Oklahoma Cattlemen's Association Addresses Top Industry Issues at Policy Summit Ahead of SessionThu, 24 Jan 2019 15:24:46 CST
With the 2019 Cattle Industry Convention set to begin in New Orleans next week and the Oklahoma Legislative Session soon to get underway, the members of the Oklahoma Cattlemen’s Association came together this week at the organization’s Winter Policy Meeting to prepare themselves and form policy on the issues that have materialized this year. Given the wide range of topics that have garnered the attention of the livestock and greater agricultural industry, the meeting fostered a lively discussion. Radio Oklahoma Ag Network Farm Director Ron Hays visited with OCA Executive Vice President Michael Kelsey following Thursday’s meeting for his take on the issues that were addressed in the participating delegation’s underwriting of policy on behalf of the association. You can listen to their complete conversation by clicking or tapping the LISTEN BAR below at the bottom of the page.
“There were a few things that floated to the top,” Kelsey said. “Certainly, some tax issues, specifically the bill that would allow municipalities to levy ad valorem tax. We clearly stated our position on that bill, because I think this bill has momentum and we need to be at the table to advocate for our members.
“Animal traceability was also a big issue we talked about, really from two different perspectives. Obviously, the disease surveillance is vitally important - but we also had some great discussion on it as a theft deterrent. We still have a problem with cattle rustlers and we need to figure out how we as an industry can approach this.”
Kelsey suspects this will be one of the primary issues discussed at the upcoming Cattle Industry Convention. He says the topic has gained significant traction this year towing along with it numerous opinions. Some factions of the industry, he explained, see value in a national ID system in regard to the potential for greater market and value-added export programs. Others are concerned about the implications it might have in terms of keeping data secure and private while also limiting liability, managing the system efficiently, etc.
“All those questions still need to be answered. But, overall, what I heard from our membership is this is an important issue that we want to define and it not be defined for us by a government entity or someone else who may not know our business,” he said. “So, we’ve got to be at the table and make this work for us before something happens where now we have to play catch up - that’s not a good scenario to be in and so we’re going to be proactive about this.”
In addition, Kelsey listed several other priorities that cattlemen have flagged including things like private property rights. Kelsey says that while the outcome of these issues is yet to be known, one thing is certain in his mind about the future - OCA’s mission will endure.
“I think we had a great breadth of discussion over issues that really focused on the fact that OCA is an organization that works for cattle producers,” he remarked. “It was a great process and it’s been really encouraging as our youth and younger members are starting to engage.”
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