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2018 Annual Meeting Speakers

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Confirmed Speakers

Chad Pregracke
Chad Pregracke is the founder and president of Living Lands and Waters – the nonprofit responsible for over 1,000 community cleanups on 23 rivers in 20 states, removing over 10 million pounds of garbage.

Chad, who was named CNN’s Hero of the Year in 2013, will give the keynote address at Monday’s Leadership Luncheon.

brought to you by Prince George’s Soil Conservation District


Tom Cassidy
In 2018, Tom will be the president of the National Association of Farm Broadcasting, an established liaison between farm broadcasters and the agriculture community made up of producers, companies, agencies, and associations like NACD. Tom will serve as the emcee for Monday’s Live Auction and Tuesday’s Appreciation Banquet, and will also moderate the farm bill panel held during Tuesday’s general session.


Tyson Durfey and Shea Fisher
Tyson Durfey is a bona fide rodeo star that has qualified for 10 rodeo national finals, won the Houston Rodeo and “The American,” and been named the 2016 World Champion Tie Down Roper. Tyson and Shea will give the inspirational keynote address during Monday’s General Session.

Shea Fisher is an Australian-born country music singer who will perform at Tuesday evening’s Appreciation Banquet.


Dr. Sam Clovis, Jr.
Sam Clovis was born and raised in central Kansas before leaving home for the United States Air Force Academy. Upon graduation, Dr. Clovis entered pilot training and remained a fighter pilot in the Air Force for 25 years. He retired as a Colonel and the Inspector General of NORAD and the United States Space Command.

Upon retirement from the Air Force, Dr. Clovis served in the private sector in a variety of roles. He served as the national co-chair and chief policy advisor for the Donald J. Trump for President Campaign, was a policy director during the transition period after the election and is now serving as the Senior White House Advisor to the US Department of Agriculture. Dr. Clovis will be providing the keynote address during Tuesday’s General Session.


Leonard Jordan
A Tennessee native, Leonard Jordan is the acting chief of Natural Resources Conservation Service, and previously served as the NRCS associate chief for conservation. In this role, Leonard led the agency’s conservation mission area, including all of NRCS’ conservation programs. During his distinguished 37-year career with NRCS, Leonard has also served as the Regional Conservationist for the Southeast Region, Deputy Chief for Strategic Planning and Accountability, Division Director of Conservation Planning and Technical Assistance, and Director of the Conservation Easement Programs Division.

Leonard will be providing the closing remarks for Tuesday’s General Session and will also speak at Tuesday night’s Appreciation Banquet.


Farm Bill Policy and Sustainability Panel

Moderated by National Association of Farm Broadcasting President Tom Cassidy, the Farm Bill Policy and Sustainability Panel will occur during Tuesday morning’s General Session and will feature the following distinguished panelists:

Daniel E. Wrinn, National Government Affairs Director, Ducks Unlimited
Dan began his professional career at Ducks Unlimited in 1994, where he served in the DU Governmental Affairs Office as an intern. He realized quickly that DU’s governmental affairs office provided the nexus between his passions for duck hunting and politics and subsequently returned to DU the following year as a policy fellow. After spending a year in Japan, Dan was hired on as a Conservation Policy Specialist and returned to DU in 1996. For the next five years Dan focused on securing appropriations for wetlands and waterfowl conservation initiatives as well as promoting farm bill conservation programs.

In 2001, Dan left DU but remained in Washington, D.C., serving agricultural, water and wildlife clients and non-profits. In 2008, Dan once again returned to Ducks Unlimited where he focused on passage of the 2014 Farm Bill. After living on Capitol Hill for more than a decade, Dan with his wife Cameron, son Clayton, daughter Molly and black lab Yankee recently moved to Annapolis, Maryland. If he’s not in his office or at the hockey rink chasing after his kids, chances are you will find him in the nearest marsh or swamp trying to get one more duck or catch one more fish before dark.


Rod Snyder, President, Field to Market
Rod Snyder has served as President of Field to Market, The Alliance for Sustainable Agriculture since March 2014. Field to Market is a diverse alliance working to create opportunities across the agricultural supply chain for continuous improvements in productivity, environmental quality and human well-being. Prior to this role, Snyder held positions as Public Policy Director for the National Corn Growers Association and Government Affairs Leader for CropLife America.

He is particularly recognized for his work at the intersection of agricultural and environmental issues. He has previously served on the board of directors of the Conservation Technology Information Center, on the steering committee of the Agricultural Nutrient Policy Council, on the executive committee of Field to Market, and as chair of the Pesticide Policy Coalition. He resides on his family’s farm in Shenandoah Junction, West Virginia.


Joel Pedersen, Director of Government Affairs, National Wild Turkey Federation
Pedersen, a certified wildlife biologist, guides NWTF public policy efforts at the national level. He devotes his time solely to public policy issues, allowing the NWTF to focus more on the issues that are impactful to the Save the Habitat. Save the Hunt. initiative.

Pedersen grew up in Wayne, Neb., and currently resides in Edgefield, S.C. He earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Wildlife Biology from the University of Nebraska at Kearney and a Master of Science degree in Wildlife and Fisheries Science from the University of Tennessee. Pedersen went on to work for the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission as a District Wildlife Biologist and is a certified Wildlife Biologist through The Wildlife Society. Pedersen’s duties in his position include coordinating the NWTF’s Hunting Heritage Super Fund Program and managing the NWTF’s land access initiatives, which include More Places to Hunt and Wild Turkey Country. More Places to Hunt is designed to help increase land available to the public and Wild Turkey Country is NWTF’s conservation easement program, which provides incentives for wildlife habitat protection on private land.


Pelham Straughn, Partner, 9B Group
A native of Birmingham, Alabama, Pelham graduated from Hampden-Sydney College and now resides on Capitol Hill with his wife and their daughter Catherine. The past four years Pelham Straughn served with distinction as the Policy Director for the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Agriculture under Chairman Frank Lucas leading his policy team during the formation, debate and passage of the Agricultural Act of 2014.

During his 13-year tenure on the Committee, Pelham worked on three different farm bills, served two different subcommittee Chairmen (Congressmen Terry Everett and Bill Jenkins) and three different full committee Chairmen (Congressmen Larry Combest, Bob Goodlatte and Frank Lucas) in many different capacities including Subcommittee Staff Director and Senior Professional Staff.

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