January 4, 2010

3 Min Read

The Oklahoma Grain and Stocker Producers have organized two educational sessions for agricultural producers during the 2010 KNID Agrifest to be held at the Garfield County Fairgrounds and Expo Center in Enid on Friday, January 8.

Staff representatives for Congressman Frank Lucas, the ranking member on the House Ag Committee, as well as Senator Jim Inhofe and Senator Tom Coburn have been invited to discuss federal policy and respond to questions. The session will be held from 11 a.m. to noon Friday in the conference room in the northeast corner of the Expo Center.

An outlook on the upcoming state legislative session will be held from 1:15 p.m. to approximately 2:15 p.m. Friday in the same conference room, featuring a panel of state legislators. Senate Ag Committee Chairman Ron Justice of Chickasha, House Ag Committee Co-Chairman John Enns of Enid and House Ag Committee member Dale DeWitt of Braman are planning to address farmers and ranchers on topics of concern on the state level.

While the budget is the biggest issue on the state agenda, other concerns include how to regulate equine dentistry, farm truck regulations, and rural infrastructural needs.

“I think it’s very important to all farmers to be involved in public policy discussions,” says Dean Keiffer, a Helena wheat and stocker producer and current OG&SP president. “Legislation like cap-and-trade at the federal level, and the budget situation on the state level, have a huge influence on all of us, and we have to stay on top of it. This is a chance for everyone to get the most current updates on federal and state legislation.”

The mood in the countryside is generally “cautious,” he says, as farmers wait out the uncertainty associated with the economic recession, federal environmental and health care policy, input prices and commodity and credit markets.

“There’s not many cattle out on wheat in my area,” he says. “Everybody’s being really conservative and not wanting to put a lot of money at risk right now.”

The 12th annual KNID Agrifest will be held on Jan. 8 from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Jan. 9 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the fairgrounds. It is consistently one of the best-attended farm shows in the region.

“Throughout the history of this event, it has been one of our goals to provide valuable educational seminars to area farmers and ranchers to help them be more profitable and successful,” says Heidi Gore, promotions director. “What is happening in terms of national legislation and the state budget crunch is on everybody’s mind right now so this should be a very timely discussion for everyone attending the show.”

The OG&SP board of directors will also meet to discuss making another annual legislative trip to Washington D.C., which typically occurs in late February following the President’s Day Congressional recess.

“We invite members and guests to come out to the show, stop by to hear the presentations and then take advantage of the opportunity to visit with our directors and share their concerns so that we can relay that message to our legislative representatives,” Keiffer says. “Everyone is welcome to join us.”

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