OMAK Okanogan County Farm Bureau members spent Friday night dining, electing officers and listening to Ken Ivory speak about federal land ownership.
More than 100 people turned out for the gala event at the Elks Lodge, 110 S. Ash St.
“It was awesome,” bureau president Jon Wyss said of the program.
Ivory, the event’s keynote speaker, piqued the interest and raised the ire of members tired of having their livelihoods affected by federal regulations and a diminishing tax base.
During his speech, Ivory pointed out that his group, American Lands Council, is actively engaged in prompting the federal government to follow states’ compacts for joining the United States.
“Now is the time,” Ivory said, noting that the federal government has more than $150 trillion in natural resources locked up in public lands it holds in trust.
According to Ivory, many of the state and nation’s fiscal problems could be helped by requiring the federal government to relinquish control as it agree to do in documents when Washington joined the union on Nov. 11, 1889.
If the federal government sold the land to the state or to private owners, better access to natural resources would spur job creation, he said. And sales to private owners would boost tax revenues for state and local governments, as well as schools.
“I think the speaker was fantastic,” Wyss said. “I’ve already had calls from people thanking us for bringing him (Ivory).”
The board donated $500 to the American Lands Council to support the effort to curtail federal land ownership.
Farm Bureau members unanimously elected officers for 2014, including Wyss as president, Steve Lorz as vice president and Trinity Stucker as treasurer/secretary.
Stucker was also re-elected to the board of directors, along with Dick Ewing, Darlene Hajny, Larry Campbell and Jim Freese. Mickey Wolley was elected as the board’s representative from Ferry County.