NARD Elects 2022 Officers

NARD Elects 2022 Officers


Photo Caption: The 2022 NARD Executive Committee from left, I&E Committee Chair Jim Johnson, Vice President Marty Graff, Secretary-Treasurer Joel Hansen, Past President Jim Eschliman, President Dr. Orval Gigstad and Legislative Chair Jim Meismer.

LINCOLN, Nebraska – The voting members of the Nebraska Association of Resources Districts (NARD) Board of Directors elected new officers during their board meeting March 7, 2022.

The NARD Board consists of representation from each of the Nebraska’s 23 Natural Resources Districts (NRDs). The board meets five times throughout the year and helps guide the association and NRDs in decision making that protects lives, property and the future of Nebraska’s natural resources. The NARD Risk Pool Board governs the health insurance program for NRD employees. Since its inception in 2007, the program has held the average annual cost increases for health premium rates below 4.5 percent.

Dr. Orval Gigstad, NARD President (Syracuse, Nebraska)
The NARD Board and NARD Risk Pool Board elected Dr. Orval Gigstad from the Nemaha NRD as president. Gigstad has served on the Nemaha NRD Board since 1993 and the NARD Board since 1996. He also serves as chair of the National Association of Conservation Districts Northern Plains Region. Previously, Gigstad served as NARD president from 2002-2004. A practicing veterinarian for more than 45 years, he operates the Arbor Valley Animal Clinic in Syracuse. Gigstad and his wife Carolyn have two children, Grady and Amber.

Marty Graff, NARD Vice President (Ainsworth, Nebraska)
Marty Graff of the Middle Niobrara NRD was elected as vice president of the NARD Board and NARD Risk Pool Board. Graff has served on the Middle Niobrara NRD Board 27 years and on the NARD boards since 2018. He farms with his wife, Brenda, and sons near Ainsworth. Off the farm, Graff serves on the East Woodlawn Cemetery Board (Johnstown, Nebraska) and is active in the Elks Club helping with youth baseball and wrestling.

Joel Hansen, NARD Secretary-Treasurer (Wayne, Nebraska)
Joel Hansen of the Lower Elkhorn NRD was elected secretary-treasurer of the NARD Board and NARD Risk Pool Board. Hansen brings a unique perspective to the board as the Street & Planning Director for the City of Wayne where he has worked for more than 27 years. He has served on the Lower Elkhorn NRD board 15 years and represents the board on the Wau-Col Rural Water System Advisory Committee. Hansen also manages his family’s farm, which includes row crops, a restored prairie, and several tree plantings. The farm serves as an outdoor classroom for Wayne State College and Wayne Community Schools.

Jim Eschliman, NARD Past President (Ericson, Nebraska)
Jim Eschliman from the Lower Loup NRD moves into the immediate past president role of the NARD Board and NARD Risk Pool Board. He served as president since 2020 and has been on the boards since 2016. Eschliman has served on the Lower Loup NRD Board 16 years, is the current vice-chairman, and has also served on the program and projects committee. Eschliman also serves on his local co-op board and the Cattleman’s Beef Board. After selling his dairy cows in 2018, he considers himself retired and resides near Ericson with his wife, Deb.

In addition to the president, vice president, secretary-treasurer and past president, the NARD Board executive committee includes Jim Meismer, Legislative Committee chair representing the Twin Platte NRD, and Jim Johnson, Information and Education Committee chair representing the South Platte NRD.

Nebraska Natural Resources Districts Managers Committee
On March 2, the NRD managers elected Todd Siel, general manager of the Lower Republican NRD, as chair of the Managers Committee; and Scott Sobotka, general manager of the Lower Big Blue NRD, as vice-chair of the Managers Committee.

Todd Siel, Lower Republican NRD
Todd Siel has been general manager of the Lower Republican NRD since 2017. Prior to the NRD, Siel worked in banking and was also the co-owner operator of a construction business involved in agriculture land development and improvement, including erosion control and drainage structures. Siel lives in Franklin with his wife Melinda.

J. Scott Sobotka, Lower Big Blue NRD
J. Scott Sobotka was promoted to general manager of the Lower Big Blue NRD in January. He has served the district for 22 years as a land resources specialist and most recently as assistant manager. Sobotka lives near Tobias with his wife Wendee and daughters Jaicee, Josiee and Jaylee.

The Managers Committee includes managers from all 23 Natural Resources Districts. The committee meets five times a year to coordinate NRD activities with state and federal agencies, conservation partners and other parties to protect Nebraska’s natural resources.

Throughout 2022, the NRDs will commemorate breakthroughs and achievements in conservation these past 50 years. To join in the anniversary celebration and follow the Natural Resources Districts’ special activities throughout 2022, visit and follow #Since1972 on social media.