Path Home Shows 2011 Show Archive April 2011 Show 1116 Interview with Jim Reese - Oklahoma Agriculture

Interview with Jim Reese - Oklahoma Agriculture

We visit with Jim Reese, Oklahoma's Secretary of Agriculture, about the future of farming and ranching here in our state.
Interview with Jim Reese - Oklahoma Agriculture

Jim Reese

For more information visit this link:

ODAFF

Show Dates

Show 1116: Interview with Jim Reese - Oklahoma Agriculture

Air date: April 17, 2011

 

Transcript

ROB MCCLENDON:  WELL THOMAS JEFFERSON ONCE WROTE THAT AGRICULTURE IS OUR WISEST PURSUIT; AND, CULTIVATORS OF THE EARTH OUR MOST VALUABLE CITIZENS.  BUT, AS A SOCIETY WE’RE BECOMING MORE REMOVED FROM OUR AGRICULTURAL ROOTS, AND IT’S EASY TO TAKE THE PRODUCTION OF SUCH ABUNDANCE FOR GRANTED.  EARLIER I WAS ABLE TO SIT DOWN WITH OKLAHOMA’S SECRETARY OF AGRICULTURE, JIM REESE, TO TALK ABOUT THE FUTURE OF FARMING AND RANCHING HERE IN OUR STATE.

MR. SECRETARY, GIVE US SOME IDEA OF THE ECONOMIC IMPACT THAT AGRICULTURE HAS ON OKLAHOMA’S ECONOMY.

JIM REESE:  WELL AGRICULTURE USUALLY IS A VERY STABILIZING EFFECT ON, YOU KNOW, IT GOES THROUGH THE HIGHS AND THE LOWS FAIRLY WELL BECAUSE IT’S GENERATING INCOME FROM NATURAL RESOURCES.

OSU JUST RELEASED A STUDY WITH 36.5 BILLION DOLLARS WORTH OF IMPACT AS TO THE STATE OF OKLAHOMA.  BUT, YOU KNOW, EVERYONE HAS THEIR IMPACT, WHETHER DIRECT OR INDIRECT IMPACT TO THE ECONOMY.  SO, I JUST FOCUS ON THE RAW PRODUCT THAT THE AGRICULTURAL COMMUNITY PRODUCES, AND THAT’S 6 BILLION DOLLARS; 6 BILLION DOLLARS A YEAR THAT THE STATE OF OKLAHOMA DID NOT HAVE LAST YEAR.  AND THAT, WE CREATED IN ONE YEAR, AND SO, TO OUT OF STATE AND OUT OF THE COUNTRY.  WE HAVE 2.2 BILLION DOLLARS WORTH OF CROPS AND OVER 4 BILLION DOLLARS WORTH OF LIVESTOCK THAT ARE SOLD EVERY YEAR IN THE STATE OF OKLAHOMA.  WE HAVE 2 MILLION CALVES BORN EVERYDAY, OR EVERY YEAR; AND SO, ALL THAT PRODUCT IS CREATED IN A YEAR AND, AND MAKES THE STATE MORE VALUABLE.

ROB:  AND THIS 6 BILLION DOLLARS WORTH OF SALES, IT IS MONEY THAT GETS TURNED OUT AROUND AGAIN AND AGAIN, IN OUR RURAL AND URBAN COMMUNITIES.

REESE:  A LOT OF OUR ECONOMY IS JUST PASSING MONEY AROUND, YOU KNOW, BUT THE AGRICULTURAL COMMUNITY IS BRINGING MONEY IN, BRINGING THE VALUE OFF THE GROUND AND SELLING IT TO OTHER STATES, OTHER COUNTRIES.  AND ITS NEW MONEY TO THIS STATE, IT GETS PASSED AROUND BY MOST OF THE REST OF THE COMMUNITY.

ROB:  AND THIS IS MONEY THAT COMES FROM OUT OF STATE AND FROM OUT OF COUNTRY AND I THINK IT’S A REAL IMPORTANT POINT OF JUST HOW IMPORTANT EXPORTS ARE TO OUR STATE’S ECONOMY.

REESE:  ONE OUT OF NINE EXPORT DOLLARS THAT COMES INTO THE STATE OF OKLAHOMA COMES FROM AG PRODUCTS.

YOU’VE GOT AG AND AG PROCESSING, 12% OF ALL OF OUR EXPORTS, WHICH GOES TO OTHER COUNTRIES IN EXCHANGE FOR DOLLARS ARE AGRICULTURAL PRODUCTS.  THAT IS A SIGNIFICANT IMPACT.  THE US CHAMBER OF COMMERCE JUST RELEASED THEIR STUDY ABOUT THE IMPORTANCE OF EXPORTS TO THE ECONOMY AND THEY DON’T INCLUDE ALL OF OUR RAW PRODUCTS, WHEAT AND COTTON, WHICH ARE LARGE EXPORT PRODUCTS FOR THE STATE OF OKLAHOMA.  AND SO, IF YOU ADD THOSE IN, WE WOULD MAKE OUR EXPORT TRADE MUCH MORE POSITIVE.

ROB:  NOW I THINK MOST PEOPLE ARE SURPRISED BY THE ECONOMIC IMPACT THAT AGRICULTURE HAS ON OUR STATE, BUT SOME OF US ALSO FORGET ABOUT HOW AGRICULTURE JUST TOUCHES EACH AND EVERY ONE OF OUR LIVES.

REESE:  WELL WE CAN ALWAYS SAY THAT IT IMPACTS EVERY INDIVIDUAL IN THE UNITED STATES AND IN OKLAHOMA, BY THE FACT THAT WE SPEND LESS OF OUR DISPOSABLE INCOME ON FOOD THAN ANY OTHER COUNTRY IN THE WORLD.  OTHER COUNTRIES SPEND A SIGNIFICANT AMOUNT OF THEIR INCOME JUST TO LIVE, JUST TO GET FOOD; AND IN FACT, YOU KNOW, A LOT OF THE TURMOIL THAT IS CAUSED IN OTHER COUNTRIES IS CAUSED BECAUSE PEOPLE ARE HUNGRY.  THERE MAY BE SOMETHING UNDERLYING, RELIGIOUS OR POLITICAL, BUT HUNGRY PEOPLE MAKES FOR AN ANGRY MOB.

ROB:  AND, AND WE HAVE TALKED ABOUT A STORY THAT, THAT YOU TOLD ME EARLIER IN, WHEN WE HAD ALL THE ICE EARLIER THIS YEAR WHEN YOU WENT INTO THE GROCERY STORES; I WANT YOU TO TELL EVERYONE THAT STORY.

REESE:  WELL IT WAS JUST STAGGERING, WE WERE CLOSED FOR ABOUT 4 DAYS FOR THE MOST PART WITH THE SNOW STORM, AND I KNEW I COULDN’T GET OUT TO VERY MANY GROCERY STORES SO I GOT TO CLOSEST ONE WHICH WAS OFF OF A HIGHWAY AND THE CUPBOARDS WERE BARE.  THE MEAT MARKETS WERE PRETTY MUCH EMPTY, 20 FEET OF SHELVING AND THERE WAS NO BEEF PRODUCT AT ALL, VERY LITTLE PORK PRODUCT, AND NO EGGS.  I HAD TO GO LOOKING AT CONVENIENCE STORES TO FIND SOME EGGS.  IF PEOPLE ENDED UP IN THE SITUATION WHERE THEY HAD TO SHOP AROUND TO ACTUALLY FIND THE PRODUCT THAT THEY NEED, AN AGRICULTURAL PRODUCT THAT THEY NEED, I THINK THEY WOULD VALUE AGRICULTURE MUCH MORE.  AND, YOU KNOW, FORTUNATELY WE’RE NOT GONNA FACE THAT ANYTIME SOON IN AMERICA.  I, BUT I THINK THAT WE STILL HAVE TO BE COGNIZANT OF THE FACT THAT FOOD ISN’T JUST THERE ON THE SHELF EVERYDAY.  YOU KNOW, YOU CAN’T ALWAYS COUNT ON IT BEING THERE.  SOMEONE HAS TO DO THE WORK, WE HAVE TO TAKE CARE OF OUR LAND, TAKE CARE OF OUR LIVESTOCK, AND PUT ON THOSE GROCERY SHELVES, THAT’S WHERE IT COMES FROM.

ROB:  AND WHILE AGRICULTURE IS CERTAINLY A 21ST CENTURY INDUSTRY, IT IS STILL VERY WEATHER DEPENDENT.

REESE:  IT IS AND WE DESPERATELY NEED RAIN NOW IN OKLAHOMA.  BUT, DO TO THE FACT THAT AGRICULTURAL AND AGRICULTURAL PRACTICES HAVE KEPT UP WITH AND HAVE CHANGED OVER THE YEARS, ANY DROUGHT TO THE DEGREE OF THE 1920’S WILL NOT HAVE THE DEVASTATING EFFECT THAT IT HAD THEN.  WE HAVE MORE DROUGHT TOLERANT SEEDS, MORE DROUGHT TOLERANT PLANTS, BETTER FARMING PRACTICES, MORE CONSERVATION OF THE WATER THAT DOES FALL; AND SO, FARMERS HAVE CHANGED SIGNIFICANTLY FROM THE YEARS OF THE 20’S, LEARNED A LOT, HAVE ADVANCED THEIR TECHNOLOGIES TO ALLOW THEMSELVES TO, TO DO BETTER WITH LESS RAIN.

ROB:  ALRIGHT, MR SECRETARY, THANK YOU SO MUCH.

REESE:  THANK YOU.