AACD Leadership

Meet the Executive Committee

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President & Government Affairs Committee Chair

Frank Krentz

Frank is a 5th generation rancher in Southeast Arizona.  He grew up in a rural area where he attended a one-room school, and learned the ins and outs of ranching from his family. After grade school he attended Animas High School where he was involved in sports, student government, and was the Animas Chapter FFA President. Frank attended college at New Mexico State University where he received his Bachelor's and Master's in Agribusiness. After graduating fron NMSU, Frank's first job was with Fertizona Willcox. Soon after, he returned to the family ranch to apply his skills and knowledge from his schooling and hands-on experience.

Frank's family legacy goes beyond ranching. Many of his family members have servered as Supervisors to the Whitewater Draw NRCD; so it was a natural fit for Frank to become involved. Thorughout his childhood, Frank was often involved with conservation projects through the NRCD: brush management, fencing, water improvements, and wildlife-friendly drinkers.

Frank has been involved with Arizona Cattle Growers, Project Centl, National Cattlemen Beef Association, and is currently the Vice Chairman of Whitewater Draw NRCD, in addition to his sitting as President of AACD and AACD's Government Affairs Committee Chair.

"I hope to help producers throughout the state in getting projects on the ground that will benefit Arizona's natural resources. I believe that by working with our agency cooperators, we can positively impact agriculture thorugh conservation practices and shed positive light on such an important part of our state's economy." - Frank Krentz

Mark Kuechel

1st Vice President

Mark Kuechel

Mark is a 4th generation farmer whose family has been growing citrus in the American Southwest for almost 140 years. Mark is the owner and operator of Kuechel Farms, which he established in Yuma, Arizona, in 1975. Mark has served as Chairman of the Yuma NRCD and the Yuma Conservation Garden since 1990, receiving the Outstanding Supervisor Award in 2000, 2013, and 2019. In 2014 he was appointed as Treasurer of the AACD and has held his current position as 1st Vice President since 2018.  Mark is also a member of the AACD Cropland Committee.

From 1994 to 1999, Mark was a member of the University of Arizona Yuma Agricultural Center Research Advisory Council and Chairman of the Cooperative Extension, and in 1997, led the establishment of the Mark Wilcox Memorial Scholarship for Students of Agriculture. The Arizona Community Foundation of Yuma gave Mark its Heart of Yuma Award in 2011. He was named a Paul Harris Fellow by the Rotary Foundation of Rotary International in 2008. He is an Honorary Alumnus, University of Arizona, on behalf of FFA. He received an Honorary FFA Degree, Yuma Chapter, 2004-2005, and an Honorary FFA Degree, State, 2006.

Mark is a life member of Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, North American Hunting Club, Arizona Desert Bighorn Sheep Society, and the National Rifle Association. He worked with the Arizona Game and Fish Department on several volunteer projects, spearheading efforts to build and install a Bighorn sheep tank drinker in the Tinajas Altas Mountains, and participated in a Bighorn sheep relocation program in the Kofa Mountains.

Tina Thompson

2nd Vice President

Tina Thompson

Tina is a 5th generation rancher who, along with her husband David, is the current owner/operator of the same ranch she grew up on outside of Willcox. Tina and David raised their son Cory on the ranch, and he is an integral part of their operation – as is their granddaughter! Tina has a lifetime of experience in conserving natural resources while in the business of raising cattle. The family ranch relies on many miles of pipelines along with numerous wells and water storage facilities. Having spent most of her life as a cattle rancher in Arizona, Tina has a great appreciation for well-managed, healthy, productive land.

Tina became involved with the Willcox-San Simon NRCD in 2010, and in 2018 was asked to join the AACD Executive Committee. She was voted in as 2nd Vice President and holds this position currently. Tina is also a District Supervisor for Willcox-San Simon and is an active member of the Arizona Farm Bureau, Arizona Cattle Growers, Cochise Graham Cattle Growers, and the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association.

Tina’s dedication to continuing her family’s legacy, her passion for agriculture, and her devotion to natural resource conservation make her an exemplar of female leadership in agriculture today. In her position, Tina hopes to encourage others to learn how farming and ranching can support resource conservation across the state.

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Past President

Bill Dunn

Coming soon!

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Secretary

Shelley Blackmore

Shelley Blackmore owns and operates, with her husband, their ranch in Hillside, Arizona They raise Angus and Angus/Hereford and Angus/Barazona crossbreed beef cattle. Shelley’s family has been in ranching for generations and can trace her family’s ranching ancestry back to Scotland many, many years. Love of ranching, working with the land, and with both cattle and horses is the only life for Shelley and her family.

About 12 years ago, Shelley was asked to take the place of Triangle Supervisor Curtis Ritter when he passed away. If you ask Shelley, she’ll tell you that up until then, she was only slightly aware of what the Districts were about, and that it has been enlightening to learn and participate in their work!

Shelley is also serves as the secretary/treasurer of a local property owners’ association, where she says it has been a surprising avenue of opportunity to befriend other property owners in her area of Arizona, and to teach these other landowners the facts about ranching and the importance of conservation of our lands.

“I dearly love the ranching industry here in Arizona and do not want to see it and our way of life disappear.” – Shelley Blackmore

Anita Waite

Treasurer

Anita Waite

Anita and her husband have been ranching in Arizona since 1993. They bought Cane Springs Ranch, completely new to ranching – and ranching in the desert to boot! They swiftly learned the importance of resource management. Land stewardship seemed implicit to ranching, and Anita and her husband quickly took to implementing conservation practices and have a cooperative management plan with Game & Fish, BLM, State Land Department, NRCS, their local NRCD, and the University of Arizona Cooperative Extension.

Anita has been active in many organizations over the years. She has served as the Mohave Counties Public Land Use Committee Grazing Chair, sat on the board of the Habitat Partnership Committee as Vice Chair, and was a USDA – FSA County Committee person. Currently, she sits on the board for the Mohave County Farm & Livestock Bureau, is the Big Sandy NRCD Chairman, and is the AACD Treasurer.

Anita has seven children, 32 grandchildren, and eight great grandchildren.

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Tribal Representative

Sadie Lister

Coming soon!

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Cropland Committee Chair

Bobbi McDermott

Bobbi has been involved in conservation efforts in Arizona for over 50 years. With a degree in Agronomy from the University of Arizona, Bobbi’s first job in conservation was with the Soil Conservation Service (now known as the Natural Resources Conservation Service) where she worked as a Soil Conservationist in the Yuma Field Office. After six years of working as a Soil Conservationist, Bobbi was promoted to District Conservationist (DC) – the first female DC in Agency history – and moved into the Wellton Mohawk field office.

Bobbi worked extensively on the Wellton-Mohwk Salinity Project for 12 years, after which the Wellton field office was closed and combined with Yuma. With the merger, Bobbi became DC for three counties and four Conservation Districts in spanning two states (AZ and CA). After 38 years working for the NRCS, Bobbi retired and remained in the Yuma area.

Post-retirement, Bobbi has been deeply involved in the local community, working with farmers in the Yuma and Wellton-Mohawk Districts. She is a District Supervisor on the Yuma NRCD board, is a contributing columnist for the Yuma Sun newspaper, has taught soils courses at Arizona Western College, and continues to volunteer for and participate in numerous local councils, boards, and committees.

"I am very vocal about local conservation issues... Yuma County agriculture is my favorite topic!"

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Rangeland & Forest Committee Chair

Daric Knight

Daric is a 4th generation rancher, raised on his grandparents’ ranch, Hooper Hereford Ranch, in Springerville, Arizona, which is where Daric and his wife live today, and operate it under the name White Mountain Herefords. In addition to the ranch, they have a hunting business as well as a natural resource construction business.

Daric has been involved with Conservation Districts for a cumulative 28 years. When in high school, Daric was recruited by former Apache NRCD board member Robert Holland and former Chairman Don Colter to serve as a “youth advisor”. In this position, Daric learned the importance and influence of Districts from an early age. After receiving his degree in Agri-business from Arizona State University, Daric resumed his participation in the Apache NRCD, and is currently the Chairman of the Apache NRCD. He is also an AACD Executive Committee member.

“My favorite thing about the NRCD is the influence we can have on the natural resources in our local area. We are also able to more closely collaborate and partner with other state and federal agencies to make a conservation footprint across multiple landscapes and management jurisdictions.”

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Education Committee Co-Chair

Sheryl Christenson

Sheryl is a life-long farmer from Yuma, Arizona. Her father settled in Yuma in 1935 and purchased the family’s first 80 acres. Her father, Frank J. Hartman, grew alfalfa and small grains, and during World War II, raised Bermuda grass for grass airfields. When Sheryl and her sister inherited the farm from Frank, it had been leased to vegetable growers – a core growth feature of the Yuma area.

Sheryl first became involved with the Conservation Districts when she became the Laguna NRCD Education Center Director and Clerk – a position she held for 12 years. She currently serves as Chair of the Laguna NRCD as well as the Executive Committee of the AACD.

Sheryl is and has been involved in numerous community organizations, including being a past District Governor for Rotary International (2016-17); being a Charter Member of Yuma Sunrise Rotary; being a Member and Officer of Elks Lodge 476 Yuma, Arizona; being a member, liturgist, and member of the session for First Presbyterian Church; being a graduate of the Yuma Leadership Academy; and being a recipient of AACD’s Employee of the Year.

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Education Committee Co-Chair

Dawn Salcito

Dawn is a born and bred rancher from Arizona. Growing up she worked many ranches with her parents and married a rancher. After getting married, she and her husband moved to Skull Valley where her husband’s family ranch is located. For almost 30 years, Dawn has been ranching in the Triangle District.

In 2015, Dawn joined the Triangle NRCD board, and took a job with the Western Yavapai Conservation Education Center (sponsored by Triangle and Chino Winds NRCDs). Dawn also became an NRCS Program Specialist in order to help support producers with their conservation projects.

“NRCDs mean locally led conservation, which is what it's all about!”