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Mile Marker 55 Local Rancher Serves on Soil and Water Conservation Board f

Mile Marker 55: Local Rancher Serves on Soil and Water Conservation Board for More Than a Half Century

Story by Jaime Tankersley

In 1955 CBS-TV premiered the television quiz program, The $64,000 Question, the first edition of the Guinness Book of World Records was published and Rosa Parks was arrested for refusing to give up her seat. It was also the year that Irion County rancher, Bill Tullos took his seat for the first time as a Middle Concho Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD) director.

Fifty-five years later a few things have changed. Instead of answering questions for thousands, we watch Who Wants to be a Millionaire, and civil rights have reached new heights. One thing remains the same however; Tullos continues to serve as a SWCD Director for Reagan, Upton and Irion Counties. During the Texas State Soil and Water Conservation Boards (TSSWCB) District Directors annual meeting recently held in Lubbock, Tullos was awarded for his continuous and committed years of service.

SWCDs, like a county or school district, are a subdivision of state government. The program and plan of work are developed according to the local needs of the district and the producers within the boundary lines.

The district�s program is an inventory of the land and water; it describes the actual conditions bearing on land and its use. The plan of work discusses land capabilities, physical conditions, and socio-economic conditions creating conservation problems. Conservation needs and treatment, as well as district policy, are part of the document.

It is the responsibility of all SWCD directors to implement solutions to problems and utilize resources available to accomplish district objectives.

Since it was brought into existence, the Middle Concho SWCD has been administered by a board of five directors who are elected by their fellow landowners.

Tullos has been elected by his peers and has proudly served them for over a half century.

His work has brought about the understanding of the needs of soil and water conservation. In addition, working with his fellow directors, Tullos has worked with public and private organizations and agencies to enhance water quality and quantity in the area.

It is the purpose of SWCDs to instill in the minds of local people that it is their individual responsibility to do the job of soil and water conservation. During his tenure, Tullos has worked with the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) and the TSSWCB to put funding directly �on the ground� in the form of conservation practices.

NRCS District Conservationist, Stephen Zuberbueler, has worked with Tullos for several years to implement a variety of programs and conservation practices.

�Mr. Tullos has been a very dedicated director,� Zuberbueler says. �Representing the farmers and ranchers, while working to conserve the natural resources of the Middle Concho SWCD, has always been his top priority.�

Tullos has worked with numerous producers that served alongside him on the SWCD board. Steve Wayne Coats, Reagan County rancher and board chairman at the First National Bank of Mertzon, has served with Tullos to promote conservation since 1977.
�Helping the local farmers and ranchers has always been Bill�s number one priority,� Coats says. �He has been a hands-on, active director representing the Middle Concho SWCD at both regional and state level events.�

Serving not only as a district director, Tullos has also been involved with the Texas Sheep and Goat Raisers Association (TSGRA), Texas Farm Bureau, Predator Management Board, Clean Rivers Program and an extraordinary land steward. His Arden, Texas ranch is a prime example of what conservation can do for means of production.

Tullos was the recipient of this year�s National Ranching Heritage Golden Spur Award. The award symbolizes a lifetime of Tullos�s contributions, hard work and dedication in the ranching and livestock industry.

As Tullos begins his 56th year on the Middle Concho SWCD board, he is showing no signs of changing his ways. Conservation is still a need and representing local producers is a must.

Texas State Soil and Water Conservation Board (TSSWCB) Director,

Texas State Soil and Water Conservation Board (TSSWCB) Director, Marty Graham (left), presents Bill Tullos with a certificate for his 55 years of service to the Middle Concho Soil and Water Conservation District during the 2010 TSSWCB meeting held in Lubbock, Texas.