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Oklahoma Farm Bureau president concerned about budget cuts, inaction on farm policy

Mike Spradling made his annual trip to Capitol Hill as President Barack Obama proposed deep budget cuts.
by Chris Casteel Published: April 16, 2013

Spradling said the agriculture industry is willing to give up direct payments “to do our part to balance the budget.” But, he said, the crop insurance cuts, particularly after severe and long-lasting drought in Oklahoma, could be tougher to handle.

Two years of drought have drained the resources of many farmers, he said, and some would have gone out of business without crop insurance.

While in Washington, Spradling said he is set to meet with the two new members of Oklahoma's congressional delegation, both of whom are more conservative on spending matters than their predecessors.

Reps. Jim Bridenstine, R-Tulsa, and Markwayne Mullin, R-Westville, are “going to need a little bit of encouragement and education,” Spradling said. “Not to say they're ignorant of (farm policy), but they just haven't been exposed to it.”

Easing tensions

Spradling said concerns about some proposed rule changes by the Obama administration have been allayed, at least temporarily. Farmers had been worried that the Environmental Protection Agency was going to impose tougher rules on dust and that the Labor Department was going to make it harder for young people to work on farms.

Farmers are now backing immigration reform, he said, that would give agriculture a reliable source of legal workers.

by Chris Casteel
Washington Bureau
Chris Casteel began working for The Oklahoman's Norman bureau in 1982 while a student at the University of Oklahoma. After covering the police beat, federal courts and the state Legislature in Oklahoma City, he moved to Washington in 1990, where...
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The longer we go, the less money we'll have to work with.”

Mike Spradling,
Oklahoma Farm Bureau President

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