Oklahoma Farm Bureau members shared their concerns on agriculture and rural issues with Congressman Kevin Hern during an online meeting held Friday, June 11.
From hauling hay to owning McDonald’s franchises and from swine farmer to aerospace engineer, Rep. Hern has vast experiences and uses those to represent Oklahoma’s First Congressional District, encompassing the Tulsa metropolitan area.
Adding taxation to farmers and ranchers is always concerning, especially with the proposed repeal of stepped-up basis and increases in the capital gains and income tax rates, which could threaten the livelihoods and long-term economic sustainability of Oklahoma family farms and ranches.
From estate to ad valorem taxes, Hern disagrees with adding on more costs towards farmers and ranchers.
“The reality of helping small businesses is getting out of their way,” Hern said. “That is not the nature of Washington, D.C.”
Bringing rural Oklahoma to Capitol Hill, Hern said he strongly supports giving agriculture the freedom it needs while allowing it to do what it does best feed the world.
After the ruling of the McGirt v. Oklahoma case, farmers and ranchers have expressed their concerns surrounding state and tribal jurisdiction in criminal, regulatory and taxation issues.
“There a lot of concerns as we move through this,” Hern said. “This will not be quick fix.”
Hern said the priority should be finding solutions to prevent redundant trials and not place undue pressure on the victims of those whose cases have been called into question.
Rural broadband access and support
As everything went virtual last year, broadband connectivity quickly came to the forefront of many people’s mind, and with the proposed infrastructure package, Hern said he often gets questions regarding what falls under infrastructure.
Hern said there is much more to infrastructure than physical highways.
“One of the issues we know we’ve got is our modern-day highway, our broadband,” Hern said.
Evening out the opportunity gap between urban and rural education through further access to broadband resources as well as finding and finalizing funding for broadband have been priorities of Congress across administrations according to Hern.