.
In the race for the northwest district, incumbent Eric Bilderback, El Reno, was challenged by former Oklahoma Secretary of Agriculture Terry Peach, Mutual. Peach won the race for the northwest district and will begin his first three-year term as an AFR/OFU director.
In the race for the southeast district, incumbent Bob Holley, Nelson, was challenged by Lundy Kirk Kiger, Poteau. Holley won the race for the southeast district and will begin his second three-year term as an AFR/OFU director.
In the race for the at-large seat, incumbent Justin Cowan, Locust Grove, was challenged by Keith Swan, Nowata. Cowan won the at-large race and will begin his second three-year term as an AFR/OFU director.
In addition, AFR/OFU Secretary Paul Jackson, Ringling, ran unopposed and retains his current position for a new full three-year term.
The two-day event featured educational speakers such as NRCS State Conservationist Gary O'Neill, Deputy Secretary of Environment Tyler Powell and National Farmers Union Director of Advocacy Communications Brittany Jablonsky. Convention attendees learned about controversial legislative issues, the use of prescribed burn and other environmental topics, consumer challenges for agriculture and the U.S. food system and much more.
The convention also entertained with former Blazers coach Doug Sauter, comedian Lyndy Phillips and hometown singers Sammy Mitchell and Jenna Crispin. Convention attendees also enjoyed listening to the state winners of the annual AFR/OFU Fall Speech Contest.
"Our annual state convention is one of our favorite times of year," said Detrick. "It is a time to remember where we came from, be proud of who we are and look forward to building our future."
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