NARD Welcomes New Board Members

NARD Welcomes New Board Members


LINCOLN, Nebraska – In 2021, the Nebraska Association of Resources Districts (NARD) welcomed four new directors – Joel Hansen, Mason Hoffman, Gene Kelly and Luke Peterson.

Joel Hansen, Lower Elkhorn NRD (Wayne, Nebraska)
Hansen brings a unique perspective to the board as the Street & Planning Director for the City of Wayne for more than 25 years. Hansen has served on the Lower Elkhorn NRD board for 14 years and represents the board on the Wau-Col Rural Water System Advisory Committee. He also manages his family’s farm, which includes row crops, a restored prairie, and several tree plantings.

Mason Hoffman, Little Blue NRD (Roseland, Nebraska)
Hoffman has served on the Little Blue NRD Board since January 2016 and has been on the executive committee since 2019. During the last five years, he has been involved on the Water and Projects committees. He has an associate degree in ag business and farms in south-central Nebraska. Hoffman and his wife of 11 years, Michelle, have three children, Mara, Natalie and Theodore.

Gene Kelly, Upper Elkhorn NRD (O’Neill, Nebraska)
Kelly has served on the Upper Elkhorn NRD Board eight years and is currently on the Water Resources Committee. Prior to joining the NARD board, he served as the alternate delegate for several years. Mostly retired from the insurance and investment industries, Kelly volunteers his time on the Holt County 4-H Foundation Board, Holt County Planning and Zoning Board, Summerfest Rodeo Committee and is a member of the Lion’s Club. Kelly and his wife, Wendy, have three children, Justin, Quinn and Quana.

Luke Peterson, Lower Platte South NRD (Lincoln, Nebraska)
Peterson is currently on his first term with the Lower Platte South NRD Board after being elected in 2018. In his short time on the board, he has served on the Urban, Finance & Planning, and Recreation, Forestry & Wildlife subcommittees, and is currently on the Executive Committee. Peterson also serves on the board for the Nebraska Red Ribbon Coalition, a statewide advisory group for the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services for HIV/AIDS-related services that also combats HIV/AIDS societal stigma.

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.

The NARD Board of Directors includes:

  • Jim Bendfeldt, Central Platte NRD
  • Scott Berndt, Upper Niobrara White NRD
  • Paul Bethune, Upper Big Blue NRD
  • *Jim Eschliman, Lower Loup NRD (President)
  • *Oval Gigstad, Nemaha NRD (Vice President)
  • *Martin Graff, Middle Niobrara NRD (Secretary-Treasurer)
  • Joel Hansen, Lower Elkhorn NRD
  • Robert Hilger, Lower Platte North NRD
  • Mason Hoffman, Little Blue NRD
  • *Jim Johnson, South Platte NRD (Information & Education Committee Chair)
  • Steven Kelley, Lower Big Blue NRD
  • Gene Kelly, Upper Elkhorn NRD
  • Marcel Kramer, Lewis & Clark NRD
  • Marvin Liewer, Lower Niobrara NRD
  • Terry Martin, Upper Republican NRD
  • *James Meismer, Twin Platte NRD (Legislative Committee Chair)
  • Roger Nelson, Lower Republican NRD
  • Luke Peterson, Lower Platte South NRD
  • Ryan Reuter, North Platte NRD
  • *Larry Reynolds, Tri-Basin NRD (Past President)
  • Judy Ridenour, Upper Loup NRD
  • Shane Rippen, Middle Republican NRD
  • Richard Tesar, Papio-Missouri River NRD

*Executive Committee

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