As a fifth generation farmer, my family has been adapting to agricultural policies and regulations for over 100 years. The election in November won’t change that. The election in November will change our state’s ability to buy food in the grocery store.
I’m extremely passionate about 777, not just because I’m a farmer but because I’m a consumer too. My family raises many commodities but for those we don’t grow, we support other producers with our hard-earned money at the grocery store. I find it important to ensure my right to a safe and affordable food supply when I go to the grocery store, but I’m not just worried about me.
In high school I had the privilege of helping our honor society chapter in packing backpacks of food for our elementary students. Every week we would pack nearly one hundred bags of snacks and nutrition into blue backpacks that would go home with kids every Friday. Every week this task would break my heart. Children in my hometown, in my state were hungry. For reasons far beyond their control they weren’t promised to have a meal waiting for them when they got home from school.
The problem is, it’s not just my old elementary school. It’s every elementary school. It’s every classroom in our state. I would almost bet that you could ask any elementary school teacher in Oklahoma if they have kids in their class that are hungry and that their answers would form a unanimous “YES!”. More than 1 out of every 5 kids in our state are food insecure (Oklahoma Right to Farm) which means that as a state we have over 20% of our children growing up not knowing where their next meal will come from.
While I want to protect my right to a safe and affordable food supply, I find it important to protect kids in my community as well. I have seen first hand that there are families who struggle with their grocery bill. There are moms and dads all across our state doing their best to provide for their families and I can’t believe that higher prices at the grocery store would help them.
I may not buy the 68 cent can of green peas, someone is counting on it. While I may choose the more expensive beef cuts in the meat section, someone needs generic brand hamburger meat. Their groceries are JUST AS SAFE and JUST AS HEALTHY as mine. They deserve to have food in their budget as do I. While I may not spend extra money for organically grown food, I do believe it should be an option, just not a requirement.
We, as a state, MUST ensure a wide variety of food at ALL price levels. I can promise you, the kindergartener who hugged my leg the spring of my senior year of high school, thanking me for bringing the backpacks, doesn’t care if his supper is GMO free. He needs food. He needs safe food. He needs healthy food. That is why I want to farm.
There are thousands of farmers all across our state working toward that same goal. If people weren’t hungry, we wouldn’t do what we do. Farmers don’t want to harm the land or livestock. We don’t want to pollute water. We don’t seek to destroy our environment. We seek to feed the greatest number of hungry people in the safest, most affordable way.
I urge you, as voters, to stand with me on November, 8th. Support kids and consumers all across our state by voting YES on 777.