Senator Tim Corder started the hearing promptly at 8am, and called Dave Radford to the lectern to give opening remarks. Mr. Radford was unable to attend the hearing in February due to an accident.
Mr. Radford first thanked the committee for allowing him to speak and take questions today, and said he was grateful for the opportunity to be considered for the position on the Soil and Water Commission. He’s a county commissioner in Bonneville County, and was recently elected to his fourth term. Mr. Radford worked for 3 United States Senators (Steve Symms, Larry Craig and Bob Dole). He also served as the Executive Director of the Idaho Republican Party in the late 1980s.
As a county commissioner, Mr. Radford has worked with the two districts in Bonneville County, and he stated he was very impressed with their work. Mr. Radford has been deeply involved in the production of agriculture all his life, and understands the work districts do to increase production. He has worked on weed control issues, and stated the fifty districts are key players in the eradication of noxious and invasive weeds. Mr. Radford said that all the projects soil conservation districts have on the ground are invaluable to agriculture. He concluded his remarks by thanking Dick Bronson, Roger Stutzman and Bill Flory for their leadership, and Sara Schmidt and all the SWC staffers for their wonderful work.
Chairman Corder opened the floor for questions. The first came from Senator Jeff Siddoway, and he asked what were Mr. Radford’s ideas on the conflict on whether the money is kept for the SWC or distributed to the districts? Mr. Radford responded that in order for the districts to be successful, you need a good SWC staff as well. He stated a good balanced needs to strike between the SWC and the districts. SWC did roll down additional funds to districts this year, and some counties are working with districts on in-kind contributions such as office space, desks, vehicles. But, Mr. Radford said that on-the-ground projects are where the best work is done, with the help of good SWC technical staff so the projects stand up to good science.
Chairman Corder asked the next question and referenced Mr. Radford’s application. Mr. Radford wrote that he believes “in the organization’s mission and service to our state and area.” Chairman Corder asked Mr. Radford what he thought that mission was. Mr. Radford answered that we need to keep what works, and be nimble to accept change as a part of doing business. He hopes to bring that flexibility to the Commission. Mr. Radford wants to generate partnerships with other agriculture groups in the state to bring improvements. He wishes to be the fresh eyes on the SWC to view how they function now, and how they can be in the future. He wants to be that voice that says, “This can work for us.”
The question and answer session ended at 8:15am, and the Committee thanked Mr. Radford for his time.