Voting delegates at the recent American Farm Bureau convention reconfirmed their support for Country of Origin Labeling but struck down a policy banning packers from owning livestock. Oklahoma Farm Bureau had supported the ban but the organization’s president said they were able to add language protecting the producer.
“We convinced the delegates to adopt language on captive supply, which will attempt to make sure the packers cannot regularly alter the market with their captive supplies of cattle,” Steve Kouplen, OFB president said. “The emphasis is now on making sure the livestock producer is protected.”
The Farm Bureau delegates passed a resolution supporting COOL for all agricultural products, but that implementation should occur in conjunction with an animal identification system. They stopped short of accepting a mandatory identification system.
“In light of the recent BSE scare, livestock producers understand they must be able to track or identify the source of their cattle,” Kouplen said. “Many of our producers already have an identity system in place. We want to work with the USDA and see how COOL fits with any proposed identity system.”
Delegates also passed a resolution requesting Congress make a passage of a new energy bill a priority in 2004.
“We have worked long and hard to develop an energy bill with a strong renewable fuels component that would be good for Oklahoma agriculture,” Kouplen said. “It’s important to our farmers that Congress passes this bill early in the year.”
In other convention news, Clay Pope, of Loyal, was a top three finalist in the AFBF Young Farmers and Ranchers Excellence in Agriculture Award. The award recognizes young farmers who do not have agriculture as their primary income source. Pope serves in the Oklahoma House of Representatives.
Three farmers from Alfalfa County had their latest ideas on display at the trade show held in conjunction with the convention. Keith Kisling, Burlington, displayed a modified grain cart that he uses to drag across fields, filling in ruts left by irrigation sprinkling systems. Hugh Wayman, Goltry, exhibited his automatic cattle feeder and Hope Pjesky, Goltry, had a display explaining the value of an acre of wheat.