AF&R conventions discusses issues

Policies on immigration reform, REAL ID driver’s licenses, better access to healthcare for U.S military veterans, “ag friendly county” designation, and the agriculture mediation program were among the issues attracting support during the recent convention of the American Farmers & Ranchers.

“We had more than 800 delegates from across the state actively involved in the policy process,” said Terry Detrick, AFR president. “This was a true grass roots effort to support issues critical to agriculture and rural Oklahoma.”

Specifically, AFR delegates said “We support comprehensive overhaul of the federal immigration system in order to safeguard the multi-billion dollar American agriculture industry, which currently lacks a stable legal workforce.”

The delegates voiced strong support for the Oklahoma legislature to establish an “agriculture friendly” county program to help recruit and develop new and expanded agriculture operations and agribusinesses in Oklahoma.

A measure supporting the passage of legislation to bring Oklahoma drivers licenses into compliance with the federal REAL ID act was also passed by the voting body.

Delegates passed policy supporting veterans receiving healthcare at the local hospital if the care they need exists in that location.

In a special order, AFR members re-enforced support for the agriculture mediation program, as they requested inclusion of guaranteed funding for the program in the next farm bill.

Other issues drawing support included:

  • Sales tax on Internet purchases
  • Military veteran healthcare options
  • Nuisance lawsuits against agriculture producers & agribusinesses
  • State collaborations with tribal governments
  • Livestock market branding regulations
  • Deer hunting regulations

There was also growing concern among AFR members about the threat of increased property taxes.

“We’ve always felt strongly about protecting private property rights and limiting ad valorem taxes,” Detrick said. “Our members made it clear this is a major concern.”