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USDA’s Avalos to visit Stillwater, tour Payne County

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Federal official Edward Avalos of the U.S. Department of Agriculture will be in Payne County Aug. 28-29, getting a firsthand look at area agricultural operations and related business, community, family and youth enterprises and programs.

“In many ways, we in Payne County will be representing not only ourselves but our peers in communities and counties similar to our own,” said Nathan Anderson, Payne County Extension director and agricultural educator. “It’s a fairly unique opportunity. Under Secretary Avalos has expressed his desire to interact with grassroots individuals and visit with people who are involved with as many different undertakings as possible.”

The USDA’s under secretary for marketing and regulatory programs, Avalos will attend the Payne County Fair, tour area agribusinesses, interact with local groups and visit campus facilities associated with Oklahoma State University’s Division of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources.

“OSU Cooperative Extension wants to offer an invitation to community organizations, commodity groups, civic dignitaries, government agency representatives and the general public to attend an open forum featuring Under Secretary Avalos on Aug. 29,” Anderson said.

The open forum will take place at the Payne County Expo Center’s DL Fisher Sales Coliseum, located three miles east of Stillwater on State Highway 51. The forum will begin at 4:30 p.m. and end about 5:30 p.m. Avalos expects to speak for 20 minutes about current agricultural issues and then take part in a question-and-answer session while visiting with participants.

U.S. Congressman Frank Lucas said he is honored to welcome Avalos to Oklahoma’s Third Congressional District.

“Payne County has always been a leader in agricultural production,” Lucas said. “I am very pleased Under Secretary Avalos will have the opportunity to participate in the Payne County Fair and witness firsthand the tremendous amount of work county producers do on behalf of agriculture nationwide. I hope he enjoys his visit.”

Anderson added Avalos grew up on a farm in New Mexico, and from the outset expressed a strong interest in attending as many exhibitions, displays and competitions at the fair as possible. Avalos has singled out numerous events, including the Pheiffer Museum, antique tractor parade, dairy cattle show and draft horse pulling competition, among others.

“Under Secretary Avalos also expressed his strong desire to visit local agricultural enterprises such as farmers markets, crop and livestock operations and supportive agribusinesses,” Anderson said. “We in Payne County Extension are excited about showcasing the diversity of what our county provides in terms of services and the importance of Extension programming to local stakeholders.”

James Trapp, associate director of the division’s statewide Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Service, agrees with Anderson, citing Extension programs are as vital today as they have ever been.

“We’re about to celebrate the 100th anniversary of Cooperative Extension in 2014, and one thing is very clear: Extension successes are ultimately the successes of those we serve, be it enhanced crop and livestock efficiency, business or family management, improved consumer awareness, youth development or any number of programs which all have as their basis the land-grant mission of helping people improve the quality of their lives,” he said.

Anyone seeking additional information about the Avalos visit or the Aug. 28-31 Payne County Fair should contact the Payne County Extension Office at 405-747-8320.

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