New programs created
At the turn of the century, Oklahoma Farm Bureau began advocating for agriculture in new ways through new programs. With membership reaching above 150,000 in 2003, the organization was thriving.
Oklahoma Farm Bureau Legal Foundation
The Oklahoma Farm Bureau Legal Foundation got its start in 2001 for the purpose of entering the legal arena to protect private property rights and production agriculture. The foundation continues to serve farmers and ranchers through engaging in public interest litigation, researching legal issues affecting family farmers and rural Oklahomans, and educating farmers and ranchers and the public about issues important to agriculture. The foundation is funded primarily through voluntary contributions of Farm Bureau members and through fundraising events.
The legal foundation’s first major win came in 2002 when it obtained a favorable outcome for a state rancher in his skirmish with a railroad over livestock fences. The foundation was involved when Noble County Farm Bureau Director Bill Hafner contacted the organization with concerns about a possible liability when his cattle got off his property onto highways due to dilapidated fences on the Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railroad right-of-way going through his property. The new fence and its construction were eventually paid for by the railroad after the foundation provided assistance, causing the railroad to obey state statutes regarding construction and maintenance of fencing along rights of way.
Oklahoma Farm Bureau delegates established the OKAgFund, a political action committee to support candidates for state office, with Farm Bureau members choosing whom to support. In 2004, the OKAgFund reported a 97 percent success rate in backing candidates for public office during primary elections.