April 07, 2017
The Alabama Farmers Federation’s Rick Oates was tapped Monday to head the Alabama Forestry Commission (AFC).
Oates, who served as director of the Federation’s Catfish, Forestry and Wildlife divisions for the past five years, will begin his new duties April 10.
Federation President Jimmy Parnell commended the AFC on Oates’ appointment.
“Rick’s education, experience and passion for forestry make him an outstanding choice to lead the AFC,” Parnell said. “He is able to build relationships among industry leaders, and he understands the importance forestry has to our state’s economy and to our citizens.”
Oates, 49, also served as executive director of the Alabama TREASURE Forest Association and was instrumental in facilitating its merger with the Federation. He previously served as chief of staff for Alabama Department of Agriculture and Industries Commissioner John McMillan. He also held several positions with the Alabama Forestry Association, including forest resource coordinator, regulatory affairs director and executive director of both the Alabama Loggers Council and Alabama Pulp and Paper Council.
A native of Corpus Christi, Texas, Oates has a bachelor’s degree in natural resources from The University of the South in Sewanee, Tennessee, and a master’s degree in forestry from Auburn University. He and his wife, Kelly, live in Montgomery and have two children, Andrew and Lauren.
Meanwhile, the Senate Thursday confirmed Dr. Bill Sudduth of Tuscaloosa to serve on the Alabama Forestry Commission. His five-year term will expire Nov. 5, 2021.
Sudduth, an orthopedic surgeon, owns timberland in multiple counties, which he manages using TREASURE Forest principles.