OCA Members Stress Need For Less Government InvolvementWed, 27 Jan 2021 14:46:58 CST
In reviewing the more than 3,100 bills filed so far by Oklahoma lawmakers prior to the session opening Feb. 1, Oklahoma cattle producers let it be known they want very little if any government involvement in their business, said Michael Kelsey, executive director of the Oklahoma Cattlemenís Association.
Kelsey spoke with Radio Oklahoma Ag Network Farm Director Ron Hays following the conclusion of OCAís winter policy development conference this week.
Our tracking system has flagged about 1,100 of the 3,100 bills filed so far that would be of interest to our members, Kelsey said.
Among the key issues having direct impact on beef producers is the ad valorem tax issue for cities and municipalities that is starting from where legislators left off at the end of last yearís session.
The proposal includes the 60 percent threshold, agriculture land and personal ag properties such as cattle and trailers are all exempt.
So, we are staying neutral right now, Kelsey said.
The political environment for this one will be interesting as the state needs money, Kelsey said.
There are several bills dealing with the initiative petition process.
I would encourage folks to look at other states, such as California, that have advanced protocols and laws that restrict production agriculture, Kelsey said.
Should the government enact laws that restrict that, he stated.
Our petition process in Oklahoma exposes us to special interest groups using an emotional message to get a voter to restrict agriculture, he said.
State Rep. John Pfeiffer has a bill that basically treats it as an electoral type process that would dictate getting the petitions from all congressional districts in the state rather than a popular vote.
This is a big issue important to agriculture, Kelsey said.
Government school lands and the wildlife department owning more land received OCA membership attention during the winter meeting.
Our membership said we need to approach these in two separate policies, Kelsey said.
They discussed removing the minimum bid process on school lands and let the market dictate how the land should be allocated from a rent or lease basis, Kelsey said.
OCA members said the wildlife department should not own more land as members are running into problems with poor management of department land adjacent to their land.
Our folks just donít like government owning land, Kelsey said.
The Oklahoma Constitution allows for state owned land but there are ways to honor that and still move forward together, he said.
Marketing issues also drew attention during the winter meeting.
Our membership is still very concerned and interested in how live cattle are marketed, Kelsey said.
We renewed some policies affirming our need to stay engaged as our membership is very interested in a competitive market environment, Kelsey said.
With all the talk about expanding small and medium sized packing plant capacity, we need to measure how that impacts the marketing of live cattle, he said.
OCA members also renewed a new strategic plan that gives direction as an association and were updated on the new Oklahoma Prairie Beef Solutions program.
We still have a goal of wanting to roll out a branded beef package on May first, Kelsey said.
Click on the listen bar below to hear more of Ronís interview with Michael Kelsey.
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