NORMAN, Okla. — American Farmers & Ranchers/Oklahoma Farmers Union (AFR/OFU) set legislative policy for the upcoming year at the 117th Annual AFR Convention Feb. 11-13. Each year, organization policy includes “special orders of business” that address recent, current or future issues of significant importance to rural Oklahoma and agriculture at large.
Over the last two decades, the number of cattle sold on a negotiated cash basis (i.e. through an auction barn) has diminished significantly. The percentage of cattle sold through negotiated cash sale is now so small, some industry experts warn the beef cattle industry lacks a market baseline. In light of this, the 2022 AFR Policy Committee supports urgent and sincere efforts to increase competition in the fed cattle market and to encourage large meatpackers to purchase a minimum percentage of their cattle inventory through the cash market.
In light of this, the 2022 AFR Special Orders draws attention to dysfunction in the U.S. cattle markets: “We support an increase in the amount of the negotiated cash trade percentage as it relates to the fed cattle market… To address the issue of captive supply in the fed cattle industry, we recommend that no one of the major four beef packing companies may purchase more than 25% of their weekly slaughter needs from any one feeding entity.”
Adopted AFR policy is truly grassroots—proposed policy begins as resolutions at the local and county level. The appointed state policy committee members that hears the resolutions and crafts policy language are an accomplished and diverse group representing the broadest spectrum possible of the general AFR membership. Because of this approach, the final policy document represents members’ interests from across Oklahoma.
“The AFR policy process is a model of grassroots legislative efforts in action,” said AFR Cooperative President Scott Blubaugh. “Because many of our policies originate from resolutions crafted in our local and county organizations; AFR members know their voices are heard at the state and national level.”
AFR Cooperative is a membership services organization established in 1905 as Oklahoma Farmers Union. AFR provides educational, legislative and cooperative programs across the state and serves as a watchdog for Oklahoma’s family farmers and ranchers and rural communities. The organization is actively supportive of the state’s agricultural industry and rural population with membership consisting of farmers actively involved in production agriculture and non-farmers adding their voice in support of AFR principles.