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NRCS Chief White Visits Oklahoma to Celebrate 75 Years

NRCS Chief White Visits Oklahoma to Celebrate 75 Years

Lt. Gov. Jari Askins presents NRCS Chief Dave White with a proclamation that recognizes April 19, 2010, as Natural Resources Conservation Day in Oklahoma. Lt. Gov. Jari Askins presents NRCS Chief Dave White with a proclamation that recognizes April 19, 2010, as Natural Resources Conservation Day in Oklahoma.

A copy of the proclamation recognizing the significant impact of the NRCS in the state of Oklahoma.
A copy of the proclamation recognizing the significant impact of the NRCS in the state of Oklahoma. Oklahoma has a unique history dealing with conservation of the state’s natural resources.

Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) Chief Dave White visited Oklahoma Monday, April 19, 2010, to help celebrate the 75 year anniversary of the NRCS. In the Blue Room at the Oklahoma Capitol, Lt. Gov. Jari Askins presented, on behalf of Gov. Brad Henry, a proclamation to Chief White from the state of Oklahoma declaring April 19, 2010, Natural Resources Conservation Service Day. The proclamation recognizes the positive impact of the NRCS on the state of Oklahoma and declares the people of Oklahoma wish to live in harmony with the natural resources and leave a better earth for our children and grandchildren.

Congressman Frank Lucas sent a Congressional Citation and state Sen. David Myers and Rep. Dale DeWitt authored a state Legislative Citation commemorating the event.

NRCS, formerly the Soil Erosion Service, then the Soil Conservation Service, was created in 1935 in response to the dust bowl, a disaster that ravaged land in Oklahoma and surrounding states and impacted the entire nation during the 1930's. President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed the bill creating the agency on April 27, 1935.

Historically, Oklahoma has been on the front edge of conservation. Starting with the first soil and moisture control research station just outside of Guthrie, Okla., through the firsts experienced in the watershed program with the first small flood control dam (1948), complete watershed project (1953), multipurpose dam (1957), watershed dam rehabilitation (2000) and the first fully rehabilitated watershed (2009). Even with 20 percent of the nation's flood control dams, Oklahoma still has much work to do.

In addition to the watershed protection program, the Oklahoma NRCS offers programs through the 2008 Farm Bill that help provide financial and technical assistance to landowners and producers interested in implementing conservation-minded practices. With 2,105 flood control dams we help to protect more than 83,000 farms in the state in places where erosion and flooding would make production nearly impossible. More than $100 million in financial and technical assistance was delivered through NRCS programs to assist private landowners addressing conservation needs benefiting Oklahoma in 2009.

The Oklahoma NRCS has a close and effective partnership with the Oklahoma Association of Conservation Districts, Oklahoma Conservation Commission, Oklahoma RC&D councils, Oklahoma Grazing Lands Conservation Association, State Technical Committee and representing 38 federally recognized tribes, the Oklahoma Tribal Conservation Advisory Council and others. This partnership is credited with the efficiency of action needed to be the first to break ground and first to complete important American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) watershed projects in the nation. None of that would be possible, however, without the cooperation of producers and landowners who believe in the vision of a productive, sustainable agricultural sector that is in balance with a healthy environment.

Chief White said, “The partnerships that NRCS has with Oklahoma’s conservation districts, the Oklahoma Conservation Commission and the state’s farmers and ranchers continue to set examples for the entire nation.”

The Oklahoma NRCS is dedicated to honoring those partnerships as the state addresses water quality needs, invasive plant species eradication, soil erosion, rehabilitating aging watershed dams and addressing the needs of Oklahoma’s rural communities. This year, 2010, marks the 75th anniversary for the NRCS and the efforts to protect our nation’s natural resources.

By Public Affairs Specialist Crystal Young
NRCS April 2010

Last Modified: 04/27/2010

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