PERSPECTIVE OKLAHOMA FARM BUREAU
May 17, 2013
Annual YF&R golf tournament raises OFB president re-elected to funds for legal foundation national board More than $9,400 was raised for the Oklahoma Farm Bureau Legal Foundation during a golf tournament at Cimarron National Golf Club in Guthrie, May 3. The annual fundraiser was sponsored by the OFB Young Farmers and Ranchers Committee as a way to garner funds and attention to the efforts of the foundation. “This is a great chance to talk about the success of the legal foundation in defending our personal OFB YF&R Chairman Mason Bolay (right) property rights and other issues,” said presents a trophy to the first place tournament Mason Bolay, YF&R chairman. team consisting of (from left) JJ Louthan, Eric Despite the cool, windy weather Smith, Keith Kisling and Chad Kisling. conditions, 76 golfers participated on 20 teams. The winning team, sponsored family farmers and rural Oklahomans, and by Alfalfa County Farm Bureau leader Keith educating farmers and ranchers and the public Kisling, consisted of J.J. Louthan, Eric Smith, about issues important to agriculture. Keith Kisling and Chad Kisling. The foundation is funded primarily through The Oklahoma Farm Bureau Legal Founvoluntary contributions of Farm Bureau dation was created in 2001 by the OFB Board members and through events such as the golf of Directors for the purpose of entering the tournament. For more information contact legal arena to protect private property rights Marla Peek, OFB Legal Foundation director, and production agriculture. or go to www.ofblegalfoundation.org. The foundation strives to serve farmers and More photos from the YF&R golf tournament ranchers through engaging in public interest are available on the OFB Flickr site at litigation, researching legal issues affecting http://www.flickr.com/okfarmbureau.
Oklahoma Farm Bureau President Mike Spradling has been re-elected to serve a one-year term on the board of directors for the American Farm Bureau Insurance Services and American Agricultural Insurance Companies. The election was held May 8 at the companies’ annual stockholders meeting in Chicago. “I am proud and honored to represent Oklahoma Farm Bureau Mutual Insurance Company on these national boards,” Spradling said. The Oklahoma agricultural producer is entering his seventh year serving on the national board. Spradling and his family own and operate a cattle and pecan production business headquartered at Sand Springs, Okla. American Farm Bureau Insurance Services and American Agricultural Insurance Companies were established to provide services to help Farm Bureau insurance companies achieve financial stability and growth. AFBIS currently services crop insurance needs in 20 states across the country, and AAIC serves as a reinsurance company for Farm Bureau insurance companies.
Farm Bureau leader appointed to agriculture board Caddo County Farm Bureau leader Karen Krehbiel is the newest member of the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, Food and Forestry’s Board of Directors. Krehbiel will serve a four year term and represent district four which consists of 20 counties, mostly in southwest Oklahoma. Krehbiel has more than 20 years of accounting and production experience working on her family farm near Hydro. “I plan to use my experience and knowledge to make the best possible decisions and move forward,” Krehbiel said. Oklahoma Farm Bureau President Mike Spradling noted Krehbiel’s abilities as a Farm
Bureau leader will help in her new position. “Karen has demonstrated strong leadership skills as a Farm Bureau leader,” Spradling said. “She is personable and a great communicator.” Krehbiel was nominated by Sen. Tom Ivester who praised her qualifications. “Karen definitely has the skills and knowledge to serve on this board and it was my honor to sponsor her nomination,” Ivester said. Krehbiel has the unique distinction of being the first woman to serve on the agriculture board. “I am honored to serve as both a female and an agricultural producer,” Krehbiel said.
Karen Krehbiel (center) meets with Sen. Tom Ivester (left) and OFB President Mike Spradling after her appointment confirmation hearing at the state Capitol.
Member Benefits • Stroke Prevention Plus is a mobile vascular screening company that offers OFB members a discount on screenings for stroke, abdominal aortic aneurysm, peripheral vascular disease and osteoporosis. Contact your local county Farm Bureau office today to learn more. OFB highlights a benefit in each issue of Perspective as a reminder of the savings available to OFB members. Find a complete list of savings online at okfarmbureau.org.
OFB Calendar Oklahoma Legislature Adjourns May 31 • Oklahoma City Contact: John Collison, (405) 523-2539 OFB Safety Camp Applications Due May 31 • Oklahoma City Contact: Justin Greggo, (405) 523-2391 OFB Safety Camp June 11-13 • Stroud Contact: Justin Greggo, (405) 523-2391
By Marla Peek, OFB Director of Regulatory Affairs Since 1995, Oklahoma Farm Bureau members in northwestern and the panhandle of Oklahoma have been concerned about the potential listing of the Lesser Prairie Chicken as threatened under the Endangered Species Act. The LEPC is a prairie bird in the grouse family and is considered a candidate species under the Act. About half of LEPCs are thought to live in Kansas, with the remainder in Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico and Colorado. In previous years, species with higher priority kept the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service from listing the LEPC. However, complying with a court ordered schedule in November of last year, the Service proposed to list the LEPC as “threatened,” with a final determination due by Sept. 30, 2013. A “threatened” species is one likely to become endangered in the foreseeable future. There are more regulatory options for a “threat-
Oklahoma Farm Bureau Online Monitor the latest Farm Bureau and agricultural news and information online at okfarmbureau.org. Currently online: • Agricultural News – Oklahoma Farm Bureau features a new agriculturerelated story every day on its site. Read about both AFBF and state Farm Bureau news by visiting the homepage. • Legislative Update – The Oklahoma State Legislature will be ending soon. See the OFB homepage for a link to the public policy division’s bill tracking site.
ened” species than an “endangered” species. Species that are listed as “threatened” give the Service the authority to tailor “take” prohibitions to the conservation needs of the species. For example, if the Service puts a 4(d) rule in place if the LEPC is listed as threatened, it’s possible the Service would allow “take” associated with routine farming and ranching operations because they are not a significant threat to the species and because maintaining working farms and ranches on the landscape is important for the recovery of the LEPC. The definition of “take” includes to harass, harm, hunt, shoot, wound, kill, trap, capture, collect or attempt to engage in any such conduct. “Harm” within the definition of “take” means an act that actually kills or injures protected wildlife, and could include significant habitat modification or degradation where it actually kills or injures wildlife by significantly impairing essential behavior patterns like breeding, feeding, or sheltering. For a couple of years, Oklahoma federal and state legislators, agencies, non-governmental organizations, universities, landowners and individuals have been working to prevent the listing of the LEPC. U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe, in particular, asked the director of the Service, Dan Ashe, to participate in a hearing in Woodward to hear how Oklahomans are conserving the species. Oklahoma adopted its own LEPC Conservation Plan under the leadership of the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation. OFB worked closely with the ODWC in drafting Oklahoma’s Candidate Conservation Agreement with Assurances for Agriculture. In the CCAA, ODWC has a legal agreement with Service. Agricultural producers may participate in the CCAA through a Certificate of Inclusion. CCAAs provide incentives for non-federal landowners to engage in voluntary proactive (See Legislative, page 4)
Rural youth join fight to combat childhood hunger During a press conference on May 1 at the Oklahoma FFA Convention, the Oklahoma Farm Bureau and Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma recognized members of the Hobart FFA and 4-H for donating livestock and money to the Beef for Backpacks project. The Hobart youth received a $500 cash award from the Diamond Hats, a group of women leaders dedicated to improving the lives of Oklahoma’s rural youth through the livestock industry. Each year they provide valuable scholarships for Oklahoma’s youth and this year sponsored a contest for FFA and 4-H groups that accumulated the most points based on animals and money donated to the Beef for Backpacks project. “We are proud of the leadership exhibited by the Hobart youth and their strong desire to help others,” said Monica Wilke, executive director of the Oklahoma Farm Bureau and Oklahoma’s Farming and Ranching Foundation. Wilke is also a member of the Diamond Hats. “I especially want to applaud the Diamond Hats for their creative idea of
sponsoring a contest promoting the Beef for Backpacks project,” Wilke said. The Hobart youth donated livestock and cash valued at $1,152.61 to the project. “We would like to issue a challenge to other 4-H and FFA members to double Members of the Hobart FFA chapter present or even triple our a check to Rodney Bivens (center), executive donation this year, “ director of the Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma. said Chandler Smith, Representatives from Oklahoma Farm Bureau and president of the HoDiamond Hats are also pictured. bart FFA chapter. homa’s Farming and Ranching Foundation, The Beef for Backpacks project provides protein sticks for the Regional Food Bank’s Oklahoma Beef Council, OSU’s Food and Food for Kids Program. Every weekend, the Agricultural Products Center, Oklahoma protein sticks are distributed into backpacks Pork Council, Ralph’s Meat Co. in Perkins and Chickasha Meats. to help meet the dietary needs of chroniThe project has been expanded to include cally hungry children. The project is a joint pork, and to date, more than 55 head of liveeffort with the Oklahoma Farm Bureau, stock have been donated to the project. Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma, Okla-
Sen. AJ Griffin (left) and Rep. Mike Sanders visit with constituents from Blaine and Kingfisher Counties during a Farm Bureau legislative dinner at the Chisolm Trail VoTech in Omega, May 9. Sen. Tom Ivester also spoke during the event.
Thank You! A special thank you to all county members and OFB staff who participated in the 2013 Farm City Festival on April 23. We appreciate your time and support as we work to educate our state’s leaders about the Oklahoma agricultural industry. Sincerely, The OFB Leadership Team
OFB President Mike Spradling (center) accepts the Oklahoma FFA VIP Award from state officers during the state FFA convention, April 30. The award is the highest honor given to adult supporters of FFA. Sen. Bryce Marlatt (right) answers questions from District 7 Farm Bureau members during a trip to the state Capitol, May 9. The group also met with Speaker Pro Tempore Mike Jackson, Rep. Dale DeWitt, Rep. John Enns and Rep. Jeff Hickman during the visit.
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(Legislative, from page 2) conservation. Enrolling in a CCAA gives landowners who agree to implement conservation measures the assurance that they will not be asked to do more if the candidate species is listed. The CCAA planning area in Oklahoma includes all or portions of Alfalfa, Beaver, Beckham, Cimarron, Custer, Dewey, Ellis, Harper, Major, Roger Mills, Texas, Washita, Woods and Woodward Counties. While Oklahoma was completing its Conservation Plan, all five states with the LEPC area drafted a Rangewide LEPC Conservation Plan. One aspect of the Rangewide Plan is the creation of a Metric, which quantifies impact units (debits) and mitigation units (credits). The Metric provides a science-based foundation upon which a compensatory offset program can be implemented for LEPCs. For example, landowners provide credits for having LEPCs or LEPC habitat. Industry, like oil
and gas, for example, create debits because they are impacting LEPC habitat. The concept of the Metric is to provide a mechanism for landowners to be compensated for conserving LEPCs and their habitat, while industry can buy enough credits to mitigate the effect of conducting their business in LEPC habitat. Concerns have been raised about the proposed Rangewide Plan Metric having too much overhead going to the Western Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies, the program administrator. Also, the Rangewide Plan has predetermined prices for credits and debits. OFB has been following the progress of another group that is setting up a Conservation Habitat Exchange, a similar program created by agricultural and environmental organizations and industry which will be based upon a free-market system. In the Exchange, agreements will be based upon how much sellers will accept and buyers will pay. Some believe the overhead is much lower in the Exchange proposal than in the Rangewide Plan, resulting in more money
U.S. Rep. Frank Lucas (center) visits with OFB Director Roland Pederson (left) and Major County FB President Scott Neufeld during an OSU Wheat Field Day in Lahoma, May 10. More than 300 people attended the event and heard Lucas speak about the farm bill’s progress.
for landowners. The draft Habitat Exchange Plan will be publicly available soon. On May 6, the Service proposed a special 4(d) rule which would allow “take” of LEPC activities that are incidental to activities for farmers and ranchers that are carried out through USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service’s Lesser Prairie-Chicken Initiative and activities included in comprehensive prairie-chicken conservation plans developed by or in coordination with state wildlife agencies. Many believe the publication of the 4(d) rule is a strong signal the Service intends to list the LEPC. The 4(d) proposal also requests information from the public about what areas should be “critical habitat” - areas which are considered essential to the survival of the species. The 4(d) rule would only be implemented if the LEPC were to be listed. Comments on the proposed 4(d) rule will be accepted until June 20, 2013. For additional information contact Marla Peek at 405-523-2437 or Marla.Peek@okfb.org.
AFBF newspaper available via email The American Farm Bureau Federation is no longer printing its monthly newspaper FBNews but will email it to those who subscribe online. To subscribe, go to AFBF’s website www.fb.org and look for the FBNews box in the upper right corner. Follow the directions in the box to become a subscriber. There is no charge to receive the digital edition.