OCA Getting in Front of Producers to Talk About State Beef Checkoff and State Question 777Tue, 19 Jan 2016 17:22:45 CST
Petitions are being distributed throughout Oklahoma for cattle producers to vote on a secondary beef checkoff. The signature drive has reached the halfway point in gathering the 5,000 signatures. Oklahoma Cattlemen’s Association (OCA) Executive Vice President Michael Kelsey said they have seen overwhelming acceptance when they have had the opportunity to put it in front of producers, but that has been a challenge. Ag producers are busy, so he said they are developing strategies to meet cattle producers where they are. OCA is looking at communicating with producers at places like feed stores and veterinary offices.
Beef producers still have an opportunity to sign the petition. The petition is available through the OCA website, plus it was published in the “Cowman” publication the last two months. Beef producers are encouraged to sign the petition and mail it to the OCA office. OCA wants to collect 5,000 signatures in the near future in order to have the referendum later on this year. At that point, Oklahoma cattle producers will get the opportunity to vote on the referendum.
OCA is also educating the public about State Question 777. This is known as the “Right to Farm” Constitutional Amendment that will be voted on by Oklahomans in November 2016. Kelsey said the constitutional amendment is vitally important to Oklahoma agriculture and consumers as well. In traveling the state, he has seen overwhelming acceptance from citizens, especially in the rural areas. He said all of the state’s agricultural organizations are working together and standing united.
Opposition to the “Right to Farm” has started to emerge with the formation of the Oklahoma Stewardship Council. Kelsey said this is really an out-of-state group that is coming in and trying to influence. He thinks that bolters the “Vote Yes” campaign, because he thinks citizens want Oklahoma farmers and ranchers to be producing their food and citizens don’t want to see out-of-state entities influence food choices in the grocery store.
The state’s agricultural producers need to continue to share the message and financially support the “Vote Yes” campaign. That’s going to be a challenge because of the economy in general, plus lower cattle prices have also hurt the state’s agricultural sector. Even with the tough economic times, Kelsey thinks the state’s agricultural producers will get behind the effort, because of what this constitutional amendment will mean to the future of agriculture in Oklahoma. Whether people donate $20 or $1,000, he said financial support for State Question 777 is very important.
“It’s vitally important we get this done,” Kelsey said. “I’m optimistic, we’re going to work hard and we are going to keep pushing forward til November.”
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