Oklahoma Farm Bureau President Mike Spradling, has been re-elected to the American Farm Bureau Federation board of directors. He will serve a two-year term.
“This is one of the greatest jobs I could have,” Spradling, who resides in Sand Springs, said. “It’s at the top of our leadership structure and allows me to see how much impact my involvement has at the national level.”
Spradling was elected during the business session of the annual American Farm Bureau Federation convention Jan. 13 in San Antonio, Tex. Approximately 130 Oklahoma farmers and ranchers participated in the national meeting and they were successful in convincing their counterparts from other states to support them on several key issues. Number one on the list was a change in the H-2A guest worker program.
The current H-2A program requires foreign workers to be paid 75 percent of the contracted price. Farm Bureau leaders want to adjust the price guarantee to allow for crop disasters.
“If I contract with a group of workers to harvest my crop and I have a crop failure then I’m on the hook for their wages without having any revenue from my crop, or even a crop to harvest,” Spradling said.
The language adopted by the voting delegates stated “the minimum contract guarantee should be no more than 35 percent of the original contract in the case of a significant event.”
Another important issue involves the news media reporting on food-born disease outbreaks. Farm leaders are concerned the media publishes reports too quickly that could damage food companies and restaurants.
The policy supported by Farm Bureau states: “Those making public health decisions that result in product recalls, product seizures or destruction of perishable goods must be held accountable when such decisions prove false. Such entities must be required to compensate or indemnify individuals and companies for the monetary losses that occur.”
In addition to passing important policy resolutions, Oklahoma was represented by young farmers and ranchers competing in several leadership areas. They included Scott Storey, Stillwater; Mindi Clark, Burlington; and Jodi Simmons, Stilwell.