American Farmers and Ranchers/Oklahoma Farmers Union Relect Paul Jackson as State Secretary- Plus Three Board Seats at 2020 ConventionSun, 16 Feb 2020 15:06:40 CST
American Farmers & Ranchers/Oklahoma Farmers Union (AFR/OFU) hosted the organization’s 115th annual state convention at the Embassy Suites & Conference Center – Norman Feb. 14-16. The event features educational speakers and entertainment, the annual business meeting of Oklahoma Farmers Union and American Farmers & Ranchers Mutual Insurance Company, discussion and adoption of AFR/OFU legislative policy and officer elections. This year’s convention theme is “Focused in 2020.”
“This year’s convention theme speaks to our biggest goal for the new year and for the new decade,” said AFR/OFU Cooperative President Scott Blubaugh. “We intend to build on our strong foundation and focus our efforts on the future.”
This year, member delegates voted on three contested seats on the AFR/OFU Board of Directors—Northwest Independent Director District 1, Southeast Independent Director District 4 and Northeast Agent Director District 3. In addition, AFR/OFU Secretary Paul Jackson, Ringling, ran unopposed and will retain his current position for a three-year term.
In the race for Northwest Independent Director District 1, incumbent Terry Peach, Mutual, was challenged by Eric Bilderback, El Reno. Peach won the race and will retain his seat for another three-year term.
Peach has been an AFR/OFU member since 1998. He has served as the Oklahoma Secretary and Commissioner of Agriculture and as the USDA Farm Service Agency State Executive Director. He has also served as president of the Southern U.S. Trade Association. He is currently focused solely on farming and ranching; he is the third generation to operate his family’s 1898 homestead.
The Southeast Independent Director District 4 seat did not have an incumbent—AFR/OFU Director Bob Holley retired this year, choosing not to seek an additional term. In that race, former AFR/OFU Director Billy Perrin, McAlester, was defeated by newcomer Mike Goodwin, Roberta.
Goodwin has been an AFR/OFU member since 1988. He has a lengthy career as an educator, including stints as a high school instructor, a superintendent, and a Career Tech administrator. He was twice named the Bryan County Administrator of the Year. He also served in the U.S. Army Reserves for 36 years. He is a lifelong resident of Bryan County.
The race for the Northeast Agent Director District 3 was hotly contested with four candidates vying for the seat—Garrett Barnett, Tulsa, incumbent; John Ogden, Oktaha; Johnie Brown, Sapulpa; and Carl “Bud” Hembree, Haskell. John Ogden won the seat and will begin a three-year term.
Ogden, a rancher from Muskogee County, has been involved in AFR/OFU leadership previously, including serving as an AFR/OFU Director most recently from 2001-2011. He has been owner/agent of the Ogden Insurance Agency in Muskogee since 1976 and has served as a Muskogee County AFR/OFU board member for 43 years. He has also served on the Governor’s Task Force for Small Businesses.
In addition to voting in director and officer elections, 2020 AFR/OFU State Convention attendees learned about controversial legislative issues and environmental topics, connected with the next generation of AFR/OFU members during the youth program, learned about the 2020 AFR/OFU Women’s Cooperative initiative and much more.
The three-day event featured presenters such as National Farmers Union Senior Vice President of Public Policy & Communications Rob Larew, Radio Oklahoma Network Director of Farm and Ranch Programming Ron Hays, Oklahoma Beef Council Executive Director Heather Buckmaster, and OSU DASNR Vice President and Dean Thomas Coon. Clay Pope and Steve Pope also led a conservation breakout about soil health.
This year’s convention banquet was one to be remembered. Governor Kevin Stitt was a featured speaker with an update on current affairs in Oklahoma. The banquet also featured the lively music of the Kristyn Harris Trio and a presentation of the Oklahoma Farmers Union Meritorious Service Award to Pete McDaniel, Apache.
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