OCA's Michael Kelsey Reflects on Where Oklahoma's Cattle Industry Has Been and Where It's GoingTue, 19 Dec 2017 16:29:59 CST
Radio Oklahoma Ag Network Farm Director Ron Hays caught up with Oklahoma Cattlemen's Association Executive Vice President Michael Kelsey recently to reflect on this past year regarding the cattle industry. He admits that while 2017 has presented its share of challenges, there have also been some bright spots and silver linings that have emphasized what the association's priorities should focus on in the coming year. You can listen to their complete conversation by clicking or tapping the LISTEN BAR below at the bottom of the page.
"2017 - Wow! What an eventful year," Kelsey exclaimed looking back. "There were some positives and some negatives."
Kelsey recalled the devastation left behind in northwest Oklahoma after wildfires burned across our state and neighbors. But from that catastrophe, Kelsey says a good early start to the year helped the grass return sooner than most would have though and the country banded together to get those affected back on their feet.
"The Foundation was able to distribute almost $1.3 million to affected individuals out that way," he reported, adding that recovery efforts are still being made to rebuild fence lines as the pressure of drought begins to creep back into the minds of Oklahomans. "We're actually probably in a worse situation for wildfire now than we were last year. That's going to be something in 2018 we're going to want to watch real closely and be ready to step in God forbid if we do see something."
In addition, Kelsey says the legislative session this year which has yielded two separate special sessions has left a lot of questions unanswered for rural Oklahoma and the agriculture industry. In 2018, he says the OCA will be monitoring the regular legislative session as it progresses to ensure that those issues important to cattlemen will be protected.
"We'll be watching closely to preserve the things that are important to us such as our ag sales tax exemption," he said. "We're going to be looking at some of those types of issues regarding revenue, cost cutting and how it affects our cattlemen - and then what position OCA should take on."
One highlight, too, from this year is the lessons learned from the OCA's attempt to pass a state checkoff referendum. Although the motion failed, Kelsey says it presents the association and its leadership an opportunity to learn from producers in what ways the organization can better serve them.
"The checkoff was a huge issue for us this past year," Kelsey said. "Obviously, we would have liked to have seen a positive outcome on the vote. But at the same time, we honor what producers in the state said and we've tried to understand from them what they need and want to see a program like that happen."
Kelsey can't say whether or not the OCA will attempt to pass another referendum to institute a state checkoff anytime soon, leaving that decision up to the OCA's leadership. But he says current OCA policy certainly favors a state checkoff program.
Listen to Kelsey and Hays talk more about the big issues and events from this past year and the priorities for 2018 that have risen from it, by clicking or tapping the LISTEN BAR below.
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