OKLAHOMA CITY—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 will host its first issues forum to discuss the consolidation of packing plants in the beef industry Nov. 10, 5-8 p.m., at Redlands Community College in El Reno, Okla.

The event will highlight 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 feel that it’s important to further educate Oklahomans on this critical issue.”

Scheduled speakers at the event are NFU President Rob Larew, AFR/OFU Cooperative President Scott Blubaugh, and beef market analyst Corbitt Wall. Former Oklahoma Governor David Walters will also address the group on rural issues. All presentations will be made during the in-person, limited capacity event and streamed through live video to alleviate COVID-19 concerns.

“With pandemic restrictions on the number of folks who can attend the event in person, we will be livestreaming this event on the internet,” Pope said. “We can only have 40 people in attendance at the school, so we are allowing seating on a first-come, first-served basis.”

Those planning to attend are asked to RSVP by Nov. 1 by contacting Clay Pope at 405-699-2087 or claygpope@gmail.com. There is no charge to attend the forum. Registration will begin at 6 p.m. at the Redlands Community College Conference Center, 1300 S. Country Club Rd., El Reno, Okla.

The live stream can be accessed through the Oklahoma Rural Small Town Table of Common Interest YouTube channel at https://youtube.com/channel/UCHsBXmtjL10iAAXgXLAAUpA. The meeting will also be recorded and made available for future viewing.

For more information on the beef industry concentration issues forum or 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.