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Agricultural News


Governor-Elect Kevin Stitt Chooses Blayne Arthur to Serve as Oklahoma's First Ever Female Secretary of Ag

Thu, 13 Dec 2018 05:52:39 CST

Governor-Elect Kevin Stitt Chooses Blayne Arthur to Serve as Oklahoma's First Ever Female Secretary of Ag Oklahoma’s Governor-elect Kevin Stitt has announced his selection of Blayne Arthur to be the state’s next Secretary of Agriculture. She will be the first female to ever hold the office in the state’s history. Arthur currently serves as the Oklahoma 4-H Foundation’s Executive Director and prior to that, served as Deputy Commissioner for the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, Food, and Forestry under outgoing department head, Jim Reese, after being hired by his predecessor Terry Peach. She talked about the appointment in an exclusive interview with Radio Oklahoma Ag Network Farm Director Ron Hays on Wednesday of this week, prior to the official announcement’s release. You can listen to that complete interview by clicking or tapping the LISTEN BAR below at the bottom of the page.

“I am very excited for this opportunity and the chance to work for Governor-elect Stitt. I am familiar with how the agency works and I am very excited about the vision that our Governor-elect has for the state of Oklahoma. Something I am very passionate about is our ag producers here in the state. So, when I was asked to interview for the position, I was very humbled to just have the chance to visit with him and his staff.”

Once officially offered the job, Arthur says she became very excited about the opportunities to improve the business and regulatory environment for our ag producers here in the state.

Arthur was one of the first few people asked to join the Governor-elect’s transition team and was certainly one of the first with significant ties to agriculture. Based on that experience, Arthur has been privy to Stitt’s plan to make Oklahoma a Top 10 State in the nation. She says Stitt’s plan is one that is all-encompassing, with a focus shared between both the rural and urban sectors of Oklahoma. She says Stitt’s plan includes a significant role for agriculture to play in the overarching strategy he hopes will propel Oklahoma into that top tier of our nation’s union.

In the meetings she has had leading up to this announcement, Stitt has charged Arthur with the task of increasing the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, Food & Forestry’s efficiency. According to Arthur, Stitt has made his expectations clear, that this will be accomplished through the implementation of technologies that will foster greater access to Oklahoma’s ag producers and through mindful budgeting to invest taxpayer dollars where they will generate the most prosperity and economic growth for rural areas.

Drawing from her experience working under former State Secretary of Agriculture Terry Peach, who is credited with being first to bring together the various ag interests in weekly meetings - Arthur hopes to continue to carry that mantle, remarking that more can be accomplished in the state and for the industry when different groups work in concert rather than against one another.

“Everyone has kind of a focus of who they are representing and what their interest is, but when you get them to work together as a unit or a coalition, you can really get some positive things done, whether it’s policy or legislation - when all of the ag groups get behind something, they are usually very successful,” she said. “There are some things where you just have to say ‘ok we can’t all agree on that.’ But, I think you take the things that are important to all of ag and they can work really, really well together. Having a good dialogue really makes a big difference.”

Hays asked the Secretary designate how she hopes to juggle being a mom and wife with this very visible and demanding career move. "It will be a change for my family for certain- something my husband and I have visited a lot about and we are very excited for the opportunity." She adds "Within our family, we've got God first, and then our family and then our career follows that...for certain, a big change in our daily family dynamic but one that we are looking forward to and we will work together to make sure everything happens as it needs to."

Blayne and her husband Jerrod have two children- Kelton and Kennedy. They operate the Lucky Strike Show Cattle Company which markets show animals to youth and their families across several states.

   
   

Ron Hays talks with Blayne Arthur about her decision to become Secretary of Ag in the new year.
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