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Agricultural News

OCA's Michael Kelsey Says SQ805 Would Be Lenient on Cattle Theft and Other Crimes

Thu, 08 Oct 2020 09:35:49 CDT

OCA's Michael Kelsey Says SQ805 Would Be Lenient on Cattle Theft and Other Crimes Oklahoma livestock producers are concerned if State Question 805 passes, it would signal a leniency towards cattle theft and similar crimes, says Michael Kelsey, executive director of the Oklahoma Cattlemen's Association.

The Oklahoma Cattlemen's Association has a longstanding, strongly worded policy against cattle theft, Kelsey said.

If 805 goes into effect past criminal history won't be taken into account when brought before the court, Kelsey said.

For example, when a person steals cattle one-time versus multiple times, the court would treat them the same, Kelsey said.

Our opinion is if you have a person who can't keep his hands off our cattle, those past crimes should be taken into account and the punishment should be more severe, he said.

The proposed ballot initiative ties the court's hands and that's not a good thing, he added.

It's not just OCA opposing SQ805, as Oklahoma Farm Bureau and the Oklahoma Pork Council have joined in the fight against the ballot question.

It's more than just agriculture as there is a broad spectrum of crimes considered under 805.

The cattle association leader said he is also concerned about the serious issue of amending the state constitution.

It can be troublesome to put things into the Oklahoma Constitution, Kelsey said.

SQ805 is just a really bad idea, he said.

In addition to their efforts opposing SQ805, the OCA is also working on other projects including expanding and improving the state's cattle processing capacity.

We're excited about the prospects here in Oklahoma to build slaughter capacity, he said.

We're seeing a lot of opportunity and optimism to build capacity, he said.

Kelsey said there are no major large packers expanding but locally some are looking at possibly providing an Oklahoma-branded product for export beyond the state's borders.

Although government CARES funds are being used immediately to help improve capacity and update facilities to make them more efficient, Kelsey encouraged patience for long-term growth.

It's not going to happen overnight so we must be patient, he said.

Another activity the OCA is working on this fall includes in-person meetings.

We are doing 12 fall gatherings around the state beginning in late October, Kelsey said.

They really have a desire to get together, have fellowship and discuss the issues, he said.

Leaning on each other and sharing ideas is important for our members right now, Kelsey said.

He added every cattle producer is invited and you don't have to be OCA member.

You can learn more about the OCA fall gatherings by clicking here.

Click on the listen bar below to hear more of Ron's interview with Michael Kelsey.


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