The new farm bill, tax reform, regulatory overreach and immigration reform were key issues discussed this week by Oklahoma Farm Bureau leaders during a four-day lobbying effort in Washington, D.C.
During the trip, the farm leaders met with U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe and U.S. Sen. Tom Coburn’s Chief of Staff Brian Treat, plus U.S. Reps. Jim Bridenstine, Markwayne Mullin, James Lankford and Frank Lucas, chairman of the House Agriculture Committee.
Lucas emphasized his committee’s efforts to draft a new farm bill that provides a strong safety net for farm income using a combination of crop insurance, a revenue assurance program and price protection.
“We are proud to have Rep. Lucas standing up for our interests in Washington, D.C., and we greatly appreciate the time and effort he committed to the farm bill,” OKFB President Tom Buchanan said. “We look forward to working with him and his staff as the new rules are implemented.”
Several congressmen applauded OKFB’s decision to join Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt’s lawsuit against the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for using a “sue and settle” tactic to prematurely list the lesser prairie chicken as threatened under the Endangered Species Act. The decision circumvents ESA procedures that are required by statute and harms landowners and business interests in the state.
Oklahoma farm leaders also received legislative briefings from key staff at the American Farm Bureau office. The Farm Bureau makes the annual trip to Washington, D.C., each spring to engage with the nation’s leaders and then initiate conversations in their local communities.
“This trip is a key step in our grassroots policy development process, and we are thankful for the opportunity to meet with our state’s delegation and AFBF staffers as we take the time to learn about the issues,” Buchanan said. “The OKFB leaders who participated in the trip will be great sources of information as our counties begin making policy recommendations later this year.”