RELEASE: Edmondson Announces Farmers’ Bill of Rights
Gubernatorial candidate outlines guiding principles for agriculture, rural Oklahoma
OKLAHOMA CITY, Mar. 5, 2018 — Gubernatorial candidate Drew Edmondson today unveiled a “Family Farmers Bill of Rights” offering tangible solutions to protect Oklahoma’s long tradition of agriculture in rural communities and its important role in the state’s economy.
“Agriculture is vital part of our economy,” Edmondson said. “Faced with competition from corporate monopolies and encroachment by foreign corporations, our farmers and ranchers are struggling to preserve not only a way of life they love but a critical piece of our state’s economic prosperity. As governor, I will work to protect our family farms and rural communities.”
Edmondson, who led the charge to stop State Question 777, a ballot measure sponsored by corporate agriculture in 2016, said he would continue working to level the playing field for family farmers.
“Right now the deck is stacked in favor of wealthy multinational corporations,” Edmondson said. “The Family Farmers Bill of Rights is a set of key values that will help guide our regulatory agencies so we can preserve family farms for the next generation.”
Edmondson today laid out five key components for the Family Farmers Bill of Rights, including:
1. Right to Repair
“It’s a no brainer that a farmer should be able to repair his or her own farming equipment, but corporate entities are prohibiting their ability to do so,” Edmondson said. “In my first term, I’ll introduce the Fair Repair Act to require manufacturers to release repair information and to sell the spare parts necessary so farmers can make those repairs regardless of warranty language to the contrary.
2. Right to Transparent Labeling
“Consumers want more information when it comes to their food sources,” Edmondson said. “For decades, producers have been required to include nutrition information on their products. It’s time to add country of origin to the list of required information. People will trust meat and produce raised in Oklahoma and be more likely to purchase an Oklahoma product than one that comes from China.”
3. Right to Rural Opportunity
“The closure of rural hospitals and the proliferation of four-day school weeks are killing our small towns,” Edmondson said. “We can preserve our agricultural communities by protecting the communities they call home. Unlike other candidates in the race for governor, I’ll continue to oppose forced school consolidation, and I have a real plan to address the budget woes that are plaguing our health care system, our schools and services for our veterans – not just in Oklahoma City and Tulsa, but in rural parts of the state too.”
4. Right to Local Control of our Land
“The best government is local government, but the current administration has made a bad habit of passing state laws that prohibit municipalities from protecting the land and water within their borders. That practice has to stop, and it will stop with me.”
5. Right to Protect Our Natural Resources
“We have to end corporate stacking of regulatory entities in Oklahoma, including the Oklahoma Water Resources Board and the Department of Agriculture. For too long, big business has been able to self-regulate by placing representatives on these boards – the very entities charged with protecting our natural resources. We have to end this practice and guarantee family farmers a seat at the table.”
Edmondson laid out the components of his plan at a meeting of the Oklahoma Farm Bureau today, and he said he would continue talking to agriculture groups about his governing principles regarding agriculture.
“The voters deserve to know where the candidates stand on these issues,” Edmondson said. “It’s time to elect leaders who will stand up for family farmers – not the giant corporations that are taking over family farms across the country. That’s the kind of governor I will be.”