Mike Thralls became executive director of the Oklahoma Conservation Commission on Oct. 20, 1997. Prior to that he served as assistant commissioner of the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture.
Under Mike's leadership, Oklahoma's first state-funded Conservation Cost-Share Program became operational in 1998 and has helped hundreds of Oklahomans install conservation practices to improve water quality and reduce soil erosion. The state's first Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (CREP) was initiated in 2007, the largest program to help protect nonpoint source water quality protection in the state's history.
During the Seventh National Watershed Conference in 2001, the National Watershed Coalition presented Mike with its Meritorious Service Award "in recognition of exceptional leadership in helping secure passage of the Small Watershed Amendments of 2000." Utilizing the provisions of this legislation, Oklahoma competed rehabilitation of an entire watershed project in 2009, the first in the nation to do so.
In the spring of 2008 Mike received a Graduate of Distinction Award from the Animal Science Department of Oklahoma State University. The award, presented since 1949, recognizes graduates with a BS degree in Animal Science at OSU who have compiled outstanding records of achievement and service, particularly in the field of Animal Agriculture. Mike was elected 2014 president of the of the National Association of State Conservation Agencies, and received the President's Award from the Oklahoma Association of Conservation Districts in 2014.
Mike received a Bachelor of Science degree from Oklahoma State University in 1973. He received an FFA American Farmer Degree in 1971, the Noble County Soil Conservation Award in 1978, and was named Outstanding Young Farmer and Rancher in 1980 by the Oklahoma Farm Bureau. He served 10 years on the Billings Board of Education, served on the board of regents for Northern Oklahoma College from 1989 to 1991 and is a graduate of Leadership Oklahoma Class I in 1988. Mike also served as a member of the Noble County community board for the Agricultural Stabilization and Conservation Service from 1982 to 1984. Thralls served as vice chairman on Governor Frank Keating's Animal Waste and Water Quality Protection Task Force in 1997. He is a member of the Noble County Cattlemen's Association, Oklahoma Cattlemen's Association and Oklahoma Farm Bureau.
Mike and his wife Donna live in Billings, Okla., where they own a wheat and cattle farm. They have five children and eight grandchildren.