Scott Blubaugh, Tonkawa, Okla., rancher and AFR president, has been elected to serve on the National Farmers Union Executive Committee. The selection was announced at the recent NFU convention in Seattle, WA.
“I am excited to represent Oklahoma and I am looking forward to serving agriculture on a national scale,” Blubaugh said.
The NFU Executive Committee is comprised of the NFU Secretary, Treasurer, four committee chairs and two at-large members. Blubaugh will fill one of the at-large positions. The committee hears proposals and recommends actions for the full NFU board of Directors. They can also act on behalf of the board in select circumstances.
Blubaugh was also selected to serve on three standing NFU committees, the Education/Co-Op, Legislative and NFU Foundation committees.
The committee work is in addition to Blubaugh’s service on the full NFU board of directors.
Blubaugh and his family own and operate a registered Angus business near Tonkawa, in the heart of their diversified 3,500 acre farm and ranch, which encompasses Osage, Kay and Noble counties.
NFU is a general farm organization including family farmers, fishers and ranchers across the country, with formally organized divisions in 33 states. Oklahoma is the largest NFU affiliate, representing more than 100,000 members.
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Love and Beckham County AFR organizations received the coveted AFR 5 Star Award during the annual AFR/OFU convention, Feb. 16, in Norman.

“We talk a lot about our grass roots activity because this is what makes us different from some other groups,” said Terry Detrick, AFR/OFU president. “Our ability to serve local communities while at the same time promoting issues that benefit everyone starts at the local and county level.”

In an effort to recognize the many great things county AFR/OFU organizations do each year, AFR created a system that highlights four key areas:

  • County Officers and Board of Directors organized and become actively engaged county-wide.
  • Actively promote and support AFR Policy Positions county-wide.
  • Actively recruit, promote, and support AFR Youth Programs and Adult Education.
  • Create and Implement new ways to support AFR in improving rural and community life in Oklahoma.

County groups achieving 100 percent of these key areas receive the top award.

In Beckham County, efforts by AFR members included:

  • Hosting the 19th annual Eggs and Issues Breakfast at the Elk City Farm and Home Expo which featured a robust discussion of issues by local and state officials.
  • They raised funds to support their local hospital which was originally built by the Farmers Union.
  • They supported and raised funds for area rural fire departments totaling more than $2,250.
  • They sponsored the annual Beckham County Wellness Week which focuses on improving health for area residents.
  • They sponsored two blood drives as part of the on-going effort by the AFR Women’s Cooperative to save lives through blood donations.

Equally impressive was the work accomplished by AFR members in Love County which included:

  • AFR members donated time and money to make the annual Frontier Days parade and weekend celebration a wonderful event for the entire community.
  • Love County Local 300 provided funds for cancer research.
  • They raised approximately $15,000 for the annual Love County Junior Livestock Auction.
  • They worked with local elementary schools to encourage 80 entries in the annual AFR Youth poster contest.
  • Local 741 donated $500 to the Love County Rehabilitation Team, which supports local volunteer fire fighters and emergency responders.

“This is just a short list of all the great things Beckham and Love Counties have done this past year,” Detrick said. “I know there are other AFR members out there with the same commitment to service as demonstrated by these two counties.  I strongly encouraged you to think about all the ways you help your local community.”

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PHOTO CAPTION:  AFR President Terry Detrick, left, presented Love and Beckham County AFR organizations with the coveted AFR 5 Star Award during the annual AFR/OFU convention, Feb. 16, in Norman. Pictured with Detrick is Cody Crow, Beckham County, and Murray McMurray, Love County.

 

 

The 2018 AFR poster contest attracted more than 5,000 Oklahoma elementary school students, indicating the popularity of a project that has endured through several decades of Oklahoma families. The poster winners were announced at the recent AFR/OFU Convention, Feb. 16, in Norman, Okla.

“This is a fun and educational way for students to learn about agriculture,” said Micaela Danker, AFR/OFU youth development coordinator. “We are impressed with the many creative ways students expressed our theme, ‘fresh from the farm,’ with their original artwork.”

Guidelines for the poster contest included:

  • Posters must solely be the work of the student.
  • Students may use crayons, markers, pens, pencils, etc.
  • Posters were judged on originality, creativity, neatness, content and overall effect.
  • There were two age divisions: Division I: Grades 1st and 2nd; and Division II: Grades 3rd and 4th.
  • Visa gift cards were awarded to students in each division: First Place: $100; Second Place: $75; Third, Fourth & Fifth Place: $50.

The winners are:

Division I

1st          KJ Smith, Canton Elementary, Canton

2nd        Markie Hallmark, W.R. Teague Elementary, Wagoner

3rd         Brady Miller, Maryetta Elementary, Stilwell

4th         Tate Clawson, Dahlonegah Elementary, Stilwell

5th         Amalyn Switzer, Leedey Elementary, Leedey

 

Division II

1st          Lawson Wells, Maryetta Elementary, Stilwell

2nd        Kairi Ann Harris, Wright City Elementary, Wright City

3rd         Taylor Little, Carnegie Elementary, Carnegie

4th         Makinlee Carpenter, Leedey Elementary, Leedey

5th         Lindzee Wessels, Cherokee Elementary, Cherokee

 

PHOTO CAPTION:  Pictured are four of the winners from Division II, left to right, Kairi Ann Harris, Wright City Elementary; Taylor Little, Carnegie Elementary; Makinlee Carpenter, Leedey Elementary; Lindzee Wessels, Cherokee Elementrary;

 

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AFR Women’s Cooperative blood drive drives saved 5,292 lives in 2018 with a total of 59 blood drives held across the state. This announcement was made February 16th during the 2019 AFR Convention at the Embassy suites Hotel and Conference Center in Norman.

“This is simply amazing,” said Pam Livingston, 2018 AFR Women’s Cooperative Chair. “We are grateful for our blood drive hosts and donors who made this happen.”

The AFR Women’s Cooperative elected to partner with Oklahoma Blood Institute to increase awareness for the need of donating blood as their 2018 initiative. As the nation’s 9th largest non-profit blood center, Oklahoma Blood Institute relies solely on 1,200 volunteer blood donors a day to meet the needs of patients at more than 160 hospitals and medical facilities statewide. This was made possible by AFR agencies, counties and locals hosting blood drives across the state.

At the Women’s Cooperative awards program the following agencies, counties and locals were recognized for their outstanding efforts.

Most New Donors: 1st – Coweta Insurance Agency, 2nd – Cherokee Farmers Union, 3rd Hofschulte Insurance Services

Most Total Participants: 1st – Coweta Insurance Services, 2nd Cherokee County Farmers Union, 3rd – Ellison Group – Watonga OFU Local 504

Most Young Donors: 1st Cherokee County Farmers Union, 2nd Coweta Insurance Agency, 3rd tie – Haskell Insurance Agency and Detrick Insurance Agency

In addition to agency, county and local blood drives, the AFR Women’s Cooperative hosted blood drives at the AFR Convention, the Oklahoma Youth Expo, Oklahoma State FFA Convention and the Tulsa State Fair.

Serving rural communities is a cornerstone of AFR.

 

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Voting delegates representing all Oklahoma AFR/OFU groups elected a new president and three board of directors during the business session Feb. 16 during the 114th annual AFR/OFU convention in Norman, Okla.

Elected to serve a 3-year term as President was Scott Blubaugh, Tonkawa, Okla.

“I want to continue the great tradition of AFR/OFU being the voice of family farmers and be an advocate for farmers and ranchers throughout the state and nation,” Blubaugh said.

Blubaugh is a lifelong resident of Kay County where he and wife Lisa operate a family ranch near Tonkawa. Each year they host an annual Registered Angus production sale in the heart of their diversified 3,500 acre farm and ranch, which encompasses Osage, Kay and Noble counties.

Dustin Tackett, Ft. Cobb, Okla., was elected to the board of directors.  Tackett farms the land his grandfather bought in 1913. They raise commercial Red Angus cattle and grow wheat, hay and pumpkins. He has served as an AFR Insurance agent since 2004.

Also elected to the board was Jim Shelton, Vinita, Okla. His family operates a 3,500 acre commercial cow/calf and stocker business.  He has also had a successful banking career with the Oklahoma State Bank of Vinita.

Re-elected to board of directors was Mason Mungle, Norman, Okla. He was a partner in a family dairy farm in Atoka, Oklahoma, and is still involved in the operation of a cow/calf operation on the family farm in Atoka.

Rural voters should have more input on education funding, there should be a better definition of what constitutes meat, and support for a robust animal identification system for livestock were among the key resolutions passed during the business session.

Other resolutions passed include:

  • Better access for rural healthcare, especially keeping rural hospitals functioning in a challenging environment.
  • Support for farmers’ “right to repair” modern machinery and equipment.
  • Urge the Oklahoma Legislature to preserve current property tax system without adding additional financial burden for agricultural landowners.
  • Support an increase in state funding to retain quality staffing at the OSU Division of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources.
  • The Legislature should address legal uncertainties with both medical marijuana and industrial hemp.

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Scott Blubaugh, Tonkawa, Okla., was elected AFR/OFU president by voting delegates during the organization’s annual business session, Feb. 16, in Norman.

Blubaugh is taking over the reins from Terry Detrick who retired after 10 years at the helm.  The Ames, Okla., farmer and rancher had served the organization for over 30 years in various leadership roles.

“I want to continue the great tradition of AFR/OFU being the voice of family farmers and be an advocate for farmers and ranchers throughout the state and nation,” Blubaugh said.

Acknowledging this is a tough economic time for agriculture producers, Blubaugh offered some words of encouragement.

“Keep fighting, keep producing food and fiber and we’ll work on getting the market turned around,” Blubaugh said.

He pledged to spend time at the capitols in Oklahoma City and Washington, D.C., working and representing rural and agriculture issues.

Blubaugh is a lifelong resident of Kay County where he and wife Lisa operate a family ranch near Tonkawa. Each year they host an annual Registered Angus production sale in the heart of their diversified 3,500 acre farm and ranch, which encompasses Osage, Kay and Noble counties.

Scott has an extensive AFR/OFU background, working as OFU field representative and he and Lisa own an AFR Insurance agency in Tonkawa. He has also served on the Board of Directors for AFR Insurance.

The northern Oklahoma rancher took a one year leave of absence to serve as an Agricultural and Rural Community advisor for U.S. Rep. Richard Gephardt.

Other leadership positions held by Blubaugh include serving on the Farmer’s Cooperative board of directors, Northern Oklahoma College Agricultural Advisor committee, Kay County AFR president and is a graduate of the OSU Agricultural Leadership Program Class XI. He holds membership in the Oklahoma Cattlemen’s Association, American Angus Association, Oklahoma Angus Association and Oklahoma Ag Credit.

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Rural voters should have more input on education funding,  there should be a better definition of what constitutes meat, and support for a robust animal identification system for livestock are among the key resolutions up for adoption by voting delegates at the 2019 AFR/OFU annual business session, Feb. 16 at the Embassy Suites Hotel, Norman, Okla.

The issues were pared down from the more than 30 resolutions submitted by county AFR/OFU organizations across Oklahoma. The process was completed by the AFR/OFU Policy Committee which wrapped up their efforts Jan. 23 in Oklahoma City.

“This is true grass roots policy development,” said Wayne Herriman, Tulsa, policy committee chairman.

“All of these proposed policies came from county AFR/OFU organizations and brought to this committee to work on prior to our annual business session in February,” Herriman said.

Other policies up for discussion include:

  • Support for rural healthcare, especially keeping rural hospitals functioning in a challenging environment.
  • Support for farmers’ “right to repair” modern machinery and equipment.
  • Urge the Oklahoma Legislature to preserve current property tax system without adding additional financial burden for agricultural landowners.
  • Support an increase in state funding to retain quality staffing at the OSU Division of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources.
  • Keep medical marijuana separate from recreational marijuana.

“At the end of the business we will have our “bible” representing what we will stand for and will be our marching orders for the coming year,” said Terry Detrick, AFR/OFU president.

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“New Day, New Vision” is the theme for the 114th annual convention of the AFR/OFU Feb. 15-17, at the Embassy Suites Hotel, Norman, Okla.

“We expect a large crowd of members from around the state to participate in this year’s convention,” Terry Detrick, AFR/OFU president said.

One of the reasons for the expected large turnout is the election of directors and officer positions. This year voting delegates will elect a new president to lead the AFR/OFU Cooperative.  In addition, there are three board positions to be decided.

Detrick is retiring after 10 years at the helm.  The Ames, Okla., farmer and rancher has served the organization for over 30 years in various leadership roles. A special reception and retirement presentations are scheduled for Saturday evening, Feb. 16.

Voting delegates will also vote on a large slate of policy issues during the business session.  Among the issues to be discussed include immigration, trade, hemp production, energy production taxes, education funding, improving rural infrastructure and the definition of meat.

Heading the list of distinguished speakers at this year’s convention is Roger Johnson, president of the National Farmers Union, Scott Biggs, state director, Oklahoma Farm Service Agency, USDA, Blayne Arthur, Oklahoma Secretary of Agriculture, and Neil Alldredge, senior vice president, corporate affairs for National Association of Mutual Insurance Companies (NAMIC).

A special youth leadership session is scheduled for Feb. 16 and will be led by well-known youth leadership trainers Marty Jones and Lawson Thompson.

A unique feature at this convention will be the AFR Women’s Council blood drive beginning Saturday morning at 9 a.m. Donors can download Oklahoma Blood Institute permission forms at  www.afrcoop.org/womans-cooperative.

A Saturday afternoon breakout session on market enhancement for Oklahoma agriculture will include presentations from the state’s commodity organizations.

A video presentation by U.S. Sen. James Lankford (R-OK) will highlight the Sunday morning worship and memorial service.

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Located between Oklahoma City and Tulsa, AFR member and legislative leader Kevin Wallace has created a hunter’s paradise in Wellston, Okla. Nestled among the oak filled timber, trophy white-tailed deer freely roam a combined 650 acres.

Wallace is chairman of the Oklahoma House Appropriations and Budget Committee and represents District 32 in northeast Oklahoma. The businessman said he wasn’t raised in the world of politics or deer farming, but the two go hand in hand.

With a background in construction, he decided to take a chance and purchase five white-tailed deer in 2003 from a farmer in Ohio.

“About this time, there was a big scare with CWD [Chronic Wasting Disease],” Wallace said. “I applied for the permits to get them into the state and they [Oklahoma Department of Agriculture] just started their own set of rules requiring 12 months of CWD surveillance but the farmer only had 11 months.”

Taking matters into his own hands, Wallace joined Whitetails of Oklahoma, an association dedicated to the betterment and promotion of any business associated with raising deer. Not long after joining, he was placed on their board of directors and legislative committee.

“At this point in time, the entire industry was under the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation,” Wallace said. “Together, we worked with the wildlife department and the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture to put the breeding under agriculture and the hunting under wildlife.”

Not long after, Wallace became a member of the North American Deer Farmers Association and began lobbying on a national level to have a cohesive set of rules implemented for CWD in all states. At the time, each state had their own set of rules that didn’t necessarily align.

“It was all because of deer that I got involved in legislation and became politically active,” said Wallace

Since becoming a State Representative in 2014, Wallace has served as the Appropriations and Budget Chair and was the House Co-chair for the Joint Committee on Appropriations and Budget. Wallace played a vital role in the passing of the largest teacher pay raise in state history while serving as the Appropriations and Budget Chair for the last two years.

When he’s not walking the halls of the Oklahoma State Capitol, Wallace can be found at one of his several businesses including a commercial cattle operation, Wallahachie Whitetails LLC, The Wilderness Refuge or his construction company.

Wallahachie Whitetails LLC is a breeding operation of around 50 white-tailed deer located on 160 high fenced acres. With state-of-the-art equipment, Wallace has one of the top breeding facilities in the state. He prides himself on making the health and safety of each animal his highest priority.

“On the breeding side, we regularly perform DNA testing, embryo transfers, artificial insemination, and semen storage just like bull semen,” Wallace said. “It’s based on the style of a commercial cattle operation.

“If there wasn’t a hunting market, there wouldn’t be a breeding market,” Wallace said.

The Wilderness Refuge, located on 500 high fenced acres, draws in hunters from across the country, and even as far away as Hawaii, for their chance to take home a trophy white-tailed deer. Wallace has even built a large custom lodge available for customers to stay in during their hunting trip.

Nearly 15 years since making his initial purchase of five white-tailed deer, life is drastically different than Wallace could have ever imagined for himself.

“Never get your focus so set that you’re not able to adapt and change to situations,” Wallace said. “Just like with politics, I never planned on being in politics but I’m very happy to be here now.  I think it was meant to be and I’m here for a reason.

“I love white-tailed deer and that’s part of my passion but I also enjoy serving my district and representing the state of Oklahoma.”

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PHOTO CAPTION:

With the safety of his animals being his highest priority, Wallace uses an enclosed chute system to ensure his white-tailed deer remain calm during routine checks. High amounts of stress can lead to capture myopathy (over-production of enzymes), which in high enough doses can be fatal.