AFR Honors Ag Advocates at Annual Convention
When he is not working on his Wynona, Okla., ranch, Eddie Fields is representing District 10 in the Oklahoma Legislature. It’s not easy running a successful ranching business while spending almost half of the time 130 miles away at the state Capitol, but Fields has a strong sense of serving others.
His call to public duty was a significant factor in his selection as an AFR Ag Advocacy award winner.
Sen. Fields unwavering compassion for public service and his strong dedication to agriculture make him a great candidate for our Ag Advocacy award.
Fields is a third-generation rancher, continuing the Fields Ranch legacy started by his family in Osage County in 1952. Today he gets plenty of help from his wife, Christina and three daughters, Tailor, Jacie and Tristan. A strong desire to hold public office fueled his first election to the Oklahoma House of Representatives. He crossed the aisle in 2010 to represent Kay and Osage counties in the Oklahoma Senate. His leadership has been evident, as he has served as Chairman of the Senate Agriculture and Rural Development Committee and is currently Assistant Majority Floor Leader and Vice Chairman of Appropriations, Chairman of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Natural Resources and Regulatory Services, and Chairman of Rules.
“I have just felt it necessary to step out and work for my neighbors and the citizens of Oklahoma,” Fields said.
“The coveted AFR Ag Advocacy Award is presented to deserving individuals who have demonstrated a strong record of advocating for agriculture,” Detrick said, “and Sen. Fields has definitely worked hard for the farm and ranching industry.”
Tolle Receives AFR Ag Advocacy Award
Francie Kucera Tolle has always considered herself a farmer and rancher. Growing up on the family’s Grant County, Okla., farm, she learned first-hand the many sacrifices farmers had to make in order to feed their family and the families of many others. Today, Tolle has dedicated her career to serving the agriculture industry.
This strong compassion and agricultural background has led to AFR selecting Tolle, the current Regional Director of the USDA’s Risk Management Agency, to receive the coveted AFR Ag Advocacy Award.
“Francie has contributed a great deal to agriculture in Oklahoma and across the nation,” said Terry Detrick, AFR president. “When she was on our staff, we respected her knowledge and wisdom on crucial farm policy issues.”
Francie and her husband, Chuck Tolle, continue the farming legacy today in Grant County with their two sons, Cole and Clint.
Francie’s journey from a young farm girl to a national advocate for agriculture has been sprinkled with many accomplishments and contributions to agriculture. In addition to her efforts as legislative policy analyst for AFR, she has worked as Executive Director of the Oklahoma Wheat Growers, Agricultural Liaison to Congressman Brad Carson, Director of Agritoursim for Oklahoma, and State Director of the Farm Service Agency.
Being recognized by AFR as an advocate for agriculture is a huge honor for me. I always try to do what I think is best for our agricultural producers.
Last year Tolle received the Significant Women in Agriculture award from the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, Food and Forestry. When receiving the award she was quoted as saying her greatest accomplishment is building a legacy with her family to make sure that others will value and appreciate agriculture as a result of their stewardship. “My goal is to leave a legacy,” she said.
AFR Honors Long Time Oklahoma Agriculture Education Leaders
Kent Boggs and Kendall Brashears received special recognition from AFR members Feb. 17 during the annual AFR convention in Norman, Okla.
Both of these men have been incredible role models for our state's agricultural youth. Many of our leaders today credit their FFA experience for contributing to their success and I know both Kent and Kendall had an impact on their lives.
Boggs, Oklahoma FFA executive secretary, is retiring this year after 32 years of working with Oklahoma’s youth. After graduating from OSU, he joined the faculty as an agricultural education instructor at Marlow High School in Marlow, Okla., for two years. In 1980, Boggs became an agricultural education instructor at Elgin High School in Elgin, Okla., where he taught for five years before joining the Oklahoma FFA Association as the State FFA Executive Secretary. He is responsible for planning, coordinating and implementing the leadership component of the student organization which includes state officers, membership development, marketing and public relations, conventions, contests and awards.
Brashears retired last year as executive director of the Oklahoma FFA Foundation. Brashears has served the Oklahoma FFA, agricultural educators and students since his career began in 1974. He has worked tirelessly in the classroom, in school administration, and as executive director of the Oklahoma FFA Foundation to support agricultural education in the state. In Brashears’ 12 years with the FFA Foundation, annual sponsorships increased from approximately $150,000 to $680,000. These funds support the state FFA convention, student awards, and the annual agriscience fair. Under his leadership the FFA Foundation has twice received the Community Impact Award from the Oklahoma Business Ethics Consortium.