agriculture Several members of the Farm Bureau family have brought lessons learned on the farm to the steps of the state Capitol.
Lonnie Paxton Tuttle, Oklahoma Senate District 23
by Hannah Nemecek photos by Dustin Mielke
klahoma has deep roots in farming and ranching, the backbone of the state’s economy. Family farmers and ranchers across the state produce an abundance of high-quality food and fiber for the state and the world, contributing billions of dollars to the state economy. But only 33 percent of the state’s population resides in rural Oklahoma, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, and an even smaller percentage makes their living on the farm.
Oklahoma Farm Bureau has cultivated a strong voice for its members at 23rd and Lincoln in Oklahoma City, but protecting agriculture and rural Oklahoma has become increasingly difficult. As Oklahomans become further removed from the farm, the state Capitol needs legislators familiar with production agriculture and rural Oklahoma. Three members of the OKFB family – Roland Pederson, Lonnie Paxton and Chris Kidd – were
elected to serve in the Oklahoma Senate last November, boosting the more than 30 Farm Bureau members already serving in the Legislature. “People don’t really understand what we do,” said Sen. Pederson, a former OKFB state board member. “Most Oklahomans are about two to three generations away from the farm already. The gap is only going to grow.” Pederson is a second-generation farmer from Burlington, Oklahoma, who produces wheat, alfalfa, hay,