Skip

Oklahoma RC&D Councils Meet to Help Keep Oklahoma Thriving

Oklahoma RC&D Councils Meet to Help Keep Oklahoma Thriving

Cross Timbers Board Member, John Robertson, (right) presents NRCS Oklahoma State Conservationist Ron Hilliard with a plaque of appreciation for his support of Oklahoma RC&D Councils.
Cross Timbers Board Member, John Robertson, (right) presents NRCS Oklahoma State Conservationist Ron Hilliard with a plaque of appreciation for his support of Oklahoma RC&D Councils.

Congressman Frank Lucas addressed the crowd during the banquet and awards ceremony on Monday night.
Congressman Frank Lucas addressed the crowd during the banquet and awards ceremony on Monday night.

Cross Timbers Board Member, John Robertson, (right) receiving recognition for his years of service and dedication to the Oklahoma State Association of RC&D's, by Assistant State Conservationist Gary O'Neill.
Cross Timbers Board Member, John Robertson, (right) receiving recognition for his years of service and dedication to the Oklahoma State Association of RC&D's, by Assistant State Conservationist Gary O'Neill.

Members of Cross Timbers RC&D with their award of recognition for having the most attendees at the State Summit. They had 20 in attendance.
Members of Cross Timbers RC&D with their award of recognition for having the most attendees at the State Summit. They had 20 in attendance.


Cross Timbers Board President, Kristi Coker, being presented the award for "Outstanding Performance by a Council for 2008" by Oklahoma's State Association of RC&D's President, James Aldridge.
Cross Timbers Board President, Kristi Coker, being presented the award for "Outstanding Performance by a Council for 2008" by Oklahoma's State Association of RC&D's President, James Aldridge.

“Expanding Partnerships for a Thriving Oklahoma” was the theme for the Oklahoma Association of Resource Conservation and Development Council’s (OARCDC) annual state summit. Over 110 partners and council members from across the state attended the event August 10-12 at the Clarion Conference Center in Oklahoma City. 

The three-day meeting kicked off on Sunday evening with a fish fry hosted by the Cross Timbers RC&D. Monday was a day filled with informative sessions. Tuesday was wrapped up with a consortium and OARCDC board meeting.

“Our goal with this year’s summit was to educate and expand our partnerships by giving them new tools to use with their local RC&Ds,” says Carl Smith, coordinator for the Wheatland RC&D Council based in Enid. Wheatland RC&D Council was the host and organizer for this year’s events.

An impressive line up of speakers relayed important information to the audience. Of particular interest was Attorney General’s Office representative Gay Tudor’s presentation on the Open Meetings and Open Records act.

“This information was especially helpful in the way we advertise, organize and record our meetings across the state,” Smith says.

Brent Kisling, USDA Rural Development state director, gave an update on USDA Rural Development programs that can be used for expanding existing businesses and developing new businesses.

Linda McCowan, trainer and master facilitator, from Sirolli Institute team, spoke with Roger Masenthin, Sunflower RC&D in Kansas, about helping RC&D Councils work in concert with existing economic development efforts to assist entrepreneurs receive funding and technical support.

“This was important information for RC&D council members and partners so they will know what avenues to use to help facilitate new entrepreneurs in getting incentives and funding for businesses that could employ numerous people,” Smith states.

Another highlight was provided by Abby Cash Director of Oklahoma Agritourism Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, Food & Forestry, and the Oklahoma Tourism and Recreation Department. Cash talked about how RC&D councils can use available resources to promote tourism by identifying and assisting producers interested in opening their property to travelers or expanding an existing venue. Cash explained how agritourism businesses can include farm and ranch experiences, wineries, bed and breakfasts, farmers markets, hunting destinations, western events, birding tours and food fairs and festivals, and much more.

“Fueling Our Economy” was a well received session featuring Gary Roulette, CEO Western Farmers Electric Cooperative & Sid Sperry, Oklahoma Assn. of Electric Cooperatives. The pair spoke about the status of fuels and the economic cost benefits of the various fuels to generate electricity. They also highlighted some of the problems electric coops have with man hours and how they cooperate with other states during ice storm damages, floods, winds, tornadoes, etc.

“This was important for council members, many of whom are county commissioners, to know how and where to get help during natural disaster events,” Smith said. “Through the Emergency Watershed Protection (EWP) program, NRCS and RC&D councils regularly work with electric co-ops to protect and restore community infrastructures.”

Sandy Bull with Mid-America technology center talked about how to develop business plans. Bull gave guidance outlines for developing the plans, including a budget page, which helps when preparing to visit with financial institutions about funding sources.

Congressman Frank Lucas addressed the crowd during the banquet and awards ceremony on Monday night, encouraging the good efforts of RC&D councils across the state.

Wheatland RC&D member Toni Pickle received the award for “Outstanding Performance from a Council Member in 2008.” Cross Timbers RC&D Council President, Kristi Coker, was presented the award for "Outstanding Performance by a Council for 2008." Both of these are statewide awards that will go on to compete against other states in the southwest region of RC&D councils, and then on to national RC&D awards.

Cross Timbers RC&D member, John Robertson, was recognized for his many years of service and dedication to the Oklahoma State Association of RC&D's. The Cross Timbers RC&D was recognized for having the most attendees at the State Summit, with 20 members in attendance.

By Dee Ann Littlefield, public affairs specialist, Waurika, OK
NRCS September 2008

Last Modified: 09/18/2008

< Back to the previous page