Saturday, September 24, 2016

Russell Turner: vote yes on SQ777


by Russell Turner

With the general election getting closer I have been watching the debates on the upcoming state questions that will be on the Oklahoma ballot. One of particular interest to me is SQ 777, more commonly known as the right to farm bill. Having lived my entire life on the farm I feel that I have a perspective on the issue that many people do not.

Among the groups that are the most anti SQ777 are the environmental enthusiasts. It is a noble thing to want to protect the environment, we farmers and ranchers also care for the environment, sadly most of the radical environmentalists have set their collective sights on the rural farmers and ranchers. We farmers and ranchers are under constant financial pressures that few people understand. Over the past several months there has been a constant barrage of stories on the news media about the low pay of Oklahoma teachers; while their salary may be considered low, many farmers would think they were in Hog Heaven if they were able to net what an Oklahoma teacher is paid. In this country society has developed an attitude that the farmer should be content to wear old patched clothes and just barely get by. Anytime more regulations are passed it puts more pressure on the farming class, on the other hand all of these people screaming to the top of their lungs don’t have a tired dime involved.

Just recently a law was passed in California (SB 1383) that requires the state to cut methane emissions from dairy cows and other animals by 40% by 2030. While their Moon Beam governor Jerry Brown thinks this law is a good thing, there is no known method for achieving the type of reduction sought by SB 1383. Compliance with the bill will likely require California dairies to install “methane digesters” that convert the organic matter in manure into methane. These methane digesters are expensive, and with California producing 20% of the country’s milk the legislature of California has just passed another massive “food tax” on the entire country.

I have come to the conclusion that if the radical environmentalists had their way there would be very little food grown in this country. All they can suggest is for the farmer to become more efficient, but I want to give all of you a revelation - there is only so much efficiency that can be achieved on a limited budget. If all of the environmentalists are so devoted to the cause maybe they would not mind paying more for their vegetables and meats. I would lay odds that the environmentalists would be the first to complain when their milk and egg prices go up. The farmers of this state and nation deserve to make a decent wage and be able to set aside some funds for their retirement years and also make enough to pay for healthcare. Don’t take my word on this issue; just ask some of the local farmers in your area, they will all tell you the same thing. 

SQ 777 is simply a way to prevent the demise of the farming industry in Oklahoma. The real problem stems back to the people that we have been electing to represent us in the state legislature. Very few legislators have any connection with the land, nor have they had to sweat and toil for the small amount of money that the small farmer actually makes.  I for one will vote yes on SQ777.  


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