NARD Elects 2021 Officers

NARD Elects 2021 Officers


Photo: The 2021 NARD Executive Committee includes, from left, Legislative Committee Chair Jim Meismer, Secretary-Treasurer Marty Graff, Vice President Orval Gigstad, President Jim Eschliman and Past President Larry Reynolds. Not pictured, Information and Education Committee Chair Jim Johnson.

LINCOLN, Nebraska – The voting members of the Nebraska Association of Resources Districts (NARD) Board of Directors elected new officers during their board meeting March 8, 2021.

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.

Jim Eschliman, NARD President (Ericson, Nebraska)
Jim Eschliman from the Lower Loup NRD was elected president of the NARD Board and NARD Risk Pool Board. He has been on the boards since 2016. Eschliman has served on the Lower Loup NRD Board 16 years, is currently vice-chairman, and has 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.

Orval Gigstad, NARD Vice President (Syracuse, Nebraska)
The NARD Board and NARD Risk Pool Board elected Dr. Orval Gigstad from the Nemaha NRD as vice 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 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 Secretary-Treasurer (Ainsworth, Nebraska)
Marty Graff of the Middle Niobrara NRD was elected as secretary-treasurer of the NARD Board and NARD Risk Pool Board. Graff has served on the Middle Niobrara NRD Board 26 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.

Larry Reynolds, NARD Past President (Lexington, Nebraska)
Larry Reynolds of the Tri-Basin NRD will remain on the executive committee as the NARD Board past president. He has been on the NARD boards 10 years, serving as NARD secretary-treasurer from 2014-2016, vice president from 2016-2018 and president from 2018-2020. Reynolds has been a member of the Tri-Basin NRD Board for 36 years. He served in the U.S. Air Force eight years and in the Nebraska Air National Guard 18 years. Reynolds currently farms and helps manage the family’s cow-calf operation near Lexington.

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. Both the Legislative Committee chair and Information and Education Committee chair are appointed by the NARD president.

Nebraska Natural Resources Districts Managers Committee
On March 3, NRD Managers elected Paul Zillig, general manager of the Lower Platte South NRD, as chair of the Managers Committee; and Todd Siel, general manager of the Lower Republican NRD, as vice-chair of the Managers Committee.

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.