Oklahoma Farm Bureau’s roots date back to the early 1900s, when farmers and ranchers were dealing with the results of the stock market crash, the Great Depression and starvation-level farm prices.
Clarence Roberts, editor of The Oklahoma Farmer-Stockman, was convinced the answer to the problems of Oklahoma farmers and ranchers was a farm organization to serve as one voice for the state’s rural community. Although his early attempts to rally farmers behind Farm Bureau failed, his determination eventually led to the creation of OKFB.
Throughout the years leading up to 1942, Roberts touted the importance of a farmer-led organization through countless editorials, meetings and personal conversations. In December 1938, Roberts led an unofficial delegation of observers to the American Farm Bureau Federation convention in hopes to spark interest in Oklahoma’s own organization.
Roberts was also a major part of the organizational effort during the first meetings by writing letters to potential leaders and encouraging support and membership through editorials in The Oklahoma Farmer-Stockman.
Sadly, Roberts became ill at the end of 1941 and died only a month after the first OKFB convention in 1942, where an honorary life membership was presented to him. The first issue of the Oklahoma Farm Bureau Farmer was dedicated to the memory of Roberts, citing his love for the soil and for those who worked in it daily.
Although Roberts never held a leadership position in the organization and never had the chance to see OKFB’s success, his efforts were integral to the history of OKFB. His part in the formation of OKFB will always be remembered with gratitude for his service to Oklahoma farmers and ranchers.