OKLAHOMA CITY — As another legislative session kicks off in the coming weeks, Oklahoma Farm Bureau members have set the organization’s 2023 legislative priorities to guide Farm Bureau’s work at the state Capitol.
This year’s top priorities are broken down into four primary focus areas, including rural infrastructure, Oklahoma’s future, landowner advocacy and marijuana.
High-speed broadband internet and wireless cell phone service has become a necessity in modern society but is hard to come by in many parts of rural Oklahoma. The expansion of these services is integral to the continued vibrance of rural communities in Oklahoma.
Access to quality and affordable healthcare is crucial for all Oklahomans, especially those in rural areas. Whether it is the preservation of rural hospitals or the expansion of rural telehealth services, OKFB has long supported the advancement of rural healthcare.
OKFB supports funding for improved maintenance to roads and bridges in Oklahoma to ensure residents can safely travel to and from their homes and companies can conduct business and transport products.
Oklahoma is no stranger to wildfire, and OKFB supports increased resources for rural fire departments and the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, Food and Forestry’s Forestry Services Division to manage wildfire across the state.
Farm Bureau members take pride in engaging in civic efforts and participating in local, state and national elections. In recent years, OKFB members have become increasingly concerned with the requirements for a proposal to appear on a statewide ballot and strongly support state initiative petition reform to ensure the integrity of the petition process is upheld.
OKFB has long supported the efforts of land-grant universities and advocates for increased funding for Oklahoma State University Extension, agricultural research and the OSU College of Veterinary Medicine.
With Oklahoma’s unpredictable weather patterns, assistance in years of drought is invaluable for farmers and ranchers. Farm Bureau members appreciate the state legislature’s recognition of this important issue and support the continuation and development of the Oklahoma Emergency Drought Commission.
Farm Bureau members oppose all forms of county zoning authority and oppose new or increased ad valorem taxes as property taxes unfairly burden farmers and ranchers who often have a large amount of land and capital that does not always generate a profit.
OKFB also supports landowners’ rights to protect livestock and property from wildlife depredation. Current laws make it difficult or impossible for farmers and ranchers to take action to protect their animals and property from invasive and dangerous species of wildlife like the black-headed vulture.
Oklahoma’s marijuana industry took the state by storm after medical marijuana usage was legalized in 2018. The industry has had an unprecedented impact on rural Oklahoma as marijuana grow facilities emerged by the thousands, placing a significant strain on rural Oklahoma’s utility providers and causing uncertainty with neighboring agricultural operations when it comes to basic practices like herbicide application.
As a special election approaches in March 2023 to potentially legalize recreational marijuana use, OKFB stands strongly opposed. Farm Bureau members support the continued enforcement and compliance efforts of the Oklahoma Medical Marijuana Authority and support increased transparency in medical marijuana businesses.
To learn more about OKFB’s top issues, visit okfarmbureau.org/advocacy/issues.
To stay up-to-date with OKFB’s work at the state Capitol in 2023, follow us on Facebook and Twitter (@okfarmbureau) and check out our weekly legislative updates at okfarmbureau.org.
–Oklahoma Farm Bureau Federation