AFR President Scott Blubaugh Weighs in on John O'Conner Endorsement and AFR PrioritiesWed, 01 Jun 2022 15:15:13 CDT
KC Sheperd, Farm Director, sat down with Scott Blubaugh, President of American Farmers and Ranchers at the Oklahoma National Stockyards during the endorsement of Attorney General John O'Connor by the Oklahoma Farm Bureau, AFR, and Oklahoma Cattlemen's Association.
"We are here with the other two big ag organizations in the state to endorse Attorney General O'Connor in his race to be reelected," Blubaugh said. "We think that Attorney General O'Connor has done a good job as our acting attorney general, who was appointed about ten months ago."
Blubaugh said O'Connor is passionate about some of the same issues AFR members are very passionate about. Because of this, Blubaugh said the AFR board voted unanimously to support the attorney general in this upcoming election.
A subject O'Connor is passionate about, the constitutional ban of foreign ownership of agricultural land, Blubaugh said, is being infringed upon by outside forces, especially under the guise of medical marijuana.
"These are organized crime organizations that have been filtrated in here that are selling marijuana on the black market, not legally, and buying up Oklahoma agriculture land as well as other entities that may be coming in here and buying up our agriculture land," Blubaugh said.
AFR members, Blubaugh said, put the ban on foreign ownership of agricultural land in the state constitution at the constitutional convention around 125 years ago.
"We have always been passionate about protecting the ownership of agricultural land in the state of Oklahoma," Blubaugh said.
Beyond the election for Attorney General, Blubaugh said he is pleased with several bills that have been passed and received the governor's signature to help reform illegal actors in the marijuana industry.
"We are not against the folks that are doing it legally and by the books and trying to be good citizens," Blubaugh said.
The Oklahoma Department of Agriculture has received more funding, Blubaugh said, for additional meat inspectors in Oklahoma.
"That is the second year in a row that we have been able to get additional funding for more inspectors, and the demand keeps growing," Blubaugh said. "That is why they need more inspectors because the demand for locally processed meat has really taken off in this state and we have got a lot of new facilities and a lot of new markets opening up such as our Oklahoma Certified Beef."
Blubaugh said AFR is in favor of the Biden Administration's decisions involving fairness for poultry farmers and the meat and poultry special investigation act. With having a special prosecutor under USDA, Blubaugh added, the USDA's expertise will be utilized on how markets work and what to do in the event of a violation.
"You have the Justice Department that has all of the expertise in antitrust laws and enforcing those antitrust laws," Blubaugh said. "We are still waiting on them, and we need that prosecutorial investigating subpoena power in one place over in the USDA because they have the expertise there and they can weed out these bad actors and eliminate or try to eliminate the antitrust violations that we believe are going on and have been going on for quite some time."
On the poultry tournament system, Blubaugh said there are plenty of flaws.
"It really puts grower against grower, and the grower doesn't own those birds," Blubaugh said. "They don't breed them, they are actually just feeding somebody else's birds, but then they are discounted or docked, and it's really an unfair process because the grower has such little control over the whole entire package."
After this being an issue for 30 years, Blubaugh said he is looking forward to the chance to level the playing field and make it fair for everyone involved.
Click here to Listen to KC Sheperd and Scott Blubaugh talk about the AG race as well as other AFR priorities.
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