NACD Honors National Award Winners

CONTACT: Stephanie Addison, NACD Communications Director
(202) 547-6223; stephanie-addison[at]

CONTACT: Sara Kangas, NACD Communications Manager
(202) 547-6223; sara-kangas[at]


Feb. 6, 2019


SAN ANTONIO, TEXAS – Last night, the National Association of Conservation Districts (NACD) recognized winners of national awards at the organization’s 2019 Annual Meeting Appreciation Banquet.

Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) Chief Matthew Lohr and NACD President Brent Van Dyke presented the National Conservation Planning Partnership (NCPP)’s Hugh Hammond Bennett Awards for Conservation Excellence. Bruce and Rick Rominger of Rominger Farms in Winters, Calif., received the award for producers in recognition of their innovative conservation efforts on their land. Brad Wenz of Waite Park, Minn., received the award for conservation planning, in honor of his 38 years working one-on-one with farmers and ranchers to help them improve and protect their land.

Lohr and Van Dyke also presented the NACD/NRCS Olin Sims Conservation Leadership Award to Dick Went of North Scituate, R.I., for his extensive leadership ensuring conservation-minded farming techniques throughout the state of Rhode Island are in good partnership with nature.

James Vaughn of Vaughn Farms in Forsyth, Ga., received the 2018 NACD Friend of Conservation Award for his contributions to conserving the nation’s natural resources. Vaughn, who manages a family cattle operation, partners with the Towaliga Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD) and NRCS to implement innovative natural resource conservation practices and educational programs.

The 2018 NACD Distinguished Service award recipient, Creede Speake of Springer, Okla., has been serving conservation efforts in Southern Oklahoma for the last 69 years. Speake has assisted in securing easements for the state’s watershed flood control program and has been instrumental in the restoration of native prairie in Oklahoma, New Mexico and Texas.

The 2018 NACD President’s Award was presented to Bob Warner of Warner Ranch in Brighton, Colo. Warner has represented Colorado on NACD’s Board of Directors since 2002 and has worked with the Platte Valley CD since the 1970s.

On Tuesday morning, Chief Lohr and President Van Dyke presented Cumberland County Soil Conservation District (SCD) in Crossville, Tenn., with the 2018 Earth Team Award.

The National Conservation District Employees Association (NCDEA) also presented annual awards on Feb. 5, recognizing Paul Middleton “Pete” Hunter, Jr., of Coahoma County SWCD, Miss., as the 2018 Outstanding Conservation District Board Member and Janice Gilispie of Warren SCD, Tenn., as the 2018 Outstanding Conservation District Employee.

For more information on NACD’s annual awards, visit the NACD Awards webpage.


About the National Association of Conservation Districts:

The National Association of Conservation Districts is the non-profit organization that represents the nation’s 3,000 conservation districts, their state and territory associations, and the 17,000 men and women who serve on their governing boards. For more than 70 years, local conservation districts have worked with cooperating landowners and managers of private working lands to help them plan and apply effective conservation practices. For more information about NACD, visit:

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