OKFB Members Elevate Voice of Agriculture in Washington, D.C.

More than 50 Oklahoma Farm Bureau members traveled to Washington, D.C., April 8-12 to advocate for agriculture and learn about the latest national issues facing the industry during OKFB’s 2024 Washington, D.C., Summit fly-in.

The trip included congressional briefings, industry updates, group activities and time to tour the sights of our nation’s capital, allowing Oklahoma farmers and ranchers an opportunity to share their perspectives with officials and industry representatives who craft laws and oversee regulations impacting agriculture.

Congressional briefings

A series of congressional briefings highlighted the 2024 Washington, D.C., Summit, and members had the chance to hear from Sens. James Lankford and Markwayne Mullin on Wednesday, April 10.

Lankford shared with Farm Bureau members his position on immigration and border security, the wars in Ukraine and Israel, and the progress he has seen on the farm bill. Mullin visited about budgetary appropriations and earmarks, government shutdowns and the challenges that follow, and tribal relations.

OKFB members made their way to Capitol Hill again on Thursday, April 11, to hear from four of Oklahoma’s five house members. Rep. Stephanie Bice shared her perspective on inflation, the current administration’s executive orders and foreign ownership of land.

Fellow OKFB member Rep. Frank Lucas explained the challenges and progress on the farm bill, noting his view that perfecting the farm bill should not prevent passing the farm bill.

Rep. Kevin Hern of Tulsa visited with members about stepped-up basis and farm transitions, agricultural labor challenges and the H2A visa program, the Ukrainian war’s impact on the nation’s wheat supply and more.

Rep. Josh Brecheen walked members through governmental spending and income tax considerations. The newest of Oklahoma’s congressional delegation, Brecheen also shared his vision for food assistance reform for the farm bill’s nutrition title.

Agriculture industry updates

OKFB members had the opportunity to hear several industry updates throughout the trip, including updates from representatives of American Farm Bureau, the British Embassy and both the U.S. House and Senate agriculture committees on Tuesday, April 9.

AFBF’s Dave Salmonson and John Walt Boatwright shared the work the national farm organization is doing to provide relief for labor pressures facing farmers and ranchers, efforts to spur the Biden Administration to work toward new trade agreements and an update on the Environmental Protection Agency’s strategies and maneuvers on restricting pesticide usage related to the Endangered Species Act along with the agency’s recent ruling restricting the use of over-the-top dicamba.

Fellow Oklahoman and House agriculture committee staffer Ricky Schroeder and Senate agriculture committee staff member John Newton each provided an update on the ongoing preparatory work for the upcoming farm bill. Each focused on the current baseline budget of $1.5 trillion, $1.2 trillion of which is designated for the nutrition title, and the options for securing funding to ensure production agriculture has a reliable safety net.

British Embassy representatives spoke on the processes the British government is undertaking to expand agricultural trade for the island nation as it continues to navigate the effects of Brexit. Embassy officials also discussed the nation’s efforts to improve agricultural efficiency while keeping environmental impacts in mind.

On Wednesday, April 10, Farm Bureau members heard from Rodd Snyder, senior advisor for agriculture to the EPA administrator, and Luke Tomanelli, head of North America policy and advocacy for Bayer Crop Science.

Snyder visited with members on EPA’s top three agriculture issues, including pesticide policy, water policy and renewable energy. Tomanelli shared his perspective on pesticide labels, challenges with Bayer’s recent glyphosate conflicts, the future of dicamba use and the rising concern about PFAS, or, “forever chemicals.”

On Friday, April 12, OKFB members traveled to AFBF headquarters to learn about the national legislative and policy issues John Deere, the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture and AFBF are navigating. Discussion points included the farm bill, national animal identification proposals, animal care issues and more.

Group events

OKFB members also took time to enjoy Washington during the trip. An opening reception with congressional and AFBF staff on Monday evening fostered fellowship, and a dinner cruise on the Potomac River Wednesday night provided members with a unique perspective on our nation’s capital with views of monuments, the wharf and other landmarks. A special nighttime monuments tour was led by OKFB President Rodd Moesel where members learned about the monuments and the people and events they memorialize.

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