AFR/OFU President Scott Blubaugh Talks About Their Just Completed Convention Which Was a Combination of In-Person And Virtual MeetingsWed, 17 Feb 2021 08:13:54 CST
American Farmers & Ranchers/Oklahoma Farmers Union (AFR/OFU) hosted their 116th annual convention at the Embassy Suites & Conference Center in Norman Feb. 12-13.
The event was virtual, with the exception of in-person adoption of AFR/OFU legislative policy and officer elections.
“This year’s event was unlike any previous convention,” said AFR/OFU Cooperative President Scott Blubaugh.
Blubaugh took time out from breaking ice and warming calves on his 6th generation northern Oklahoma farm to talk to Radio Oklahoma Agriculture Network Associate Farm Director and Editor KC Sheperd.
Most of our events were online and we were able to record those, he noted.
We were able to meet in person for voting on policies issues and officer elections and it worked out really well, Blubaugh said.
The farm group had 454 voting delegates show up, which was about half of their normal turnout, and considering the cold and Covid that was pretty good, Blubaugh said.
I am really excited to have Ryan Plemmons, Broken Bow, as our new Vice President.
They also elected new board members John Porter, Edmond, Brett Morris, Ninnekah, and Landon Jestis, Bokchito.
The farm group’s policy committee would normally spend several days in advance of the convention, meeting in person to work on the policies.
However, that was not possible this year due to Covid so they met via Zoom.
Policy issues included consolidation in agriculture, enforcement of the Packers and Stockyards Act, how the Covid epidemic has been handled, truth in labeling and broadband access.
Rural areas need high speed internet as much or more than urban areas Blubaugh said as agriculture has moved to more direct marketing to consumers online, virtual classrooms and modern equipment all require high speed internet.
The AFR/OFU president said 83 percent of the policies received a “yes” vote.
Three volunteer AFR/OFU members were honored for their work this past year in helping others deal with farm stress.
Brent Brewer, Terrell Coffey and Rick Shelby comprised the OFU/AFR Farm Stress Management Team.
These guys are our first responders when we have fellow producers in a crisis situation, Blubaugh said.
The past 12 months have been extremely difficult for everyone, especially farmers, and these guys have really helped others handle the stress, Blubaugh said.
They went through special training last March sponsored by National Farmers Union.
The AFR/OFU leader is looking forward to a more positive 2021, starting with the largest youth livestock show in the country.
Hopefully this year the OYE event will be somewhat more normal, he said.
I am always optimistic things will be okay, as there are always plenty of challenges, Blubaugh said.
You can click on the listen bar below to hear more of KC’s interview with Scott Blubaugh.
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