OFB President Buchanan Believes a Better Year is Ahead for Oklahoma AgricultureThu, 04 Dec 2014 19:04:15 CST
Oklahoma Farm Bureau had a great 2014 and the grass roots organization is looking forward to an even better 2015. President Tom Buchanan said this past year the organization had several mile stones in growing membership and having a successful session at the state legislature in addressing private property rights and taxes.
Not everything was rosy in 2014 as the drought continued to impact agricultural producers this year. Western Oklahoma's cattle producers continue to see the residual impact of the drought. Buchanan said region's cattle numbers are still down significantly from what they were predrought. Because of the slow process in rebuilding the state's cattle numbers, he said there is a bright spot in that the beef market has reached record levels.
The drought is a very personal subject for Buchanan as sees the effects of the drought first hand on his farm in southwest Oklahoma. The region sets new records everyday in terms of drought impacts. As a irrigated cotton farmer the drought has been devastating and this year was the fourth consecutive year Buchanan has not been able to produce a cotton crop.
"Which has never been seen before in our part of the world," Buchanan said. "So the drought is really just bearing its teeth and getting ugly, ugly, ugly in southwest Oklahoma."
Radio Oklahoma Network Farm Director Ron Hays interviewed President Tom Buchanan about the past year and the outlook for 2015. Click or tap on the LISTEN BAR below to listen to the full interview.
In looking at the upcoming legislative session, Buchanan said Oklahoma Farm Bureau will continue to push private property rights and for a friendly environment for agriculture in rural Oklahoma. This year members also decided the organization needed a committee to evaluate its policy on water and wind development. He anticipates some new defined policy will be developed by members. He said wind energy development in the state is a top priority for the ag organization.
"We want to be involved in how that development takes place," Buchanan said. "Again take care of that land owner and make sure this new energy source is developed in the right way, in the right place, at the right time, so that our members benefit."
With the drop in energy prices that looks to impact the state's budget and future state policy. In the next legislative session, Buchanan said OFB will be promoting the strength and consistency of the state's agricultural sector in terms of economic impact.
"If energy is going to falter a little bit, agriculture will sure do her share to pick up the slack from that stand point," Buchanan said. "But even with the drought going on and commodities depressed a little bit, agriculture will stand up and do what we can to try to help fill the hole, but it will be tight year it looks like across the board for all legislative issues that come before us."
In looking back as his first year as OFB's President, Buchanan said he learned several lessons like recognizing just how diverse Oklahoma agriculture is. He said until you travel to all 77 counties across all corners of the state you just don't realize how diverse the state is in having 12 distinct eco regions. That creates an ideal environment for a diverse agricultural economy. Further he has seen first hand how OFB's membership is evolving. While the average age of a Oklahoma farmer is 58, he is seeing many younger farmers and ranchers getting involved in production agriculture, embracing technology and new innovations.
"I look for Oklahoma agriculture to really excel into the future and start to lead not only Oklahoma but will start to lead the nation in some of the things that we see," Buchanan said. "When I represent Oklahoma Farm Bureau and its members on a national basis, I can just validate that for you and tell you our young producers are the ones out there in front that are doing things that other states aren't doing and Oklahoma appears to be the leader when it comes to not only just the central part of the nation, but I believe across the nation."
Ron Hays will be joined by Buchanan on the "In the Field" segment Saturday morning at 6:40 on KWTV News9 in Oklahoma City.
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