NARD Elects 2023 Officers

NARD Elects 2023 Officers


LINCOLN, Nebraska – The voting members of the Nebraska Association of Resources Districts (NARD) Board of Directors elected new officers during their board meeting March 6, 2023.

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.

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, and grandchildren, Quincy and Amelia.

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 28 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.

Ryan Reuter, NARD Secretary-Treasurer (Minatare, Nebraska)
Ryan Reuter of the North Platte NRD was elected secretary-treasurer of the NARD Board and NARD Risk Pool Board. Reuter, a sales manager with Betaseed and ACH Seeds, has served on the North Platte NRD and NARD boards since 2018. Reuter and his wife Amie have two daughters, Avery and Addison.

Jim Eschliman, NARD Past President (Ericson, Nebraska)
Jim Eschliman from the Lower Loup NRD serves as past president of the NARD Board and NARD Risk Pool Board. He served as president from 2020-2022 and has been on the boards since 2016. Eschliman has served on the Lower Loup NRD Board 17 years, is the current 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 1, the NRD managers elected Russell Callan, general manager of the Lower Loup NRD, as chair of the Managers Committee; and J. Scott Sobotka, general manager of the Lower Big Blue NRD, as vice-chair of the Managers Committee.

Russell Callan, Lower Loup NRD
Russell Callan became the general manager of the Lower Loup NRD in January 2018 where he was the assistant manager for 17 years. Previously, Callan also worked for the Upper Big Blue NRD for 11 years and the Middle Republican NRD for three years. He has two children Riley [Taylor] Smith, and Ryan [Kacia] Callan, and four grandchildren Natalie and Trace Smith, and Jordyn and Roan Callan.

J. Scott Sobotka, Lower Big Blue NRD
J. Scott Sobotka was promoted to general manager of the Lower Big Blue NRD in January 2022. 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.

The Nebraska Association of Resources Districts (NARD), the trade association for Nebraska's 23 Natural Resources Districts (NRD), works with individual districts to protect lives, property and the future of Nebraska’s natural resources. NRDs are unique to Nebraska, and act as local government entities with broad responsibilities to protect Nebraska’s natural resources. Major Nebraska river basins form the boundaries of the 23 NRDs, enabling districts to respond to local conservation and resource management needs. Learn more about Nebraska’s NRDs at

NARD Executive Committee from left, Ryan Reuter (NPNRD), Marty Graff (MNNRD), Dr. Orval Gigstad (NNRD), Jim Johnson (SPNRD), and Jim Meismer (TPNRD). Not pictured is Past President Jim Eschliman (LLNRD).