This Week’s Vision Headlines: Vici Back on OWRB Agenda, Murdock Campaigns in Vici, Beef Checkoff Vote Nov 1st

Water Rotated

Vici  Public Works Authority’s application to Amend Groundwater Permit No 2004-532 has been in the Oklahoma Water Resources Board system for over two years now. It’s on the OWRB agenda again at a meeting scheduled November 1st in Norman.

State Senate District 27 candidate Casey Murdock stopped in Vici last week. He is currently the House Representative for District 61. We asked why he wanted to move from the House to the Senate and what his greatest accomplishment as a Representative has been.

The Oklahoma Beef Check Off is scheduled for a November 1st vote. If approved, an additional $1 per head would be paid by the seller with each change in ownership. Any producer who would be required to pay the assessment is eligible to vote at any county extension office.

These stories and more in this week’s Vici Vision.

 

Jean Bailey Confirms her Position Terminated at Dewey Co Extension

 

by Jennifer McCormick

At a Commissioner’s meeting on October 2nd, Dewey County Commissioners declined a request for additional funding by Oklahoma State University’s Cooperative Extension Service for the fiscal year July 1, 2017 through June 30, 2018.

 At the meeting Dr. Thomas Coon, Vice President of OSU’s Division of Ag Sciences said the number of full time extension agents at Dewey County would be reduced if a “contractual service fee” or increase in funding was not provided by Dewey County.

 Dewey County has allotted approximately $30,000 for maintenance and operations of the Dewey County Extension Office in the past and OSU has provided or paid two extension educators, currently Mike Weber and Jean Baily. Without the additional funding, Coon stated the Dewey County office would drop to one and one half educators.

 On October 4th, I contacted the Western District Extension Director, Dee Cooper to ask what if any action had been taken regarding personnel at Dewey County. At that time, Cooper said it would be a couple of weeks before any information was available. On October 20th Cooper was out of the office. On October 25th, Cooper said “I really cannot comment on any personnel actions in Dewey County.”

 On October 25th, a call to the Dewey County Extension Office was met with the same response, Extension Agent Mike Weber said, “I cannot comment at this time.”

 On October 25th, I contacted Dr. Tom Coon’s office at Oklahoma State University to ask what action had been taken regarding personnel in Dewey County. On the 26th, James Trapp an Associate Director of Extension Services responded by phone saying, “We will reduce staff in Dewey County by the end of the year. We are still considering alternatives.”

On October 27th, I contacted Extension Agent, Jean Bailey. Bailey said, “I was notified Tuesday afternoon (the 24th) by the District Director my services will be terminated at the Dewey County Office.”  It appears only one person is willing to say what is going on at the Dewey County Extension Office, and that person will be terminated.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Everyone loves a contest. A contest with prizes is even better! Visit your favorite vendor to pick up the newspaper today. You’ll find the Vision at: B-Mart, Bank of Vici, Blackhawk Quick Stop, County Line Supply, Marshalls Joint, Vici Grocery, Vici Quick Stop and Vici Restaurant.

Local Producers, What’s Your Opinion on the Beef Check Off

Checkoff

Oklahoma has proposed an additional $1.00 per head fee for the purpose of promoting beef. Currently, a national $1.00 per head fee is in place, with half going to a national program, the Cattlemen’s Beef Promotion and Research Board and half funding the Oklahoma Beef Council.

Heavy hitters have come out in favor of the beef checkoff: Oklahoma Cattlemens Association (OCA), American Farmers and Ranchers (AFR) and Oklahoma Farm Bureau to name a few.

But, does the Beef Council need 3 times the operating money it has now? What specifically would the money be used for?

In red below, FAQ from oklahomabeefcheckoff.com in favor of the check off.  In blue, info from  http://competitivemarkets.com/nocheckoffincrease/ opposed to the check off.

What is the Oklahoma Beef Checkoff? 

The Oklahoma Beef Checkoff is a producer funded and managed, state-level promotion, marketing, research and education program for beef and beef products.

Why is the Checkoff Needed?

The additional Oklahoma Beef Checkoff dollar would be a state, producer driven checkoff that would allow Oklahomans the ability to control what to do with that dollar. It would give Oklahoma producers a greater ability to market, promote and defend beef here at home and around the globe – something producers can’t do on an individual basis. 

Who will manage the money collected through the Oklahoma Beef Checkoff?

The Oklahoma Beef Council will serve as the management entity of the state-level checkoff program.  The Board is comprised of Oklahoma representatives who are appointed by the following: American Farmers and Ranchers, Oklahoma Dairy Producers Association, Oklahoma Cattlemen’s Association, Oklahoma CattleWomen Association, Oklahoma Farm Bureau, Oklahoma Livestock Marketing Association and the Chairman of the Oklahoma Senate and House Agriculture Committees.  

Are there safeguard measures to keep it from being misused? 

The Oklahoma Beef Council has implemented greater controls and processes to safeguard and protect the finances of the council. The Council employs an independent third-party accounting firm that has a five-step review process; as well as an audit/risk committee which includes an independent, outside financial advisor to the committee that monitors and reviews the internal controls and potential risks to the council.

What will the money be used for?

The use of funds is limited by the parameters established in state law, which are beef promotion, marketing, research and education for beef and beef products. The money can be used in Oklahoma, the U.S. and/or internationally. The law does not allow checkoff funds to be used for lobbying activities to influence public policy or government affairs.

What is meant by the assessment being “a maximum of $1?”

According to the Oklahoma Commodity Research Enhancement Act, producers set the maximum allowable rate for the assessment through the referendum vote. The actual assessment rate is set, not to exceed the maximum, by the Oklahoma Beef Council. If circumstances ever warranted an assessment less than the maximum, the Council has the authority to set that rate without another referendum. It will be an assessment of $1. 

Who will decide if Oklahoma Beef Checkoff program is started?

Eligible beef producers who would be required to pay the assessment, will vote in a referendum to determine if a state-level checkoff program is started. 

 

STOP THE OKLAHOMA BEEF CHECKOFF INCREASE

The Oklahoma Cattlemen’s Association is holding a referendum to double the beef checkoff tax assessed on cattle producers. Voting began October 2, 2017 and will conclude on November 1, 2017.

Background

A $1.00 tax is imposed every time cattle are sold. This is the “Beef Checkoff” imposed by federal law, and Oklahoma ranchers pay about $3 million per year. Half goes to the Oklahoma Beef Council (OBC), and half goes to the national Cattlemen’s Beef Board. The Oklahoma Cattlemen’s Association (OCA), with approval of the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, Food and Forestry, is holding an election to add another $1 tax each time cattle are sold.

Specific Issues

  • Last year, it was discovered that $2.6 million in Oklahoma checkoff fees were embezzled by the Oklahoma Beef Council (OBC) bookkeeper from 2009 to 2016. Doubling the beef checkoff tax on cattle producers would raise an additional $3 million for the OBC, which has not released any audits or detailed expenditures on how the current checkoff funds are being expended.
  • OCA and the other proponents of this new checkoff highlight that the existing checkoff funds result in a $11.20 return on investment to the industry, but since 2014 cattle producers have seen a 43% drop in cattle prices and a 22% drop in the farm share of the retail beef dollar. The “industry” may be making money off the checkoff, but Oklahoma cattle producers are getting less today.
  • OCA launched a petition drive in 2015, and it took the organization nearly two years to collect their stated requirement of 5,100 signatures to bring the issue to a statewide vote. OCA cleared their stated signature requirement by only 77 signatures. The Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, Food and Forestry certified signatures from out of state interests and children who are not old enough to even sign their own names.
  • There is no requirement that the beef checkoff funds be used to market only Oklahoma beef; current checkoff funds are used to market foreign beef for Brazil’s JBS as well as other foreign importers.
  • The referendum on Oklahoma cattle producers allows children, corporations, and out-of-state interests to vote. If OCA is successful, all Oklahoma cattle producers will be required to pay the increase.
  • While the backers of the measure state that a cattle producer may ask for a refund, no specific details on how a refund may be requested have been provided.

For these and many other reasons Oklahoma cattle producers should just say no; now is not the time to double the tax on the backs of Oklahoma cattle producers. We should not consider an increase of the checkoff assessment to $2 until the abuses within the Oklahoma Beef Council are fully resolved. Producers must vote and must vote “No” to stop this checkoff increase. Only the votes of those voting will be counted, meaning if a producer does not vote, he/she will be helping the proposed increase to pass.

The vote is to be held on November 1, 2017 at any Oklahoma county extension office during normal business hours. Mail-in ballots are available from October 2-20, 2017 by calling 405-235-4391 or emailing okbeefcheckoff@gmail.com and must be postmarked by October 27, 2017.

 

 

The Taloga Bridge Then and Now, Lions and Chamber Scare Up Fun, Citizen of Year Nominations Still Open

Thank you to Joann Harvey for sharing photos, including the one of the original Taloga Bridge circa 1908, a time when it’s use was more for horses and wagons than automobiles.

The Lions Club has an entire day full of fun events planned on Saturday, October 28th, including a cruise in, fun run/walk, costume contest, weenie roast, trunk or treat, carved pumpkin contest and more are planned. The Chamber will sponsor a dance on Tuesday October 31st for students in grades 5-12.

And you still have time to submit your nomination for Vici’s Citizen of the Year. Call the Chamber at (580)995-3425, email vicichamber@vicihorizon.com or stop by The Vici Vision office at 107 East Broadway in Vici and let us know about your nominee.

This and more in this week’s October 19th Vici Vision Newspaper.

Persimmon Creek Wind Farm, New Pharmacist, and Vici Citizen of the Year Nominations Open – these stories and more in this week’s Vici Vision

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Above, equipment is ready and waiting to begin work on a receiving area for Persimmon Creek Windfarm located at the intersection of Highway 34 and EW58 just north of Vici.

Western Drug has announced Aaron Hesler will be the new pharmacist in Vici. Vici’s pharmacist for the past sixteen years, Sawaya Smith plans to begin doing travel work.

Vici Chamber of Commerce is waiting on your nomination of the first Vici Citizen of the Year Award. They’re looking for the person who has gone above and beyond with volunteer service, community involvement, character, civic leadership etc.  Send your nominee’s name, contact information, and the reasons why they make the Vici community a better place by email to vicichamber@vicihorizon.com, drop it off in person at The Vici Vision Newspaper at 107 East Broadway, or you may call (580)995-3425. Nominations will be accepted through Friday, October 27th. Finalists will be selected by an anonymous selection committee on Monday, October 30th. The announcement of Vici’s Citizen of the Year will be made at the Chamber of Commerce’s Annual Banquet on November 3rd.

 

In This Week’s Vici Vision

20171004_134944The first news week in October has been a busy one for a town as small as Vici. These stories and more in this week’s issue of The Vici Vision:

Seiling teacher, Travis Templin (R), is running for State Senate District 27. Other candidates who have filed include Jeff Hall of Mooreland (R), Carolyn McLarty of Mutual (R), and Amber Jenson of Woodward (D).

The Town of Vici hired Kevin Gresham, a new, full time police officer at Monday’s Trustee meeting. They also approved a contract for as needed services with Dewey County Sheriff’s Department.

And Dewey County Commissioners voted unanimously to approve a contract with OSU for the Extension Office in Dewey County, funding $30,000 of maintenance and operations expenses and no “contractual service” fees.