State Ag Secretary Says There's a Lot for Oklahomans to Celebrate on Ag DayWed, 26 Mar 2014 16:28:37 CDT
Ag Day festivities at the Oklahoma state capitol this week highlighted the tremendous diversity and value of agricultural production in the state of Oklahoma. Radio Oklahoma Network Farm Director caught up with the state’s Secretary of Agriculture, Jim Reese, who talked about various issues and initiatives on exhibit at the capital. (Click on the LISTEN BAR at the bottom of this story to hear their full conversation.)
One of the key initiatives of the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture has been its Ag in the Classroom program. It brings together people and resources from the Agriculture Department, the Department of Education, Oklahoma Farm Bureau and Oklahoma State University, to name a few.
“Everyone is supportive,” Reese said. “It is very important for kids to know where their food comes from. It’s not just on the grocery store shelf. It takes work to provide it. I just really appreciate all the teachers and administrators and school districts that actually do participate because it is a good, rigorous curriculum and it teaches them about agriculture.”
Today’s students will one day be the producers, shoppers and consumers of tomorrow. Reese said the Ag in the Classroom program helps bring those students knowledge they will need now and in the years to come.
“There are too many people in this world, with social media and misinformation going around, that absolutely do not know the very basics about nutrition and food. And, so, everything that kids can learn in an academic environment that actually teaches them other things while they are learning is positive.”
Another initiative that Reese is very proud of is the Made In Oklahoma program. He said that while Oklahomans produce about $7 billion-dollars-worth of raw commodities each year, a very small number of companies in Oklahoma add value to those products to the tune of an additional $3 billion per year.
“So, just the few companies that we have are producing half the amount of sales that we do with our bulk commodities. So, the more that we can produce, the more that we can further process our foods, the better off our state will be.”
One of the highlights of the Ag Day celebration was the induction of Rodd Moesel into the Oklahoma Ag Hall of Fame. Reese said Moesel has done a tremendous job over the years of promoting gardening and horticulture and rightfully deserves to take his place alongside past honorees who have come from the major commodity-producing groups.
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