Prior to his election, Curtis was president of the Mississippi Association of Conservation Districts and an alternate member of the NACD Board of Directors. He has been a member of the Mississippi Soil and Water Conservation Commission since 1996 and is currently serving as its vice chairman.

Curtis has been a member of the board of directors of his local Washington County Soil & Water Conservation District since 1977. He gained national prominence in the agricultural commodity arena as president of the American Soybean Association in 1999-2000.

His farming operation consists of 2,400 acres of soybeans, corn, wheat and rice in the central Mississippi Delta. Since he began farming in 1972, he has diversified an all-cotton farm to include grain crops and farm-raised catfish. He dropped cotton production completely in the mid-80s.

The NACD’s new slate of officers will represent the nation's 3000 local soil and water conservation districts on issues relating to natural resource conservation on America’s private working land. They will spend time in the nation's capital on conservation and farm policy issues and will travel nationwide speaking before state and regional conservation groups and with the news media.

Each of the elected officers will serve a two-year term.

The new NACD president is Gary Mast from Millersburg, Ohio. He served this past year as president-elect so he could prepare adequately to begin his term as president. His service in NACD began as a member of the board of directors in 1996.

Mast is currently a member of the Ohio Federation of Soil & Water Conservation Districts and the Holmes County Soil & Water Conservation District Board.

He is a self-employed farmer who manages a sixth generation dairy and farming operation in partnership with his family. They own and lease about 1500 acres of farmland with crop rotations including hay, small grains, and corn. The dairy operation consists of 650 cows and 600 replacement heifers. In cooperation with their local conservation district, he designed a three-stage manure lagoon system that circulates water to flush and clean the environmentally friendly loafing sheds.

Bill Wilson of Kinta, Okla., was elected first vice president of NACD. His experience at NACD goes back to 1994 when he was elected to represent Oklahoma on the NACD Council and later on the NACD Board of Directors. He was elected president of the Oklahoma Association of Conservation Districts in 1994. He has served as a district official for the Haskell County Conservation District since 1980. Wilson is a founder and president of the National Watershed Coalition.

He owns and operates a 400-acre cow/calf, horse and mule ranch in East Central Oklahoma. He is also a registered land surveyor in Oklahoma and Arkansas. He has worked many years to restore Dust Bowl era farm fields into productive pastureland. Conservation practices include grazing and nutrient management, tree planting, erosion control drainage structures, cross fencing, and sediment collection structures to improve water quality.

Tim Reich of Belle Fourche, S. D., was elected second vice president of NACD. Prior to his election, Reich served four years as secretary-treasurer of NACD. Previous leadership experience includes president of the American International Charolais Association and the South Dakota Association of Conservation Districts. He has been a district supervisor for the Butte Conservation District since 1978.

He owns and operates a 7,000-acre ranch in three states where they run 300 purebred Charolais cattle. The ranch includes irrigated cropland, dryland cropland, native grasslands, forest woodlands, and major riparian areas. The mostly private land, mixed with some public lease land, also sustains a wildlife operation that provides a fee hunting and guide service for wild turkey, white tail and mule deer, and elk.

Ernest C. Shea will continue to serve as the NACD’s chief executive officer. Operating from NACD headquarters in Washington, D.C., he oversees the association’s policy development and member services programs and coordinates strategic planning, budget formulation and related business operations. Prior to joining NACD in 1986, he was an assistant secretary of agriculture for the Maryland Department of Agriculture.

e-mail: flaws@primediabusiness.com