NRCS Diamond Anniversary Celebrated in Oklahoma by NRCS Chief Dave WhiteTue, 20 Apr 2010 3:41:07 CDT
Dave White, Chief of USDA's Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), today praised the people of Oklahoma for their "deep and unique understanding of the importance of conservation." White spoke at the Oklahoma State Capitol at a special event commemorating NRCS' 75th anniversary.
"I am honored to be in Oklahoma to kick off the anniversary celebration of the NRCS," said White. "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."
We had the opportunity to talk with Chief White on Monday afternoon- and you can hear our full conversation that Dustin Mielke of Oklahoma Farm Bureau and I had with the Chief- go to the "Latest Podcasts" on our front page of the website- and you will find that conversation there. Click on the Listen Bar below to hear Dave White's comments to those gathered in the Blue Room on Monday as Oklahoma saluted the 75th Anniversary of the NRCS.
NRCS, formerly the Soil Erosion Service, then the Soil Conservation Service, was created in response to the Dust Bowl, a disaster that ravaged land in Oklahoma and surrounding states and impacted the entire nation during the 1930s. President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed the bill creating the agency on April 27, 1935.
Acknowledging the invaluable service NRCS has provided to Oklahoma since the Dust Bowl, Gov. Brad Henry issued a Governor's Proclamation designating April 19, 2010, as Natural Resources Conservation Service Day in Oklahoma. "I want to thank Gov. Henry for this proclamation," White said. "Oklahoma has a special place in the heart of all of us at NRCS. We've done a lot of pioneering work here over the years that's benefited folks all over the country."
Chief White will attend a dedication ceremony for the Turkey Creek Site 3 Upstream Flood Control Dam in Garfield County, near Enid - the first new dam completed through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, a conservation first for Oklahoma. "We are pleased that Chief White has come to Oklahoma to dedicate the first upstream flood control dam built with federal stimulus funds," said Trey Lam, president of the Oklahoma Association of Conservation Districts. "Oklahoma has been the leader in building upstream flood control dams, having more than any other state," Lam said. "We are also excited that stimulus funds are being directed to the repair and rehabilitation of many of our dams. This is critical if we are to keep our flood control infrastructure properly maintained," he said. In addition to new dam construction, other ARRA projects being administered by NRCS in Oklahoma include repair and rehabilitation of existing dams and a floodplain easement program.
"NRCS plays a major role in the economic and environmental life of our state," said Matt Gard, chairman of the Oklahoma Conservation Commission. "The agency, working through conservation districts and the Commission, delivered record amounts of federal conservation dollars this past year, providing important economic benefits to rural Oklahoma while having a positive impact on our environment," Gard said. NRCS delivered nearly $100 million in financial and technical assistance in Oklahoma during the past year. A study last year by Oklahoma State University found that each dollar spent on conservation in local areas can multiply as much as two-and-a-half times as it is spent and circulated through the local economy.
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