OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. — USDA Under Secretary of Agriculture James Hubbard and Oklahoma Secretary of Agriculture, Blayne Arthur, signed a Shared Stewardship agreement at a virtual signing event today.
The agreement is between USDA's Forest Service and Natural Resources Conservation Service, along with, the Oklahoma Forestry Services, Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation, Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, Food, and Forestry, and USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service.
Shared Stewardship agreements establish a framework for federal and state agencies to collaborate better, focus on accomplishing mutual goals, further common interests and effectively respond to the increasing ecological challenges and natural resource concerns.
“Shared stewardship provides an incredible opportunity to work with the state of Oklahoma to set stewardship priorities together,” said Hubbard. “We will combine our mutual skills and assets to achieve cross-boundary outcomes desired by all.”
This new agreement centers on USDA’s commitment to work with states and other partners to use the best available science to identify high-priority forests that need treatment and to ensure the long-term sustainability of public and private lands.
“We are pleased to formalize this working arrangement with our federal partners through the Shared Stewardship agreement,” said Blayne Arthur, Oklahoma Secretary of Agriculture, Food and Forestry. “We look forward to continued implementation of good forestry practices in Oklahoma and exploring opportunities to enhance our partnerships.”
Oklahoma becomes the 7th state in the South and 23rd in the Nation to sign such an agreement to strengthen partnerships within the state to increase the scope and scale of critical forest treatments that support communities and improve forest conditions.
“Oklahoma Forestry Services is excited to share decision making concerning Oklahoma’s active conservation management issues with our natural resources partners,” said Oklahoma State Forester Mark Goeller.