NORMAN—American Farmers & Ranchers/Oklahoma Farmers Union (AFR/OFU) hosted the organization’s 116th annual state convention at the Embassy Suites & Conference Center – Norman Feb. 12-13. The event was virtual, with the exception of in-person adoption of AFR/OFU legislative policy and officer elections.
“This year’s event is unlike any previous convention,” said AFR/OFU Cooperative President Scott Blubaugh. “While we can’t bring everyone together this year, we’re glad to find a format that allows us to take care of necessary business and elect organization leadership.”
This year, member delegates voted on two contested seats on the AFR/OFU Board of Directors—Northwest District 1 Agent Director and Southwest District 2 Independent Director. Additionally, the seats AFR/OFU Southeast District 4 Agent Director and OFU Vice President were filled by candidates who ran unopposed.
In the race for Northwest District 1 Agent Director Director, incumbent Kyndell Nichols, Ringwood, was defeated by challenger John Porter, Edmond. Porter is the former OFU Vice President.
Porter is a third-generation AFR Insurance agent with more than 35 years with AFR/OFU. He served as AFR/OFU Cooperative Vice President from 2010 to 2021, opting not to run for re-election this year. He attended the University of Central Oklahoma, was a member of the Oklahoma National Guard, has been inducted into the Oklahoma Softball Hall of Fame as a player, and is a retired Oklahoma High School basketball and football referee.
The Southwest District 2 Independent Director seat did not have an incumbent—AFR/OFU Director Joe Ed Kinder retired this year and chose not to seek an additional term. In that race, Johnny Mann, Stratford, and Ethan Treadwell, Frederick, were defeated by Brett Morris, Ninnekah.
A former dairyman, Morris now runs a diversified farming and cattle operation and the Washita Fertilizer Company. He has been active with AFR/OFU since the early 1990s and currently serves as the organization’s representative on the Oklahoma Beef Council. In 2017, he was elected chairman of the Cattlemen’s Beef Board; he has been involved with the Beef Checkoff since 2007.
Landon Jestis, Bokchito, ran unopposed for the Southeast District 4 Agent Director seat. Jestis owns Jestis Insurance Agency in Durant and earned a degree from East Central University in Ada. He has a long career in the insurance industry, including stints as an independent adjuster, a property claims adjuster, and now as an agency owner.
Ryan Plemmons, Broken Bow, ran unopposed for the OFU Vice President seat. Plemmons is originally from Battiest and earned a degree from Oklahoma State University. He currently owns the Plemmons Insurance Agency in Broken Bow. He has been deeply involved in AFR/OFU Cooperative activities for several years, including chairing the AFR/OFU Policy Committee, initiating the AFR/OFU Livestock Judging Contest, lobbying at the State Capitol and on legislative fly-ins to Washington, D.C., and facilitating many other youth and legislative activities.
AFR/OFU Cooperative is a membership services organization established in 1905 as Oklahoma Farmers Union. AFR/OFU provides educational, legislative and cooperative programs across the state and serves as a watchdog for Oklahoma’s family farmers and ranchers and rural communities. The organization is actively supportive of the state’s agricultural industry and rural population with membership consisting of farmers actively involved in production agriculture and non-farmers adding their voice in support of AFR/OFU principles.