Oklahoma Farm Bureau members traveled to the Heart of the Arbuckles in central Oklahoma during the 2017 OKFB Commodity Tour May 3-5.
Nearly 60 farmers and ranchers from across the state participated in the three-day tour, which focused on agriculture in south-central Oklahoma.
The tour first visited Valley View Pecans, a Shawnee-based company owned and operated by an OKFB family: John, Janice and Josh Grundmann. In addition to processing small and large batches of pecans, the company’s gift shop offers a wide variety of delicious pecan treats. During the tour, members listened as Josh demonstrated how pecans are shelled during processing and the history of the company.
Next, members visited Leroy O’Dell’s farm located just south of Asher. O’Dell gave an overview of the family’s history and information about their show cattle business, followed by a brisket lunch sponsored by the O’Dells.
Across the road, Leroy’s son Brett led members on a tour of his farm where he sells registered Angus bulls. Brett explained the day-to-day operations of the farm, his AI-breeding process, how to freeze brand cattle and his hay business.
Next, members traveled a few minutes down the road to Big Creek Events, founded in 2015 by the Bond family. Several types of events are held at the center, including weddings, parties, corporate events, receptions and more. Members had the opportunity to tour the beautiful interior of the main building as Darren Bond, the building designer, explained the purpose of the design: to inspire creativity and celebrate beauty and art.
After visiting the Artesian Hotel located in Sulphur, members visited unique and local shops before visiting the Rusty Nail Winery for dinner. Wes Hillard, former representative of Oklahoma House District 22, welcomed OKFB members to the area and wished them well on the remainder of the trip. Afterward, members enjoyed a steak dinner sponsored by Murray County.
The second day kicked off with a tour of Oklahoma Steel and Wire, a family-owned-and-operated manufacturing facility located in Madill. Founded in 1979, the company produces a variety of wire products, including horse panels, field fence, barbed wire, poultry netting and more.
Next, members traveled to the Samuel Roberts Noble Foundation’s Red River Farm located in Love County. After a welcome lunch, the group heard about the future of sustainable beef, systems-based beef management, and the foundation’s Center for Advanced Agricultural Systems and Technology. Members also enjoyed a question-and-answer session about upcoming trends and research development for cattle.
The last stop for the day was a crawfish farm owned by Sam Barrick, an Oklahoma Farm Bureau Insurance agent in Love county. Barrick explained his interest in crawfish and an overview of how crawfish are raised. For dinner, Barrick sponsored a crawfish boil with shrimp, potatoes, and vegetables.
Friday morning began by driving through the Chickasaw National Recreation Area, located in the foothills of the Arbuckle Mountains near Sulphur. During the tour, the group enjoyed a short video about the history of the area as well as information about the native wildlife. Members also had the chance to taste water from the famed Vendome Well, which produces small amounts of hydrogen sulfide gas, often described as a “rotten egg” smell.
The final stop of the tour was the Chickasaw Cultural Center, a state-of-the-art facility featuring exhibits and artifacts for visitors to learn about Native American culture and history. Members toured the Chikasha Poya Exhibit Center, including the inspiring Spirit Forest and interactive demonstrations. Afterward, the group was served a traditional American Indian meal consisting of Indian tacos; pishofa, a traditional Chickasaw corn soup; and grape dumplings, a classic dessert.
The OKFB Commodity Tour is an annual event that provides opportunities for OKFB members to learn more about agriculture in Oklahoma, broadening their horizons and offering ideas to improve their own agricultural operations.
To view, download or share photos from the OKFB Commodity Tour, click here.