Oklahoma Farm Bureau President Rodd Moesel Excited about Rural Economic Development, and Upcoming August Area MeetingsFri, 05 Aug 2022 14:38:27 CDT
Farm Director, KC Sheperd, sat down with President of the Oklahoma Farm Bureau, Rodd Moesel, at the Women in Agriculture Conference in Oklahoma City and talked about the latest matters concerning OKFB.
“The women in our leadership teams these days, staff-wise, outnumber the men,” Moesel said. “Just so much talent and they bring so much to the table.”
In his personal life, Moesel said his grandmother was a major dairy leader and his mom was a great horticulture leader. Throughout his life, the majority of people he has worked with in his business in horticulture have been women.
“I am used to being around a lot of strong women and I am a big believer in all they have to bring to the table for agriculture,” Moesel said.
Moesel talked about the newest addition to the Oklahoma Farm Bureau, Megan Fanning, who will be working in rural development.
“We are especially excited because she decided to come back to agriculture based on attending this conference last year,” Moesel said. “We were hunting for someone to do rural economic development and so Megan Fanning and Farm Bureau got matched up and since then, we have been raising money to try to start this new rural investment fund and have just landed a five-million-dollar match from the state.”
Over the next few months, Moesel said OKFB will be working with places such as Vo-tech, small business development centers and the food processing center at OSU to identify new business prospects so that we can start making some investments to hopefully grow jobs in rural Oklahoma outside of the Oklahoma City and Tulsa metro areas.
“The population has continued to move towards the urban centers and that is not just an Oklahoma problem, that is a national issue and it’s not a new problem,” Moesel said. “It has been going on for a number of census cycles now so for many decades, but it is going to continue that way unless we start building up some infrastructure and building up some jobs in rural Oklahoma to keep folks at home in rural Oklahoma.
Moesel said although OKFB cannot fix the issue with rising populations in urban areas all at once, they plan to start sewing some seeds and getting examples out there to start turning it around in rural Oklahoma and start growing again.
Moesel also talked about the youth events the Oklahoma Farm Bureau played a part in this summer.
“Reporters conference started last year for the first time and we had to turn people away because we had more people than what they would let us in with the COVID restrictions, so we had to cap it at I think 70 last year at Redlands,” Moesel said. “This year, again, had a tremendous turnout and thankfully folks in the media pitched in and helped out. We are trying to help reporters have the tools they need to tell the stories to their local media and around the state, and so we are really thrilled about that new concept.”
Moesel said this year was the inaugural effort for a new youth leadership experience where OKFB took over the state house and the state senate chambers for a couple of days and gave 4-H and FFA kids from around the state the opportunity to act like state representatives and state senators. The students were able to pass bills, he added, and meet state leaders.
“Hopefully we will get a bunch of them excited about public policy,” Moesel said.
With the OKFB August area meetings coming up, Moesel said people need to look at the schedule and see when a meeting will be coming up in their area.
“We encourage everybody to check out the schedule for the area meeting in their area over the next two weeks,” Moesel said. “We will be in all areas of the state. This is when we will begin the grassroots process in Farm Bureau to find out what issues are hot and heavy on people’s minds, and we fill them in on what all we got going on at Farm Bureau.
The biggest goal of the area meetings, Moesel said, is to hear back from people on what they think the big issues are that OKFB needs to be paying attention to at the state house and at the federal capitol.
“We are blessed with so many amazing Farm Bureau members and it is great that we have such a mix these days of older experienced, established farm bureau leaders and we are blessed to have an influx of new younger leaders over the past few years,” Moesel said. “So, that is just really exciting to see so many young leaders in our women’s leadership team, our Young Farmers and Ranchers, and in our regular farm bureau activities.”
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