USDA Under Secretary Bill Northey
United States Department of Agriculture Under Secretary Bill Northey will provide a keynote address during Monday’s general session.
Under Secretary Northey was confirmed in February to oversee the department’s farm production and conservation mission area, which includes the Farm Services Agency (FSA), the Risk Management Agency (RMA) and the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS).
Clyde Cristman is director of the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation. Cristman has more than 30 years of experience in budgeting, strategic planning, human resource management and oversight of various state and local government programs.
Cristman has previously served as legislative fiscal analyst for the General Assembly Senate Finance Committee, where he advised senators on agriculture, forestry, natural resources, land conservation, Chesapeake Bay clean-up, land preservation tax credits and more. Cristman will provide a keynote address during Monday’s general session.
Vickie Roberts-Ratliff will provide one of the keynote addresses during Tuesday’s general session.
Roberts-Ratliff is a sixth-generation landowner in Mississippi, where she and her mother own property designated as an agroforestry demonstration site. Roberts-Ratliff also serves as a program assistant for the Georgia Association of Conservation Districts, and assists landowners, especially female and African-American landowners, with conservation practices and forest management plans. Roberts-Ratliff is the author of the book “Roberts Rules of Land Retention.”
Bettina Ring was appointed Virginia Secretary of Agriculture and Forestry by Governor Ralph Northam in 2018. Previously, Ring served as the Virginia state forester, appointed by Gov. Terry McAuliffe, and also worked as senior vice president of family forests for the American Forest Foundation.
Ring spent 14 years at the Virginia Department of Forestry, leaving the agency in 2001 as deputy state forester. As deputy state forester, Ring was responsible for operations and helped develop and implement a new mission, vision and strategic plan for the department. Ring also has held various leadership positions with conservation and natural resource management nonprofit organizations, including the Colorado Coalition of Land Trusts, the Wilderness Land Trust and the Bay Area Open Space Council. Ring will provide one of the keynote addresses during Tuesday’s general session.
Joe Maroon is the executive director for the Virginia Environmental Endowment. Maroon has more than 30 years of experience with natural resource issues, working on Chesapeake Bay restoration, land conservation, stormwater management and nonpoint source pollution. Prior to this role, Maroon served as the agency director for the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation for two terms and as the Virginia Executive Director of the Chesapeake Bay Foundation for more than 16 years.
Maroon will provide one of Tuesday’s general session keynotes, entitled “Forty Years of Environmental Protection.”
Pam Northam is the First Lady of Virginia, an educator, environmentalist and longtime advocate of the Chesapeake Bay and Virginia’s waters. Northam recently served as the community outreach coordinator for the non-profit group Lynnhaven River NOW, where she helped Virginians learn sustainability practices.
Congressman Donald McEachin
Congressman Donald McEachin represents the 4th Congressional District of Virginia in the U.S. House of Representatives. McEachin is the Regional Whip and serves on the House Committee on Natural Resources as the Ranking Member of the Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee and sits on the Subcommittee on Federal Lands.
Becky Humphries is the chief executive officer of the National Wild Turkey Federation (NWTF). Prior to this role, Humphries served as NWTF’s vice president of conservation and chief conservation and operations officer. Before coming to NWTF, she served as Ducks Unlimited’s director of operations in the Great Lakes/Atlantic Region, as well as more than 30 years of service for the Michigan Department of Natural Resources and Environment.