Ag Secretary Blayne Arthur Sees Two Big Hurdles for Oklahoma Beef ProducersWed, 28 Jul 2021 15:03:41 CDT
Oklahoma Secretary of Agriculture Blayne Arthur has had her boots on the ground, speaking with Oklahoma beef producers around the state. Arthur told Radio Oklahoma’s own, KC Sheperd, there are two main hurdles beef industry professionals are facing.
“One of those is medical marijuana,” Arthur said. “The other - which there is still a lot to talk about - are the markets, packing and the availability of processing.”
Arthur says there is “good momentum” with moving toward solutions for both issues.
In May, the Oklahoma Farm Bureau in partnership with American Farmers and Ranchers, Oklahoma Agribusiness Retailers Association, Oklahoma Cattlemen’s Association and the Oklahoma Agricultural Cooperative Council, deployed a task force to develop solutions for issues caused by the rapid growth of the medical marijuana industry in Oklahoma.
Arthur says the task force is already at work. The task force has identified very specific issues, which will guide state agencies and allow discussion with legislators to take place, according to Arthur.
“Do we need to change statues, do there need to be different rules or is it truly just an enforcement issue?” Arthur said.
Now, the taskforce is preparing what they have discovered, which will enable all parties to work together to find solutions, according to Arthur.
When it comes to beef markets, packing and processing, Aurthur says the State is anticipating 19 new beef-processing facilities to be serving communities before the end of the year.
“It’s very exciting!” Arthur said. “We acknowledge that head processed per day doesn’t make a huge difference, but for those producers in those communities, it certainly does.”
In addition to those new facilities, a mobile beef-processing unit has been traveling around the state, giving kids a first-hand look into what a workday looks like for a beef-processing plant worker.
“When we hear about these meat-processing facilities coming online, the number-one issue they have is labor,” Arthur said. “Having that skill means they have that job opportunity.”
Arthur says she is looking forward to rain, value-added processing pieces and a new Oklahoma Craft Beer Trail this coming fall. To hear KC's complete conversation with the Ag Secretary, click on the listen bar below.
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