As Oklahoma’s largest user of water, farmers and ranchers are strongly encouraged to participate in a series of regional water meetings beginning Aug. 7, the president of the state’s largest farm organization said today.
“We need to make sure agriculture is well represented in any discussion about water,” said Oklahoma Farm Bureau President Mike Spradling. “This is important because we’re talking about the future management of Oklahoma’s water resources.”
Approximately 60 Farm Bureau leaders have been selected to participate in the meetings, but Spradling said anyone can attend and discuss their vision of a future water plan.
“It’s a simple fact that without water we cannot produce food, so farmers and ranchers need to be in the front row at these meetings,” Spradling said
State water officials have planned the meetings as a step toward developing a comprehensive water plan in 2011.
During each of the 11 regional meetings, participants will categorize and prioritize their region’s issues, which will set the agenda for the next phase in the process, the planning workshops to be held in 2009.
In each region, there will be two meetings on the same day, one at 3 p.m. and one at 6:30 p.m. At the 3 p.m. meeting, the participants will prioritize issues for their region. This session is open to the public; however, the public will be asked to save their comments until the evening meeting.
A Web site for the Oklahoma Comprehensive Water Plan – www.environ.okstate.edu/owrii/waterplan/index.asp – has been created to serve as the main communication channel during the planning process.
All documents, reports, and meeting results will be available in easily accessible formats. Online visitors may also register to receive email updates about meetings and meeting reports in their area.
The Aug. 7 meeting is scheduled at the GGEDA Office cafeteria in Big Cabin, OK. For a complete list of all the meetings go to: www.okfarmbureau.org.
NOTE: Audio comments by OFB’s Director of Regulatory Affairs Marla Peek on the water planning meetings is available at www.okfarmbureau.org/presspass.