Recently, a group of Oklahoma’s finest young farmers met with Congressman Frank Lucas (R-OK) to discuss the US Farm Bill and the needs of Oklahoma’s next generation of food producers. The meeting was organized by Samantha Joelle Honey Lamb, a greenhorn farmer of 3 years in Hobart, Oklahoma. The proprietor of Early Bird Acres, she concentrates on dairy & poultry, but she also raises pigs, sheep & beef cattle, and teaches fellow agrarians about cheese making & rotational grazing. Lamb is also the OK Organizer for the NYFC. Here is her account of their listening session.
We felt it crucially important that the Congressman, a fellow farmer, not only know the issues in the upcoming Farm Bill that are essential to beginning farmers, but to know also the stories and the thoughts of a few concerned farmers, and people who simply believe in sustainable farming and good food. Many of us plan on putting into action many of the benefits that the bill offers, if we are able. I call this project “A Letter To Lucas.”
On a hot Wednesday in July, on the threshold of the Ag committee meeting to finalize their draft of the Farm Bill, I gathered letters from a large group of farmers and I went to hand these off to Agricultural Chairman Frank Lucas’s Oklahoma office. These were attached to corresponding images of the letter writers displaying happy farming moments and young children with more veggies than they could hold. In addition, I brought them a dozen farm-fresh eggs.
The group letter read thus:
I was met there by Frank’s Agricultural Adviser, Garret King, and I conveyed our points on many Farm Bill issues specifically concerning the support and catalyst of young farmers, with an emphasis on the Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program, which assists the Kerr Center here in Oklahoma.
We touched on many non-policy issues, including Heritage Hogs and Cows, Wendell Berry and the grandeur of the Wichita Mountains – which happen to be my front yard - and sand plum season here in Oklahoma. They complimented the rainbow of colors my eggs achieved and I left feeling that Frank will be much more savvy to the young farmer here in Oklahoma, and with any luck, he will take me up on a dinner here at Early Bird Acres, and take to heart our written words and agrarian needs.
Below is the letter in response from the Congressman, as well as a short collection of personal letter delivered to the Congressman’s office, along with the group letter.
Letters from Farmers to Congressman Lucas: