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Cultivating New Leadership

My name is Jeff Rice, and I am proud to support the Next Generation Leadership Campaign. Investing in the next generation of leaders is the single most important thing we can do to make sure the locally-led conservation model lives on throughout the generations to come.

My wife Tammy and I have a small agri-business and farm in Utica, Ky., which is located in Daviess County. There we raise, corn, soybeans, wheat and canola in addition to three kids with a grandbaby on the way. We’ve been a no-till operation for as long as I’ve been farming. But I realized pretty quickly after I bought my first farm in the late 80s that conserving the land, water and other natural resources had to be a priority for me.

I’ve been passionate about agriculture and caring for the land for as long as I can remember, but I decided to get involved with my conservation district and NACD through the encouragement of my father and other Kentucky conservation leaders.

To date, I’ve been the Kentucky Association of Conservation Districts (KACD) first vice president and president and was recently elected as the state’s NACD board member a few months ago. Throughout my conservation career and within this organization, I’ve come to really appreciate all the advocacy efforts this organization demonstrates. Relaying locally-led information and having representation on the national level is so important in order to get the right things heard in Washington, D.C.

We can’t have enough voices representing us in conservation and agriculture, and in order to get more people involved, we have to educate new leaders on what NACD is about and help them understand how crucial it is for them to represent their state and their community.

I got involved in a few leadership programs back in my younger years, and I am so thankful I did. Through them, I made friends and contacts that I still call on today. By attending leadership programs, you’re not only meeting people, but you’re gaining insight and learning new concepts from other parts of the country and segments of industry. Getting invested at an early age is what made some of us older folks committed to conservation, and it’s what we have to do for that next generation. I see what a bright future my family and others in the community have within this industry, and I know that the Next Generation Leadership Campaign will help to make it that much brighter.

I’ve always believed that if you take care of the land, it will take care of you. We must plant and cultivate those seeds of conservation and agriculture within our children and the next generation of leaders. I am confident this campaign will achieve that. Investing in our future is the best investment we can make as an organization. I encourage my fellow conservationists to make this a priority by contributing today, as all contributions received by the end of the year will be matched by a generous benefactor, up to $100,000.

Best,

Jeff Rice
NACD Board Member – Kentucky

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