Oklahoma Farm Bureau members heard Rep. Markwayne Mullin’s views on issues facing farmers and ranchers in our nation’s capital during an online meeting on Wednesday, May 12.
As a rancher himself, Mullin represents Oklahoma’s Second Congressional District, which is comprised of portions of eastern Oklahoma.
Rep. Mullin highlighted four topics farmers, ranchers and rural Oklahomans are concerned about during the call.
1. Investigating issues in the cattle market
While discussing the state of the current cattle market, Mullin said he is concerned by meat packers’ influence on the market.
“While we don’t want hamburgers to be $25, we have to be able to make a living,” Mullin said.
Mullin said he has urged both the current and previous administration’s U.S. Department of Justice to continue investigating market manipulation in the beef industry.
2. Bringing connectivity to underserved areas
As the world continues to develop new technologies requiring broadband, many producers in Oklahoma need internet connectivity to keep up with modern day agricultural practices.
Rep. Mullin said only a small part of the proposed infrastructure bill is set aside for advancing broadband, but the focus of connectivity is more in suburban areas than rural areas.
As a resident of rural Oklahoma, Mullin said he has internet access now because of the electric cooperative that serves his area.
He said he believes the same model that utilized electric cooperatives to bring broadband to parts of eastern Oklahoma should be considered around the U.S. to ensure people can keep up with the ever-changing technology.
3. Predicting the Biden Administration’s trade stance
Farmers and ranchers, like many other industries in the U.S., rely on trade with foreign countries to market their products.
Mullin said Biden’s strategy on trade remains to be seen because it has not been a focus yet.
“I’ll tell you so far, the administration has not looked at changing the Trump Administration’s trade policies,” Mullin said. “It has not been a hot topic.”
Because it is not a focus, Mullin said he does not see any significant changes coming in the near future.
4. Continuing advocacy efforts on all levels
Mullin thanked Farm Bureau members for their advocacy efforts for farmers and ranchers across the state.
“I appreciate Oklahoma Farm Bureau’s advocacy efforts,” Mullin said. “Politics affect all of us. I don’t care if you do or don’t like them, it is affecting your life.”
He urged members to continue to be involved from their local communities all the way to the national level.