Senior Farm and Ranch Broadcaster, Ron Hays, talks about national policy issues pertaining to the cattle industry with the Oklahoma Cattlemen’s Association’s Executive Vice President, Michael Kelsey.
After attending the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association’s summer business meeting in Reno, Kelsey said all of the policy discussion was permeated with 2023 Farm Bill prospects.
“That was probably the biggest discussion in Reno, no matter the committee,” Kelsey said. “There are seven policy committees that NCBA has, and it really doesn’t matter which committee you are in; the Farm Bill was mentioned.”
Because of the November election coming up, Kelsey said it is difficult to develop hard policy right now. Most pundits indicate that the House will flip from Democrat to Republican, he added, which will change the leadership and therefore the priorities of the House Ag Committee.
“We are so blessed to have Frank Lucas,” Kelsey said. “He will be back on the Ag Committee and so we will be in excellent hands there. Now, he won’t be the chairman, but he will certainly be sitting right by the chairman.”
It is difficult to set core Farm Bill Policy at the moment without knowing who the majority in the Senate committees will have, Kelsey said, so at the meeting, they set priorities for policy.
“We looked at things like disaster assistance,” Kelsey said, “We need to make sure that we have good quality conversations on the conservation programs like EQIP, CSP, CRP, all the alphabet soup acronyms.”
It is critical, Kelsey said, that more producers know about these programs and use them. They are a safety net, he added, and need to be protected.
“The FMD bank, the vaccine bank, on the animal health side of the farm bill is very critical as well,” Kelsey said.
While the various risk management programs are authorized separately from the farm bill, they are all interconnected.
“It is such a challenge to try to make sure those things fit, make sure they are paid for, and make sure producers know about them and how they work and how they can work with true disasters such as the fire and some of those types of things that we have seen, plus those programs that you can sign up for like crop insurance, etc., and how they can offset some of the disasters, like drought- that we may see and so forth,” Kelsey said.
In Oklahoma, there are five state runoffs that Republicans will be participating in, Kelsey said, such as the U.S. Senate, Labor Commissioner, Treasurer, School Superintendent, and Corporation Commission.
“If you live in the second congressional district, you’ll have that one as well, and that is regardless of your local state runoffs,” Kelsey said. “Some senate districts or legislative districts and then I assume there is probably some county commissioners. I haven’t looked that far down into potential ballots.”
With the runoffs and elections coming up, Kelsey said it is important to show up and vote even if you think your vote won’t make a difference because you never know.
“When we get to that November election, obviously we will have the governor,” Kelsey said. “That will be the top of the ballot. Both Senate seats will be on the ballot. Both have Republicans and Democrats in those races.”
“It is a big year,” Kelsey said.
Click the LISTEN BAR below to listen to Ron Hays and Michael Kelsey talk upcoming runoffs, elections, and policy regarding the 2023 Farm Bill.
The Beef Buzz is a regular feature heard on radio stations around the region on the Radio Oklahoma Network and is a regular audio feature found on this website as well. Click on the LISTEN BAR below for today’s show and check out our archives for older Beef Buzz shows covering the gamut of the beef cattle industry today.