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.
In some parts of Oklahoma, the proliferation of medical marijuana grow facilities has strained rural resources and created challenges for farmers, ranchers and rural citizens. While supportive of individuals’ rights to participate in the new industry, the 2022 AFR Policy Committee encouraged steps be taken to mitigate any negative impact on rural resources or the ability of Oklahoma’s farmers and ranchers to produce agricultural commodities in proximity to medical marijuana grow facilities. The Committee felt strongly enough about these challenges that an entire section of the organization’s policy document has been dedicated to the issue.
In light of this, the 2022 AFR Special Orders draws attention to the rural impacts of Oklahoma’s medical marijuana industry: “We recognize the production of medical marijuana is an evolving industry in Oklahoma. In light of this growing influence, we recommend special attention be given to developing policies that protect Oklahoma’s rural citizens, landowners and communities, and that enforcement of said policies be funded through increasing the amount of permit fees.”
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.