KC Sheperd, Farm Director, is visiting with the president of American Farmers and Ranchers, Scott Blubaugh, about the latest within AFR and their upcoming convention on February 16-19 in Norman, Oklahoma, at the Embassy Suites by Hilton, Norman – Hotel & Conference Center.
Blubaugh said AFR has been working hard on preparing policy that will be presented at the convention in February.
In his travels, Blubaugh said he mainly hears concerns about drought and input costs from producers. Even with higher prices for commodities, Blubaugh said it is still difficult to break even because of higher input prices.
“If you have a drought or a flood or any kind of natural disaster in there that knocks those yields down, or maybe eliminates them altogether, then you have got some real serious issues to deal with,” Blubaugh said. “Our younger farmers and ranchers are the most vulnerable because they don’t have a lot of equity built up yet, and it takes almost a lifetime, it seems like, for me anyway, to build up equity to be able to weather some of these bad events.”
A trend Blubaugh talked about across the U.S. is that most farmers and ranchers need another source of income because it is difficult to make ends meet on farming or ranching alone.
Regarding the upcoming AFR convention this February, Blubaugh said there are a few changes he is looking forward to from last year’s convention.
“We have moved our PAC auction to our banquet night, and we have, I believe it’s nine or ten really good items that everyone would want to buy that we will be auctioning off for our PAC during our convention banquet,” Blubaugh said. “Of course, we will have our traditional silent auction throughout the convention as well to raise money for our PAC.”
The convention will feature different guest speakers on the insurance side and the farm and ranch side.
“We will be making a major announcement with our Oklahoma-certified beef association membership,” Blubaugh said. “We have a speaker (who is) going to come in and going to lay out an opportunity that we have been trying to put together for a couple of years now, and we finally got it together.”
Blubaugh said the president of the Farmers Union Enterprises, who is also the North Dakota Farmers Union president, will be talking about opportunities to add value within communities.
“It is absolutely amazing what they have been able to accomplish,” Blubaugh said.
To see information about this year’s AFR Convention, click here.