Cimarron County's Hal Clark Recognized by Governor for Outstanding Environmental StewardshipFri, 31 Mar 2017 16:20:44 CDT
After experiencing the extreme drought conditions suffered through the 1950s in Oklahoma, cow/calf operator Hal Clark of Cimarron County, spent much of his life working to ensure other farmers avoided the practices that decades before, eventually led to Oklahoma’s Dust Bowl. Earlier this week during Ag Day at the State Capitol, Clark, surrounded by his family and friends, was honored by Governor Mary Fallin who presented him with the Governor’s Agriculture Environmental Stewardship Award. Radio Oklahoma Ag Network Associate Farm Director Carson Horn was there to get his reaction upon receiving his award. You can listen to Horn interviewing Clark at the Ag Day awards presentation, by clicking or tapping on the LISTEN BAR below at the bottom of this story.
“Well I’m very honored,” he said with humble astonishment. “I’m flattered to have even been listed. We just through the years have done what we thought was best for the environment and our local area.”
The ranch, operated by Clark, was originally settled by his grandfather’s family in 1877. Once the torch was passed to him though, Clark recognized early on the importance of conserving the physical integrity of the soil and set out implementing a soil health program that involved rotational grazing and the establishment of permanent vegetation for erosion control.
His leadership in environmental stewardship quickly led him to a position on the Cimarron County Conservation District Board of Directors, which he remained active with for 17 years and contributed to the installment of many programs still in place today.
“That was quite an experience for being able to travel all around the state and learn what producers are doing all over the state and it was enlightening for me,” Clark recalled. “It helped me go home with a lot of thoughts about what we could implement out there for our producers, both for grassland and crop producers.”
Today, there is a strong emphasis being made within the industry to practice sustainability on the farm. Clark says he is glad to see such a movement being made proactively by producers around the country.
“Sustainability is a catch word a lot of people are using now, but it’s hard to define,” he said. “When it comes to sustainability, you need to endure but you don’t want to take away opportunities from the future generations.”
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