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Agricultural News


AFR Delegation Participating in the 2022 NFU Fall Legislative Fly-In- Day One

Wed, 14 Sep 2022 04:12:04 CDT

AFR Delegation Participating in the 2022 NFU Fall Legislative Fly-In- Day One American Farmers & Ranchers (AFR) Cooperative delegates had a full and successful first full day of the 2022 National Farmers Union (NFU) Fall Legislative Fly-In Sept. 12.

USDA Administration Briefing

In a warm welcome to this year’s fly-in, the Oklahoma delegation joined Farmers Union attendees from across the nation at the USDA Jefferson Auditorium. The NFU Legislative Fly-In group of 250 people is the largest to gather in Jefferson Auditorium since the beginning of the Coronavirus pandemic.
U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack took top billing at the USDA Administration briefing. His remarks focused on the revitalization and building of local and regional food systems in the United States and the development and implementation of climate-smart practices.

Vilsack spoke at length about the differences between an extraction economy and a circular economy and his vision of how rural local economies can revitalize in the years to come. Following an update on the direction of USDA programs, Vilsack revisited the revitalization of rural America. He disclosed his vision for circular rural economies that provide flexible market opportunities for farmers and ranchers. Ultimately, he hopes that farming can once again be seen as a good career prospect for young people across rural America.

Vilsack kept is remarks brief, opting to save much of his time for questions from the audience. NFU members took advantage of the question-and-answer session. Leadership from six different Farmers Union state organizations directing hard-hitting questions to Vilsack. AFR Cooperative Vice President Ryan Plemmons, Broken Bow, joined in with a pointed question regarding the changes to the poultry tournament system and how those changes may impact eastern Oklahoma.

In addition to the lengthy discussion with Vilsack, the NFU audience also heard from two USDA panels. The first panel, USDA Marketing and Regulatory Programs, featured Deputy Under Secretary of Marketing and Regulatory Programs Mae Wu, Chief of Staff of Marketing and Regulatory Programs Katie Zenk, and Senior Advisor of Fair and Competitive Markets, Marketing and Regulatory Programs Andy Green. The second panel, USDA Farm Production and Conservation, featured Under Secretary for Farm Production and Conservation Robert Bonnie, Chief of Natural Resources Conservation Service Terry Cosby, and Farm Service Agency Deputy Administrator for Farm Programs Scott Marlow.

The panel discussions with USDA officials also included a lengthy question-and-answer discussion. AFR delegates Clay Pope, Loyal, and Barry Squires, Carnegie, joined in the discussion with questions about conservation programs and herbicide use.


Policy Briefings with Agriculture Committees Staff

Following the USDA briefings, some members of the AFR delegation attended a briefing that included the staffs of Senate Agriculture Committee Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), Senate Agriculture Committee Ranking Member John Boozman (R-Ark.), House Agriculture Committee Chairman David Scott (D-Ga.) and House Agriculture Committee Ranking Member Glenn Thompson (R-Pa.).

Key points of the agriculture committees staff briefing included priorities for the upcoming 2023 Farm Bill, the ongoing competition issues in agriculture, disaster relief programs and the farm safety net, country of origin labeling (COOL), the quickly-approaching renewal of Livestock Mandatory Reporting, conservation, land access for young and beginning farmers, dairy industry revitalization, food insecurity, renewable fuels, and the further development of urban agriculture as part of local and regional food systems.

As with the USDA briefing, NFU attendees were able to ask questions directly to staff. AFR Cooperative Vice President Ryan Plemmons emphasized the consumer safety aspect of COOL and the importance of proper labeling of meat products.



The AFR Cooperative delegation rounded out the first day of fly-in with visits to the National Association of Wheat Growers (NAWG) to talk shop on upcoming Farm Bill priorities and to the National Association of Mutual Insurance Companies (NAMIC) to hear about issues on the horizon for the insurance industry.

AFR Cooperative is a membership services organization established in 1905 as Oklahoma Farmers Union. AFR provides educational, legislative and cooperative programs across the state and serves as a watchdog for Oklahoma’s family farmers and ranchers and rural communities. The organization is actively supportive of the state’s agricultural industry and rural population with membership consisting of farmers actively involved in production agriculture and non-farmers adding their voice in support of AFR principles.

Our Very own Radio Oklahoma Ag Network Intern, Cheyenne Leach, is covering the AFR Fly in for us, and will be reporting on stories throughout the week.

   

 

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