Tuesday, June 18, 2024

Executive News: Conference highlights local importance of agriculture

I’m throwing everyone a bit of a change-up this month as I’ve elected to cede my column space to our OBA chair, Bryan Cain.

Bryan attended the American Bankers Association Agricultural Bankers Conference, which was held here in Oklahoma in the early part of November.

I, myself, gave some quick opening remarks on behalf of our state hosting, but then had to make a quick jump to Washington, D.C., for a committee hearing.
Luckily, Bryan was in attendance the entire conference, and he wanted to share a few thoughts.

Bryan?

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(The following was written by OBA Chair Bryan Cain)

Agriculture is such a force in Oklahoma, and it’s not just part of our history, but a huge part of our culture today.

In Oklahoma, we rank fourth in the number of farms, with 78,000 covering 34.2 million acres of land.

Whether it’s a cotton farmer in Southwest Oklahoma, a paper mill in Southeast Oklahoma, a wheat farmer in Northwest Oklahoma, a poultry farmer in Northeast Oklahoma, or all parts between, agriculture is such a huge part of our state’s economy with annual sales of $7.7 billion – but it is also an important part of each of our local economies.

Hopefully, you were able to attend the ABA Agricultural Bankers Conference, which was hosted at the Omni Hotel in our very own Oklahoma City. Each year, this event brings together bankers from across our nation to share industry insights, federal updates to agricultural policies and face-to-face meetings with peers.

For those able to attend, I’m sure you enjoyed the great speaker lineup, with guests such as Dr. David Kohl, House Ag. Committee Chair Glenn Thompson and a host of industry insiders.

This networking event is always good for figuring out best practices or, in the current challenging era, to hear the wisdom of others who have weathered the storm of rough economic times.

Growing up around agriculture in rural Oklahoma, I have had the opportunity to learn so many life lessons. One such lesson came in the year leading up to the financial crisis of 2008.

I was speaking to a local 90-year-old rancher friend of mine about things going on in the economy. In that conversation, I asked him what he thought about the high oil and gas prices, high cattle prices and the high cost of land?

His response was so wise and something I will never forget.

“Well, son, you can only stack things so high before they fall over,” he said.

So simple, yet so profound, and we now know what the outcome was to the economy.

My rancher friend has since passed on, but today I still have to ask the same question: What do you think about high oil and gas prices, high cattle prices and the high cost of land?

What will be the outcome this time?

History has a way of repeating itself, yet we always think it will be different this time. I hope the Federal Reserve is right about a soft landing. However, in times like this, we are better together.

Thus, I encourage you to lean on your fellow Oklahoma bankers, as well as our Oklahoma Bankers Association, in such challenging times.