Oklahoma's Conservation Community Working Together to Achieve Common Goals in the StateMon, 21 Aug 2017 15:18:02 CDT
During the Oklahoma Conservation Summit last week, Radio Oklahoma Ag Network Farm Director Ron Hays had the chance to speak with Jimmy Emmons, Dewey County farmer and president of the Oklahoma Association of Conservation Districts, about the goals he hoped to achieve at the summit meeting. According to Emmons, the summit provided an opportunity for the state’s conservation community to come together as partners and discover ways to collaborate and advance the conservation agenda more efficiently and effectively. You can hear their entire conversation by clicking or tapping the LISTEN BAR below at the bottom of the story.
“The whole concept is all about team work and working together instead of as individual agencies or group, to achieve the same things,” Emmons said. “For years, we’ve all gone out and done our own independent things and we don’t want to reinvent the wheel here.”
With tighter budgets, Emmons admits, that working together in collaboration will allow the separate organizations to pool their people and resources.
“The good thing about this particular instance is everyone is working for one common goal and that is to improve the health of our soil which improves our food, which improves our health down the road,” he said. “As we work on that as a team, then we can achieve that a lot quicker.”
Emmons also provided an update on the recent pilot project he participated in, in partnership with the Oklahoma conservation partners and the Regional Food Bank. Earlier this year, he and other farmers planted a cocktail mix of cover crops, to be gleaned by volunteers. The fruits and vegetables gleaned were donated to the Food Bank for distribution to families in need here in Oklahoma. According to Emmons, there have been three gleanings on the five acres he planted that produced about 3,000 lbs. of vegetables and helped to feed nearly 2,000 families in and around the Vici, Okla. area.
Emmons considers the pilot a resounding success and hopes to spread the program nationwide. During the Summit, he took the opportunity of having Oklahoma’s 3rd District Congressman Frank Lucas on hand, to begin the conversation of possibly exempting farmers with CRP land from penalty if they choose to participate in such a program, which is currently barred under the existing rules of compliancy.
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