by Matt Boyer, Beacon Hill Ranch, Vinita, OK
By now you have heard a lot about State Question 777, Oklahoma’s Right to Farm ballot question. On the yes side are family ranches like mine and the farmer/rancher-led organizations that we support with our time, energy, and dues.
On the no side are many attorneys, politicians, and deep-pocketed out of state organizations. I want to clear the air and state why my family ranch is 100 percent in favor of Right to Farm.
For years we in agriculture – farmers and ranchers alike – have noticed an increasingly aggressive anti-ag movement. Organizations like PETA and HSUS (The Humane Society of the United States, not affiliated with our local pet shelters) have grown from fringe activist groups to full-on interest groups with annual budgets well over $100 million. They use their factory fundraising operations to pump millions into campaign efforts all over the country that target farmers and ranchers. I believe they are manipulating voters with emotionally deceptive messages. I don’t mind changing our ranching practices when the consumer demands it, our family ranch is much different than when my father or grandfather ran it. But I do mind when government is used as a weapon against farmers and ranchers like us.
These organizations always have the same playbook – set up a local front organization, gather some like-minded allies and pour money into an effort to scare voters. Sound familiar?
Farmer-led organizations are rightfully standing up for their members and leading the charge on S.Q. 777. Organizations like Oklahoma Farm Bureau, Oklahoma Cattlemen’s, American Farmers and Ranchers, Oklahoma Ari-Women and too many more to mention in my limited space. These groups are made up by Oklahomans and for Oklahomans. Members sit on their boards of directors and they have the best interests of our state and our communities at heart. These groups are fighting for a “Yes” vote on S.Q. 777 because they are fighting for the livelihood of everyday Oklahomans.
They are fighting for our right to continue providing the food, fuel, and fiber that farmers and ranchers have provided for generations and, I pray, will continue to provide for generations to come.
I have personally chosen to speak out in favor of S.Q. 777 because I want my children and grandchildren to have the same opportunity to make their living caring for the land and animals that have made our ranch possible. It would be much easier to sit on the sidelines and let others do the fighting, but I fear that if I don’t speak out now in favor of S.Q. 777 that I will regret it for the rest of my life.
How should you vote on S.Q. 777? I think you need to ask yourself who you are listening to in this campaign. The other side has money and they are going to use that money to buy a lot of air time. What my side has is people – my family, my neighbors, and my community in Oklahoma agriculture. If you have any questions at all, please reach out to someone who makes their living in agriculture and ask them what they think of S.Q. 777. It doesn’t have to be a farmer or rancher – many people in transportation, in cooperatives, and in the business world make their living because of the growing and caring that starts on an Oklahoma farm or ranch. Ask us why we feel so passionately about agriculture and why we are working so hard to pass Oklahoma’s Right to Farm.
S.Q. 777 doesn’t change any laws on the books. It doesn’t give farmers and ranchers a blank check. It simply gives us some protection from the deep-pocketed special interests in the future. It gives me some certainty that my children will have the option to follow in my footsteps.
This story is adapted from Sponsored Content, via The City Sentinel.