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Brent Van Dyke honored by New Mexico legislature

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Brent Van Dyke, who retired as president of the National Association of Conservation Districts, was honored by the New Mexico State Senate in a resolution adopted during the past 60-day session.

The document presented to Van Dyke, listed his work as a working member of the agriculture community in Lea County and in Plains, Texas, as well as his membership in several organizations dedicated to agriculture and to conservation.

Van Dyke, who has a passion for conservation and sustainable agriculture, said he enjoyed his tenure as president of the organization he has served on the state level for many years.

“I loved it. I traveled to 46 different states, to Puerto Rico and other places,” said Van Dyke. “I worked with federal partners. The people I met were wonderful. There are commonalities among us. Everybody wants to feed the next generation.”

In his farewell letter to NACD, Van Dyke said, “This organization reaffirmed my belief that there is so much more to life than just living and dying, and as humans, it is our inherent duty to contribute to the betterment of mankind and leave this earth a better place than we found it.”

Van Dyke said he could not have done all that needed to be done without the support of other members of the NCAD and the hard work of his wife, Kim, whom he characterized as “a farmer. Farm work goes on 24/7,” he said. “And she was here to keep things on track.”

Kim Van Dyke will continue to keep things on track while her husband serves the next two years as past president of the NCAD, organizing conferences and taking care of the dozens of details necessary for a conference to be successful.

In addition to his duties for NCAD, he will leave for a three-week trip to the eastern European nation of Georgia under the auspices of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID.)

“I’ll be going as a guest speaker,” Van Dyke said. “I’ve been to eastern Europe and to Georgia several times, primarily as an educator. We’re interested in animal nutrition and animal health.”

Van Dyke’s role as educator in Georgia will be an extension of the work he’s been doing for more than 25 years.

He taught agriculture at Hobbs High School, served as FFA advisor, and worked for the United States Agency for International Development for more than 15 years as a contract advisor for agricultural projects in Eastern Europe and Eurasia. He also served as vice president of the New Mexico Association of Soil and Water Conservation Districts from 2006-09 and was chair of the Lea County Soil and Water Conservation District’s board of supervisors. He was first elected to represent NACD’s Southwest Region on the executive board in 2011.

He sees his work as educator and conservationist as vital to the well-being of all the people of Earth.

“There is a projection that there will be nine billion people on the planet by 2035,” he said. “We have to find a way to feed those people. What I want to do is promote sustainable agriculture practices so we can feed people all over the world.”

Dorothy N. Fowler can be reached at education@ hobbsnews.com.

Burkett Shaw
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