Nocona Cook Says Medical Marijuana Industry Growth is Overwhelming OklahomaMon, 20 Sep 2021 14:08:17 CDT
Farming has never been easy - especially in Oklahoma. For the newest member of the Oklahoma State Board of Agriculture Nocona Cook, it is harder than ever. He told Radio Oklahoma’s KC Sheperd he hopes to be a voice for future farmers.
“There are just so many things going on in agriculture right now,” Cook said. “I am the 5th generation on my family farm and have two young boys. I want to be a voice for the younger generation, to make sure (farming) is something for my boys to follow in my footsteps.”
The biggest issue Cook said he hears about is the overwhelming growth of the medical marijuana industry in the state. According to Cook, Medical Marijuana growers are buying land at prices some producers cannot refuse, inflating land prices.
“It is making it harder for young guys to go buy land,” Cook said.
For producers who find themselves as new neighbors with a medical marijuana growing facility, they may no longer be able to manage their land in the same way because of strict regulations within the medical marijuana industry.
“There are some private spray companies that will not spray within five miles of a greenhouse,” Cook said. “When you got greenhouses coming up all over it’s not only hurting the farmers, but applicators are not being able to make money.”
Cook said because the industry has grown so quickly, the liabilities are still being discovered.
“We do not know the liability right now, that is the biggest issue,” Cook said.
At the most recent interim study hearing, Cooks said there are about twice as many medical marijuana growers in Oklahoma than there are wheat farmers, at this time.
For some agricultural producers, it is a smarter deal to sell out right now, according to Cook.
“Big farmers are getting bigger and small farmers are getting smaller,” Cook said. “For someone to just decide they want to be a farmer someday, it is not going to happen,” Cook said. “It has got to be a generational thing - stuff has to be handed down.”
He said unless you have generational experience and help, it is very hard to break into farming or ranching.
Hit the LISTEN BAR below to hear KC’s conversation with Nocona Cook as they discuss the current state of being a farmer in Oklahoma.
Photo: News on 6
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