EXECUTIVE OUTLOOK Strengthening the voice of agriculture By Monica Wilke Executive Director, Oklahoma Farm Bureau and Affiliated Companies
s a new year marches on, 2016 promises to be full of positive changes and exciting opportunities for Oklahoma Farm Bureau. We, at Oklahoma Farm Bureau, are known across the state as the voice of agriculture. Our goal this year is to strengthen that voice to all of Oklahoma, from the dirt roads of the panhandle to the streets of Oklahoma City and the steps of the state Capitol. We want to create one united voice for Farm Bureau and agriculture in Oklahoma. To do so, we are working to further merge the insurance with the federation. Our first step was to name Becky Samples our vice president of strategic corporate communications. She is working to improve communications with all of Farm Bureau. From the executive office to the individual member, she will help ensure every person affiliated with OKFB is armed with the latest Farm Bureau information. To boost our legislative voice, the public policy division created a new communications role to further educate and inform OKFB members, legislators and the general public of the importance of agriculture to Oklahoma. Our state leaders must realize the impact their laws and regulations have on the agriculture industry. Be on the lookout for a new outlet to stay informed and involved in the legislative session. We’re also proud of the number of Farm Bureau members and leaders seeking public office this year. This is just another example of OKFB using its voice to preserve and protect our agricultural heritage. If elected, we know each of the members running will serve as advocates for agriculture within the walls of the state Capitol.
The Oklahoma Farming and Ranching Foundation also is contributing to that voice for agriculture by educating students around the state through the Grown for You commodity trailer and the Bushels for Books program, which donates accurate agriculture books to Oklahoma schools. The citizens of our state—from kindergarteners to senior adults—must learn and understand our industry, and the Foundation is working to do just that. Find more about the Foundation on page 20. Our most important focus for the future of our state is State Question 777, — Monica Wilke or the Right to Farm. In November, Oklahomans will determine whether to protect the state’s second largest economic impact: agriculture. This constitutional amendment will ensure every Oklahoman continues to have access to a safe and affordable food supply. By preserving the freedom of farmers and ranchers to produce the food consumers demand, the right to farm also will protect the consumer’s right to choose. It is absolutely critical that we pass this state question. To learn more, turn to page 12 or contact our public policy department. All of these changes will equip Oklahoma Farm Bureau in remaining the state’s leader in agriculture. I’m proud of the direction we are headed and look forward to continually serving you, our member. Best wishes for a safe and happy 2016!
We are creating a stronger voice to speak for agriculture throughout Oklahoma.
8 — Oklahoma Country