During AFR (American Farmers and Ranchers) Day at the Capitol, Farm Director KC Sheperd visited with Chairman of the House Ag Committee, Dell Kerbs about the latest legislative work for agriculture in the state.
“On the agriculture side, it has been pretty smooth sailing this session,” Kerbs said.
One of the things Kerbs is working on is making sure extension offices at Oklahoma State University have what they need to serve their constituents and Oklahomans across the state.
“We can’t do it without those extension offices,” Kerbs said. “They are of such vital importance to our communities all over, and especially our rural areas.”
Regarding drought relief, Kerbs said the House overwhelmingly supported a few bills involving the Emergency Drought Commission.
“One is to take it from a three-member board to a five-member board,” Kerbs said. “The second is to make it an ongoing committee that is at the call of the Secretary of Ag. That will benefit for faster reactionary times for the drought commission when we get in those situations, and the continuation of the existing drought that we are in.”
Several schools in the state that do not have a strong 4-H presence have not been allowing students to receive excused absences, Kerbs said, so they have been working on a bill to give students the same treatment when they are absent for 4-H as they would receive is they were gone for FFA or another school-related event.
“When they are out showing those animals or doing the 4-H programs that they do, that is as important as anything else they can do in the classroom in my mind, so we need to make sure we are supporting those programs as well as FFA and all the other programs that are there,” Kerbs said.
Over the last couple of years, Kerbs said commerce has begun to pay attention to those students that have been involved in 4-H and FFA because of their work ethic.
“More and more businesses these days- when they see 4-H and FFA on the resumes of those folks, it is just absolutely amazing,” Kerbs said. “Those kids get the interview.”