Michael Kelsey with OCA is Upbeat on Eventually Getting Vetoed Checkoff Bill Signed- Video AddedSat, 17 May 2014 13:10:06 CDT
In the final days of the 2014 Oklahoma State Legislative session, Oklahoma Cattlemen's Association Executive Vice President Michael Kelsey says it's been a tough several months. Farm Director Ron Hays talked with Kelsey on Friday about the session and his full conversation with him about the session as well as federal issues like the Waters of the US proposal of the EPA can be heard by clicking on the LISTEN BAR below.
Michael Kelsey also appeared on Saturday's "In the Field" segment with Ron Hays on News 9- you can watch that video segment by clicking on the PLAY button in the video box below.
News9.com - Oklahoma City, OK - News, Weather, Video and Sports |
"We've had a good session in the sense of, its been a great opportunity for me personally to get to know the legislature," Kelsey said.
In coming in new to OCA, Kelsey feels it has been important to take time to get to know everyone, because it's been all based relationships.
There have been several key legislative issues that OCA has been working on. The biggest one is the checkoff bill.
"This is a general commodity checkoff, which is not specific to beef," Kelsey said. "We were successful with working with LMA, which was a great partner".
Kelsey said the Livestock Marketing Association worked with OCA to draft some of the key language in the bill.
"We moved the House and Senate and got the bill to the governor's desk and the governor vetoed it," Kelsey said. "But I think gave us an opportunity to step back and even work with the governor to refine the bill".
"I'm not sure we're going to get it done this session, in terms of rerunning it if you will, but I think its an opportunity for us to look ahead even," Kelsey said.
"The key thing about this bill and what we wanted was an opportunity for producers to self determine," Kelsey said. "The bill didn't create a checkoff, what the bill did is create a process to create the check off, which in our mind, is what producers want".
This would piggy back on top of the federal checkoff that is currently in place for the beef industry. Other states like Texas are also seeing a similar proposal.
"A few key provisions this one has that the federal doesn't, the biggest one is the refund," Kelsey said. "If a producer decided they would like that dollar back or whatever that assessment is or whatever it may be, they could request and get that back".
"We would have to have a petition, 10 percent of producers, which would then trigger a referendum, if the petition was successful," Kelsey said.
"The one thing that I have heard from OCA members more than anything else, is we want the opportunity to decide for ourselves and that's what this bill does and will do, when or if this bill passes this session or next session," Kelsey said.
Another key bill is the "Right to Farm" legislation, which doesn't look like it will make it to the ballot this fall. Kelsey said while the bill had overwhelming votes in the House and Senate, the bill just got bogged down in the session. But he believes there is still positive momentum in moving the bill forward.
"I think agriculturally in Oklahoma we pulled together again, that we saw even last session, Kelsey said. "We did it again this session and I think that as a trend moving forward that agriculture in Oklahoma is going to continue to working together and this is a great example of that".
Federally, OCA is watching a proposed rule over "Waters of the US" from the Environmental Protection Agency and the Army Crops of Engineers. Kelsey says in visiting with Ashley McDonald, Environmental Counsel for the National Cattlemen's Beef Association, this is major issue for agriculture.
"The negativity of this issue, it terms of the ability, the expansion of jurisdiction by the federal government, specifically EPA," Kelsey said. "If you read the language it just really almost anything that contributes to a navigable water would then be taken in by jurisdiction".
Kelsey says this could even be the bar ditch and so forth, as the rule leaves a lot up to interpretation.
OCA doesn't like the rule and they will work with partners in other states and NCBA to fight back against this rule. Producers are also being encouraged to submit their comments through regulations dot gov.
"Look the rule up, you can find it pretty easy and put your comments in," Kelsey said. "This is a very important rule that EPA and the federal government need to hear from the countryside on this one".
Summer activities for OCA begin with the Oklahoma Junior Cattlemen's Association Summer Preview Show June 5 - 7, 2014 at the Grady County Fairgrounds in Chickasha.
In June OCA will sponsor their Summer Ranch Tour in western Oklahoma June 22 - 24th.
The end of July will be 62nd OCA Annual Convention and Trade Show. The convention will be held July 24 - 26 in Midwest City, OK at the Reed Center.
"We're going to talk about water, we going to talk about wind, which has been a big issue this legislative session, we're also going to talk about brand," Kelsey said.
Kelsey says he has heard from a lot of producers in regards to what have other states done regarding brand inspection to curb cattle theft.
"We will have around the coffee pot session and talk about those kind of issues," Kelsey said.
Click here for more information about the Oklahoma Cattlemen's Association.
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