For AFR/OFU Leader, 2020 Was a Year to Make Lemonade Out of LemonsMon, 21 Dec 2020 10:45:24 CST
For Scott Blubaugh and the farm organization he leads, 2020 has been a year of making lemonade out of lemons.
Blubaugh is president of AFR/OFU and was recently interviewed by Radio Oklahoma Agriculture Network Associate Farm Director and Editor KC Sheperd.
I am really glad 2020 is about over, Blubaugh said.
After a good start, Blubaugh said things turned sour quickly but they were able to adapt.
One of the good things that occurred when a lot of the grocery shelves were bare in the spring and consumers didn't know why, Blubaugh said, we had a chance to educate them.
They didn't understand where their food came from so it really brought a lot of awareness, he said.
They value farmers a little more now and won't take for granted that food will always be on the shelves, Blubaugh said.
The Tonkawa, Okla., rancher said market disruptions have created a lot of stress in the country, which led the farm group to organize a farm stress network of trained volunteers to work with farmers suffering from stress.
That was one of our highlights of the year, he said of the network.
The farm group was successful in getting the state legislature to pass the Oklahoma Certified Beef Act, which became law Nov. 1.
What that law did was establish a definition of Oklahoma certified beef as any bovine product "bred, born, raised and slaughtered" within the state of Oklahoma.
We have formed the Oklahoma Certified Beef Association that we plan to kick off in January, he said.
Consumers want to know where their food comes and this helps with that, Blubaugh said.
This is also an economic driver for local communities, he added.
It's been a challenge this year to communicate with our members in the traditional ways, so we have had to be good with social media in getting our message out, Blubaugh said.
Another pitcher of lemonade was made when the farm group had to cancel their very successful traditional youth speech contest held every fall.
We had to cancel our speech contest and other events, but we were able to put together a video series developed by professional speakers and share them with 4-H, FFA and others instead of having the contest, he said.
The videos, called "The Art of Mastering Public Speaking," focus on how to write and give a speech and has been distributed nationwide, he said.
There is even a section on how to be a speech contest judge, he said.
We've just been able to make lemonade out of lemons all year, he added.
Click on the listen bar below to hear more of KC's interview with Scott Blubaugh.
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