“Don’t reinvent the wheel,” and “you are who you surround yourself with,” are common clichés used to describe principled, wise perspective. These famed quotes are also used as guiding forces for a particular group: the Southern Legislative Conference.
“The Southern Legislative Conference is the 15 southern states: Virginia, West Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Florida, Mississippi, Tennessee, Kentucky, Missouri, Arkansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, Texas, Georgia, Alabama,” said Oklahoma Senator Casey Murdock. “We get together every year and have this conference.”
This year, Oklahoma had the privilege of hosting the conference from July 9 to July 12 at the Omni Hotel and Oklahoma City Convention Center.
“We discuss policy we’ve done in each state,” Senator Murdock said. “Instead of me trying to recreate the wheel, if another state has issues like we are facing, I can learn from what they’ve done.”
Senator Murdock was selected for serve as the agriculture and rural development chair for the Southern Legislative conference, he said.
“I have been preaching since I was elected that agriculturists need to tell our story,” Senator Murdock said. “If we don’t tell our story, someone else will, and they will define our story.”
With this mindset, a Southern Legislative Conference agenda item was Agriculture Youth Day, an event for the legislators’ children to learn about Oklahoma agriculture. At this event, Oklahoma agricultural organizations and commodity groups set up booths, similar to a trade show, with games and activities where the students could come learn about each represented sector of the industry.
The Oklahoma National Stockyards was invited to be a part of the showcase. Kelli Payne, president of the Oklahoma National Stockyards, handed out trick ropes and discussed the livestock auction with all who attended.
“It was for the kids, but I think it was good for the adults also,” Senator Murdock said.
Another component for the conference’s agenda is comprised of tours for the legislators.
“At every conference, the agriculture committee does a technical tour,” Senator Murdock said. “So, we go on a tour of something dealing with agriculture in the state hosting the conference.”
As a cattle rancher himself, Senator Murdock selected the Oklahoma National Stockyards as Oklahoma’s agricultural tour location.
“I wanted to promote our livestock industry, and what better way to promote our livestock industry in Oklahoma than going to the stockyards,” he said.