Chickashanews.com

Opinion

December 4, 2013

Agricultural protection measures key to state’s economic future

CHICKASHA —

The roots of agriculture run deep in Oklahoma and there is no question that our farmers and ranchers feed the world.  

Growing up on a small farm, I developed an interest in, and learned the value of, agriculture at an early age. My involvement in 4-H and FFA led me to Oklahoma where I studied Agricultural Economics at Oklahoma State University. My family continues to farm and ranch in Grady Co., and I currently serve as a member of the House Agriculture and Wildlife Committee. Recently, I was honored by the Oklahoma Farm Bureau as a 100 percent Club member for my work during the 2013 legislative session. Supporting agriculture and its many industries continues to be one of my top priorities at the Capitol.     

Last year I filed two measures that sought to protect our Oklahoma farmers and ranchers. First was House Joint Resolution 1006 and second was House Continuing Resolution 1012, both of which addressed the freedom to farm. HJR 1006 would allow voters the opportunity to decide in the 2014 election whether or not to amend the Oklahoma Constitution granting farmers and ranchers the Freedom to Farm. This amendment would guarantee Oklahomans the right to use modern farming practices without fear from animal rights activists, primarily funded by out of state interest groups, seeking to impose their radical views on producers in our state. The bill was heard by the House Rules Committee and passed 6-1.  Currently the bill is ready to be heard by the House chamber. HCR 1012 passed both the House of Representatives and the state Senate. This measure formally recognized that Oklahomans do have a Freedom to Farm, and no law should be passed that would infringe on the right of farmers and ranchers to employ agricultural technology and modern livestock production practices.  

Whether it is eco-terrorist groups that complain about the way we use our land or animal rights groups that claim we mistreat our livestock, our rural way of life is under attack. Last year at the state Capitol I saw firsthand how these groups operate. These out of state special interest groups should have no part in directing the practices of Oklahoma producers. Our successful Oklahoma farmers and ranchers truly care about their land and livestock. They are focused on exceptional animal welfare as their production is dependent on it. Farming and ranching are vital parts of society especially here in Oklahoma. Agriculture is one of the largest employers in the state, and we depend on these individuals to provide food for our tables. Supporting agriculture is essential, and we must work hard to preserve our rural way of life for our children and grandchildren.  

As always, I welcome any comments and suggestions you may have.   I truly enjoy the opportunity to serve as your State Representative and am looking forward to the upcoming session.    

Scott Biggs, R-Chickasha, serves District 51 of the Oklahoma House of Representatives. He can be reached by phone at (405) 557-7405 or via email at scott.biggs@okhouse.gov. 

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