NORMAN— 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 past several decades, the U.S. food supply chain has been encouraged to condense into fewer companies processing food in fewer places. The fragility of this concentrated system was proven in 2020 during the early stages of the Coronavirus pandemic. While progress has been made, the 2022 AFR Policy Committee felt strongly that further steps should be taken to shield Oklahomans from the negative effects of disruptions to the U.S. food supply chain.
In light of this, the 2022 AFR Special Orders encourages development of local and regional food systems: “We encourage development of local and regional food systems within the state of Oklahoma, including the formation of distribution cooperatives and tribal partnerships using upcoming USDA grant dollars designated for local and regional food systems.”
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.