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Chief Executive Officer: Jeremy Peters- Washington, D.C.

September 2021

By Debbie Buechler

Jeremy joined the staff of NACD in 2006, has served as Chief Operating Officer as well as Legislative Affairs Manager. Earlier in his career, he served as Federal Policy Director for American Farmland Trust and directed climates, conservation and energy programs for National Farmers Union. Jeremy has also worked on Capital Hill for former Congressman Earl Pomeroy, D-N-D., when Pomeroy sat on the House Agriculture Committee and the Ways and Means Committee. In 2015 Jeremy became the NACD'S Chief Executive Officer. Jeremy manages the association and leads advocacy efforts on behalf of the nation's 3,000 conservation districts.

Jeremy grew up on his family farm in Wise County in Southwestern Virginia. He holds Bachelor's degrees in Political Science and History from Emory and Henry College, and a Master of Public Administration degree from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University.

NASCD had the opportunity thru email/phone correspondence to ask Jeremy a few questions.

Question: Are your married? Any kids?

Yes, I am married to my wife Emily and we have two daughters who are 11 and 9.

Question: How did you get involved with conservation efforts?

Growing up on my family’s farm in Southwest Virginia and having a connection to the land, conservation has always been part of my ethic. I became involved in conservation policy after moving to Washington, D.C. a few years after college in 2005. Working in conservation policy has been a natural fit between my life experiences and my degree in political science. One of the first people I met when I moved to Washington, DC was former NACD CEO Krysta Harden, and her mentorship continues to be tremendously impactful working in conservation policy.

Question: What do you think the future is for conservation with the new Administration and what is NACD doing in regards?

I believe there is a tremendous opportunity to advance working lands conservation with so many stakeholders expressing interest in conservation. Some are coming to the table from a climate perspective, or a regenerative agriculture perspective, or corporate sustainability perspective, but conservation has always been a bi-partisan issue with support across the spectrum. Conservation districts have an opportunity and need to be at the table for those discussions whether at the local, state or national level.

Question: Why should local Soil Conservation Districts pay dues to NACD and explain why they should continue?

NACD’s mission is to promote responsible management and conservation of natural resources on all lands by representing locally-led conservation districts and their associations through grassroots advocacy, education and partnerships. I believe we bring great value to every conservation district, and we cannot do our work without our members. Our work from the national to the local level is so intertwined and we need the ongoing support of our members in order to continue promoting and supporting the great work they do all across the country.

Question: Why Do you think the work of NACD is important?

NACD’s work is important because the work of our 3,000 conservation districts is so important. We advance policy that reflects the needs of our members, we strive to help educate the public on the work that conservation districts do to serve public needs around soil and water conservation, and we identify partnerships with organizations that have goals and objectives that are beneficial to conservation districts.

Question: What advice do you have for people interested in joining the profession?

My advice for people interested in becoming a conservation professional is to follow your passion and gain the skills you need to be successful. Conservation is certainly a multidisciplinary field that involves many areas of expertise such as technicians, scientists, policy experts, educators, communicators. The list is really expansive, so lots of people from diverse backgrounds and interests can find a rewarding career in conservation. The other advice I have is to never stop learning, conservation is a dynamic field that is constantly evolving with new scientific and technological information so lifelong learning is important.

Question: When you have 30 minutes of free-time, how do you spend your time?

I live in the DC area so I don’t have all of the outdoor opportunities I had growing up in rural Southwest Virginia, but two things I really enjoy doing is getting my kids out fishing on the Potomac River. We recently discovered what a great American Shad fishery the Potomac offers among other species. I also enjoy visiting several bird sanctuaries in my neighborhood. So far, I have recorded over 132 species and most of those have been in an urban setting.

Question: What is your favorite quote or motto?

I have many favorite quotes but one that I am reminded of often is on a sign in front of one of the rowhouses near NACD’s office. “Never Doubt That a Small Group of Thoughtful Committed Citizens Can Change the World: Indeed, It's The Only Thing That Ever Has.” Margaret Mead

NDASCD would like to thank Jeremy for sitting down and answering our questions.

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