Kristy Oates was recently named state conservationist for USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) in Texas. Oates will be responsible for NRCS operations within the state, including the administration of conservation technical assistance to private landowners, conservation financial assistance programs, conservation easement programs, the Natural Resources Inventory, soil survey mapping, and the plant materials program.
(Kristy Oates, state conservationist for USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), Texas. Photo courtesy of USDA-NRCS.)
Most recently, Oates served as the state resource conservationist for Texas, where she led the ecological sciences department in addressing natural resource concerns through sound conservation planning, technical leadership in quality assurance, policy development and implementation, and training oversight.
Oates was raised on a beef and cropland operation in central Texas and began her career with NRCS in 1995 as a soil conservation technician in Freestone County after working as a district technician for the Freestone County Soil and Water Conservation District. During her 25 years of service, Oates has been promoted through multiple technical, supervisory, and leadership positions in Texas. Detail assignments in several states have given her valuable experience working with producers who have varied agricultural systems including producers in Iowa, Florida, and Minnesota. Recently, Oates served as the acting division director for the NRCS Conservation Planning and Technical Assistance Division in Washington, D.C.
“Growing up on a farm in Texas and working across the state has given me an understanding of issues that often impact private land and producers who manage them,” Oates said. “I look forward to leading with a vision to deliver high-quality service to support agricultural producers and collaborate with ag and conservation groups to protect Texas’ natural resources.”
Oates earned a Bachelor of Science degree in agriculture from Sam Houston State University and is a graduate of the USDA Emerging Leaders Development Program from the George Washington University Center for Excellence in Public Leadership.
Outside of work, Oates enjoys spending time with her family exploring the great outdoors and traveling to new destinations.