In December 2022, NCF announced the names of the seven participants of its second Next Generation Leadership Institute (NGLI) program, selected through a competitive national application process as members of a year-long program to build future conservation leaders through comprehensive trainings.
Meet the 2023 NGLI Cohort:
“Before you are a leader, success is about growing yourself. When you become a leader, success is all about growing others.” – Jack Welch
Daryl Donohue loves to talk American History, antique Winchester rifles, two-cylinder John Deere tractors, Bob Wills music, good jokes, and Theodore Roosevelt; whom he has portrayed. His other passion is caring for the Native Grassland Ecosystem in the Chatauqua Hills he calls home. Daryl utilizes prescribed fire and grazing practices in his operation to maintain rangeland health on leased land as well as his own. He works with landlords, both local and absentee, to graze a cow/calf and stocker operation. Many of his working relationships are approaching their 45-year mark thanks to his work ethic with grasslands and their owners. He is best known for his ongoing “war” on Eastern Red Cedar encroachment. The “Green Glacier” has melted somewhat with his advocacy for cedar removal on social media, at conservation district activities, Safe Burn Workshops, and through cooperation with his neighbors. Daryl believes in trying new techniques and uses his land as a proving ground before moving to leased pasture. This includes experimenting with different types of grazing, watering facilities, invasive species management, and, most recently and successfully, growing season burning. Daryl has served on his conservation district board for 18 years, 9 of those in the office of Treasurer. He is currently serving his second term as Area V Director of the Kansas Association of Conservation Districts.
“The leader is one who, out of the clutter, brings simplicity, out of discord, harmony and out of difficulty, opportunity.” – Albert Einstein
Eric Hanson has lived nearly his entire life in the Black Hills of South Dakota and has been a permanent resident of Spearfish, SD since graduating from Black Hills State University in 1995. He is currently the Grounds Supervisor for the university. He has a long history of volunteering with various local organizations and boards like the Chamber of Commerce Beautification Committee and the Spearfish Parks, Rec and Forestry Advisory Board. He served as President of the Walton-Schuler Irrigation Ditch Company and is currently the Vice Chair of the Lawrence County Conservation District Board.
Eric, alongside his wife Sherry and two children, Elsie and Loman, spend much of their free time roaming the Black Hills on foot, utility terrain vehicles (UTVs), or by camper, taking in the vast resources this little slice of heaven on earth provides. A large garden fills much of their time in the summer while archery, hunting, and ice-fishing fill the short days in the winter.
“Leadership is an action not a position.” – Donald McGannon
Craig Meyers owns and operate D&M Farms in Calahaln, NC with his father-in-law. He farms full time which has allowed him to homeschool his kids and spend more time together as a family. They raise chickens for Perdue, grow grain, make their own hay, raise beef cows, and sell grass fed beef.
He has personally experienced economy and agriculture changes that have directly affected him, his career, and his business. Because of these experiences, Craig has developed a passion for helping preserve natural resources and the environment for future generations to come. He takes every opportunity possible to grow and learn. He aims to always continue to improve himself, be a good role model, and to lead by example.
Craig is an active member of his community, currently serving as Vice Chair and Supervisor of The Davie County Soil and Water Board and Chairman of the Research and Technology Committee. He has also been involved in the NC Association of Soil and Water Conservation Districts leadership course, attended the School of Government Class three different times, served for 2 years on Perdue’s Young Producers Board, attended multiple financial and leadership courses and conferences with Carolina Farm Credit, and served as a member of Farm Bureau’s Young Farmers and Ranchers Program and the NC Cattlemen’s Association.
“You live everyday, you only die once. – Unknown
Angela Rosol hails from Bremer County, Iowa, the flattest county in the state. She and her husband Casey began their operation as first-generation farmers 12 years ago by making hay for others. Now they grow row crops, and one day hope to incorporate livestock into their operation. Angela was raised to respect the land and hopes to instill that into her children Rosalee and Rowdy.
Angela has been involved with her local soil and water district for 8 years, first serving as chair and now as a member. She also serves on the Conservation Districts of Iowa board, as the treasurer. They are actively trying to get more people involved by working with other agencies and local organizations.
Angela and her husband both have off-the-farm jobs as an Insurance Agent and Supply Chain Manager. They are actively involved in their local communities, volunteering when they can with local events and county fairs.
“Faith sees the invisible, believes the unbelievable, and receives the impossible.” – Corrie Ten Boom
Dawn Salcito is a wife, mother, grandmother, and rancher in Arizona. She has been married to her husband Justin for 31 years. They have three sons – Jacob, Owen, and Ben and two daughters-in-law – Cheyenne and Emma. Dawn also has three grandchildren and can’t wait for more!
Dawn’s family worked on ranches throughout Arizona. This industry and community is the driving force behind her desire for progress. Her husband’s family has owned the Z3 Ranch outside of Skull Valley for over 34 years. She and Justin have been fortunate enough to live and raise their family on the ranch. In 1997, Justin stopped riding saddle broncs full time and began running the family ranch. Raising their family and building a sustainable ranch business has been their primary focus ever since.
She began her conservation journey as a natural resource conservation district board member in 2016. At that time, they were having issues with conservation practices on their federal allotment, and Dawn hoped to make a change by getting involved. She was drawn in by the concept of locally led efforts. From her perspective, the people on the land best understand the resource concerns and how to solve the problems but lack the ability to coordinate funding pools and stakeholders. This is the strength provided by conservation districts and by extension the Arizona Association of Conservation Districts.
“You can only become accomplished at something you love. Don’t make money your goal. Instead, pursue the things you love doing and then do them so well that people can’t take their eyes off you.” – Maya Angelou
Born in Tulsa, OK, Donald Stephens is a native Oklahoman. With his twin brother, they purchased five acres of land north of Tulsa where they developed and operated D&R Ranch. Donald also started D&R Rodeo Productions producing rodeos. Later, he began a non-profit – D&R Western Heritage – focused on educating people about the true story of African American men and women in the American West. Donald has also appeared in two movies – Young Guns and Desperados.
In 1977, he followed in his father’s footsteps with a career in firefighting. His father was one of the first six African American men hired on the Tulsa Fire Dept. Donald was promoted to Lieutenant and was a nominee for Fire Fighter of the year in 1996 for the rescue of a pregnant woman in a two story house fire. After serving for 31 years, he retired in 2008.
With no heir land or generational wealth, Donald purchased and built a commercial cow and calf operation in Creek County, starting Big D Farm & Ranch. He then ran for election on his local conservation district board in 2019 and won. He is now serving his second term and was recently appointed as chairman. Creek County has one of the most diversified boards in Oklahoma, with a lot more work to accomplish. Their goal is to inform all land owners, farmers, and ranchers about the conservation programs, technical assistance, and USDA services available. Donald is a member of the OACD leadership Class, has served on the FSA as a Committee Member, and is a member of the Oklahoma and Creek County Cattleman Assoc and National Cattlemen Beef Association.
“Imagination will often carry us to worlds that never were, but without it we go nowhere.” – Carl Sagan
Mike Stewart is a Massachusetts native that made his way to Greenville, South Carolina in 2013. He currently works in TD Bank’s Private Banking Division as a Credit Analyst. In 2019 TD Bank recognized Mike with the CEO Award Winner for Environmental Leadership from Maine to Florida.
With over 15 years of risk management experience and concerns with the region’s rapid growth, Mike decided to get involved with local organizations such as Upstate Forever, Friends of the Reedy River, and Save Our Saluda. In 2018, Mike was elected to a seat on the Greenville County Soil and Water Conservation District Commission and in 2020 he was elected to represent the 11-county West Piedmont Region on the South Carolina Association of Conservation Districts board. Mike has served as the Chair of Greenville County Soil and Water Conservation District since 2020 and as South Carolina’s NACD Board-Alternate since 2022. Additionally, he serves as a board member for Friends of DuPont Forest in Cedar Mountain, NC.
In his free time, Mike enjoys assisting the transport team for local wildlife rescues, attending Charlotte FC soccer matches, live concerts, and hiking with his partner Jessica and their two German Shepherds – Benni and Dewey.