Alabama RC&D Announces 2023 Legislator of the Year Award

State Senator Garlan Gudger, R- Cullman and State Representative Wes Kitchens have been recognized as 2023 Alabama RC&D Senate and House Leaders of the Year by the Alabama Association of Resource, Conservation and Development (AARCD) Councils during the Alabama Mountains Rivers and Valley (AMRV) RC&D Annual meeting held at Guntersville State Park. 

L-R: Representative Wes Kitchesn and Senator Garlan Gudger

The award is given each year for showing leadership and dedication to the advancement of conservation and natural resources while promoting economic and community development growth in Alabama. 

Senator Gudger serves as Chairman of the Economic Development and Fiscal Responsibility Committee and sits on the Finance and Taxation and Education Committee, which is responsible for appropriating funding for educational services and programs in the State of Alabama. He plays an important role in prioritizing spending.

Senator Gudger accepted the award on behalf of his Alabama Senate colleagues and recognized AARCD for its outreach efforts across the State of Alabama and the tremendous impact it has on improving overall quality of life.

“I’m honored to be able to receive this award on behalf of my colleagues because we all need to share in this success,” said Gudger, “We cannot do this without teamwork and I’m thankful to be on your team.” 

Representative Kitchens serves as the Vice Chair of the Republican Caucus and sits on the Ways and Means General Fund, which is responsible for appropriating funding for general services and programs in the State of Alabama. He plays an important role in prioritizing spending.

Representative Kitchens thanked RC&D for the award and stated that the organization provides a valuable service to the State of Alabama and provides impactful outcomes. 

“I’m fortunate enough to sit on the General Fund budget committee and this organization is always at the front of our minds when we’re getting to budget time because of the work you do,” said Kitchens.

AARCD Executive Director Katie Conner thanked Senator Gudger and Rep. Kitchens for their friendship and continued investment into the RC&D program which has made Alabama a national leader.

“Alabama RC&D is extremely blessed and have been put into a position where we are leading RC&D nationally,” said Conner, “Other states recognize that the relationship between RC&D and the Alabama Legislature is special.” 

The RC&D program was established by the Agriculture Act of 1962 to provide a program that empowers rural people to help themselves. RC&D areas include adjacent counties that have substantial natural resources to use for economic improvement and community betterment. 

There are nine RC&D councils throughout the state. RC&D Councils in Alabama are non-profit, tax-exempt organizations within the state that are designated 501(c) (3) entities by the Internal Revenue Service. 

RC&D Councils are made up of citizens in an RC&D area who want a better life for themselves, their children, and future generations. RC&D Council representatives and alternates are volunteers who assist RC&D.

Alabama Association of RC&D Councils Sponsors Blackbelt Benefit Group’s Tornado Benefit Concert

The Alabama Association of RC&D Councils, Alabama RC&D, continues to work to promote the social and economic benefits for Alabamaians by sponsoring the 2023 Rockin’ Rib-off and Rick Carter Songwriter Festival on Saturday, June 3, 2023 in Selma.

This fundraiser, hosted by the Black Belt Benefit Group, featured an exceptional line up of musicians, delicious ribs and a wide-range of family-friendly activities. By participating in the event, attendees were able raise money and help with the long-term tornado recovery efforts in Selma and the surrouding area after the devastating tornado hit West Alabama on January 12.

“We are grateful to the Alabama Association of RC&D Councils for their generous sponsorship grant,” said Josh Wilkerson, President of Blackbelt Benefit Group. “Their support will have a significant impact on our ability to provide assistance to the residents of Selma as they recover from the tornado’s destruction. This partnership further strengthens our commitment to the community and ensures that our fundraising efforts will make a lasting difference.”

Alabama RC&D Executive Director Katie Conner said that they are honored to be a part of something that supports the recovery of Selma and brings Selma together as a community.

“Alabama RC&D is thankful for groups like Blackbelt Benefit for putting these events on the ground,” Conner said. “After a devastating tornado, it’s important for a community and its citizens to come together to lift community spirits and help those in need. An effort like this captures the spirit of RC&D and we are grateful to play a part.”

Alabama RC&D staff, Katie Conner, Communciations Specialist, Mary Kendall Dixon, attended the event along with Ala-Tom RC&D Council, Executive Director, Marie Lowder and Ala-Tom Council members from Dallas County, Kathy Traylor and Charlie Kee, and Alabama RC&D Program Developer, Noopie Cosby.

Northwest RC&D Council Project: 2023 Regional Weather Radio Project

In preparation for being severe weather aware, the Northwest RC&D Council recently provided a $30,000 grant to fund the purchase of 1,150 Midland Weather Radios to be distributed throughout Colbert, Franklin, Lauderdale, Marion, and Winston counties. Each county received 230 programmed radios. These radios provide a direct means of receiving emergency weather information.

Each county scheduled a distribution site which allowed the weather radios to be picked up by individuals on a first come first serve basis. Northwest Resource Conservation and Development Council would like to extend special thanks to our EMA partners in our five counties and especially to our State Senators and Representatives for their continued support of RC&D projects to make northwest Alabama a better place to live, work, and play.

The mission of The Northwest Alabama Resource Conservation and Development Council is to implement and promote impact driven projects, and activities designed to promote the sustainability and productivity of the abundant, natural and human resources of our five-county, target area while improving the quality of life within the community.