OKLAHOMA CITY — Oklahoma Farm Bureau has set the organization’s top legislative priorities for the 2022 Oklahoma Legislative Session. These priority issues are brought forth and voted on by Farm Bureau members in all 77 counties.
This year’s top priorities include medical marijuana, livestock and crop production, rural infrastructure, landowner advocacy and issues concerning Oklahoma’s future.
A new priority issue for 2022, the regulation of medical marijuana is expected to take center stage in the upcoming legislative session. With the recent surge in medical marijuana operations around the state of Oklahoma, many Farm Bureau members have voiced their concerns on industry regulation and the impact it could have on production agriculture.
OKFB supports increased legal compliance and enforcement for marijuana growing operations as well as increased transparency regarding ownership of marijuana facilities.
Livestock and Crop Production
The state of Oklahoma is facing a severe shortage in large-animal veterinarians, especially in rural areas. This is a growing concern for many Farm Bureau members raising livestock. With the state’s projected budget surplus for the new fiscal year, OKFB has adopted policy to support the creation of an incentive program for large-animal veterinarians in rural areas.
For farmers around the state, the application of herbicides to crops and prescribed burning of pastureland is often necessary as stewards of their land. OKFB supports liability protection for common pasture and cropland management practices.
Feral hogs, black vultures, white-tailed deer, Canadian geese and armyworms are a few of the many invasive species found in the state of Oklahoma. They can be a danger to livestock and cause costly damage to farmland. OKFB supports aggressive measures to eradicate these and other nuisance species.
Access to high-speed broadband internet and quality wireless phone service is crucial for Oklahomans in the most rural areas of the state. The internet and mobile phones are a major part of daily life both at home and on the farm. OKFB supports the expansion of high-speed internet and wireless phone service in rural Oklahoma.
In addition to high-speed internet and mobile phone service, rural Oklahomans face many challenges in finding quality and affordable healthcare in their communities. OKFB supports increased access to healthcare in rural Oklahoma.
OKFB also supports funding for improved maintenance to roads and bridges in these rural areas. Basic infrastructure is essential for conducting business and moving products in and out of these areas.
OKFB has long opposed increases to ad valorem taxes in the state of Oklahoma. Property tax increases are often considered to help increase municipal budgets, but they unfairly affect farmers and ranchers as they often have a great amount of land and capital – some of which doesn’t always generate a profit. OKFB supports a 60% voting threshold for all ad valorem elections and is opposed to all forms of county zoning authority. OKFB will continue its efforts in 2022 to prevent property tax increases.
The McGirt Supreme Court decision has created an increasing amount of uncertainty across the state, especially for farmers, ranchers and landowners in eastern and south-central Oklahoma. OKFB supports working cooperatively with state, federal and tribal leaders to address the governance issues created by the McGirt decision.
The right for Oklahoma citizens to petition for a change in state law is important, but in recent years, OKFB members have expressed growing concerns about the process that is used for a proposal to appear on a statewide ballot. OKFB supports state initiative petition reform to ensure that citizens in every part of the state are included in the process, and that signatures are legitimate and verified.
OKFB has a longstanding partnership with the OSU Cooperative Extension Service, and our members work closely with their educators and specialists in all 77 counties. We continue our support for increased funding for OSU extension and ag research programs.
For more information on Farm Bureau’s work at the state Capitol, please contact OKFB public policy staff at (405) 523-2300.
–Oklahoma Farm Bureau