Voting delegates at the 67th annual meeting of the Oklahoma Farm Bureau reaffirmed the organization’s position on several major issues during the business session of the convention.
Delegates said they will continue to support renewable fuels. This stance was made despite a proposal to dilute the support in an attempt to ease the pressure of higher feed costs for livestock producers. At the same time, delegates added support for nuclear power as a potential fuel source in Oklahoma.
They also voted to support tax incentives for landowners who use wind turbines or solar power as alternate power sources on their farms.
The voting body voiced their opposition to legislation that would increase property taxes. Leading that list is opposition to an initiative petition to increase education funding to the levels of surrounding states.
“We’re concerned this initiative would increase property taxes,” Mike Spradling, OFB President, said.
Other notable policy decisions made by the voting delegates include:
* Support the exemption of farm-tagged vehicles from DOT registration and regulations.
* Support the Wind for Schools (WSP) project under the sponsorship of the Department of Energy.
* Support the Fair (income) Tax Referendum.
* Support tax exempt fuel for rural fire departments
* Farmers should be allowed to save and plant their own seed after paying any tech fees.
Highlights of the annual convention included a keynote address by USDA Secretary Ed Schafer.
“The farm economy is one of the healthiest segments of our nation’s economy right now,” Schafer told the farm group.
Also speaking at the Farm Bureau convention was American Farm Bureau Vice President and Oregon farmer, Barry Bushue, and syndicated agricultural columnist Trent Loos.
One of the founding fathers and first president of the Oklahoma Farm Bureau was honored when his family presented a bronze bust to the organization. The late John I. Taylor was memorialized by his son, Jim, during the presentation.
“He believed in Farm Bureau and loved rural people,” Jim Taylor said.
John Taylor served as state president from 1942 to 1953.
The farm organization handed out a bushel basket of awards during the convention. Noble County’s Scott and Carol Dvorak were named the Farm Family of the Year. Jack and Jodi Simmons, Adair County, were selected as winners of the Young Farmer and Rancher Achievement award. Payne County’s Scott Story received the excellence in agriculture award and Mindi Clark, Alfalfa County, won the discussion contest.
The Distinguished Service to Farm Bureau award went to former OFB President Eldon Marklin, Woodward County, and Michael Dicks, Payne County, received the Distinguished Service to Agriculture Award.