3/3/2017 12:00:00 AM
Oklahoma Cattleman Testifies in Washington on Conservation Policy - said ‘Voluntary’ is key to making programs work for farmers and ranchers
WASHINGTON (Feb. 28,
2017) – Fifth-generation Oklahoma cattle rancher Chuck Coffey today testified
on behalf of the National
Cattlemen’s Beef Association regarding the value of voluntary
conservation efforts. Coffey testified at the U.S. House Agriculture
Committee’s Subcommittee on Conservation and Forestry’s hearing to evaluate the
effectiveness of conservation programs.
“USDA’s conservation programs have been a great asset to cattle producers and
it is important that these programs be implemented in a practical, producer
friendly, and voluntary manner to ensure that cattlemen can continue to
responsibly produce the world’s safest, most nutritious, and affordable
protein,” said Coffey.
Chuck and his wife, Ruth, operate a cattle ranch in south central Oklahoma,
where they own and operate over 30,000 acres of grassland. Chuck said though
ranching in south central Oklahoma comes with its fair share of difficulties,
by working with the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) to use
voluntary conservation programs and apply management practices that enhance
their operation, they have been able to keep their operation sustainable even
during the drought in 2011 and 2012.
Coffey grazes his cattle with a carefully managed grazing plan developed with
the assistance of the NRCS. Through cooperation with state and local agencies,
in addition to the development of innovative grazing strategies, Coffey said
they have increased perennial grasses on the ranch, improved ground cover, greatly
reduced soil erosion, and ensured adequate forage for livestock and wildlife.
“Since our livelihood is made on the land, the utilization of our natural
resources, and being good stewards of the land, not only makes good
environmental sense, it is fundamental for our industry to remain strong, “said
Coffey. “We strive to operate as environmentally friendly as possible, and it
is through voluntary conservation programs that ranchers will continue to be
proud partners with the government to reach our environmental conservation
As Congress begins the process of developing the next Farm Bill, Coffey
stressed ‘voluntary’ is the key to making conservation programs work for
farmers and ranchers.
“The biggest point I’d like you to take away from this hearing is that the
“voluntary” part of the conservation programs is what really makes it work for
ranchers,” said Coffey. “If they were to become mandatory, the rules and
regulations that farmers and ranchers would be subjected to would make it
harder for them to utilize the unique conservation practices that help their
individual operations thrive.”
For pictures, click here.