EL RENO—In partnership with National Farmers Union (NFU) and American Farmers & Ranchers/Oklahoma Farmers Union (AFR/OFU) Cooperative, the newly-formed Oklahoma Rural and Small-Town Table of Common Interests hosted its first issues forum to discuss the consolidation of packing plants in the beef industry at Redlands Community College in El Reno, Okla., Nov. 10.

The event highlighted a major issue effecting the economic health of one of rural Oklahoma’s largest economic drivers—the beef industry.

“For years, the beef industry has wrestled with the issues of packer concentration, price discover and fair markets,” said Rural and Small-Town Table’s chairman, Clay Pope. “Now, with the pandemic shining a light on the vulnerability of the industry to processing bottlenecks, we felt it was important to further educate Oklahomans on this critical issue.”

Speakers at the event were NFU President Rob Larew, AFR/OFU Cooperative President Scott Blubaugh, and beef market analyst Corbitt Wall. Former Oklahoma Governor David Walters and Oklahoma Cattlemen’s Association Executive Vice President Michael Kelsey also addressed the group on rural issues.

All forum presentations were recorded and can be viewed at (https://youtube.com/channel/UCHsBXmtjL10iAAXgXLAAUpA). For more information on the Oklahoma Rural and Small-Town Table of Common Interests, contact Clay Pope at 405-699-2087 or claypope@pldi.net.

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.