Meet the Executive Committee
Frank Krentz President
Government Affairs Committee Chair
I am 5th generation rancher in Southeast Arizona. I attended a one room school in the country, where I was able to work with my family on all aspects of ranching. Attended Animas High School where I played sports, involved in student government and was Animas Chapter FFA President. Went to College at New Mexico State University where I received an Agribusiness degree and a Masters of Agribusiness. Upon Graduation I took a job with Fertizona Willcox learning about chemical sales to the local farms around Cochise county. Soon after I came back to the ranch to help the family.
My family has had members over the years serving as supervisors to the Whitewater Draw NRCD. I grew up working on some of these projects with NRCS. Everything from brush management, fencing, water improvements, and wildlife friendly drinkers. I have been involved with Arizona Cattlegrowers, Project Centl, National Cattlemen Beef Association, and am currently the Vice Chairman of Whitewater Draw NRCD.
I hope to help out producers thru the state in getting projects that would benefit the resources of the state. I think that with work with our agency friends we can put positive agriculture benefit back in the news.
Mark Kuechel 1st Vice President
Mark Raymond Kuechel is a fourth-generation farmer whose family has been growing citrus in the American Southwest for almost 140 years. He can trace his agricultural roots back to 17th-century Germany, where relatives continue to farm the same land in Oersdorf, Schleswig-Holstein, today. Mark is the owner and operator of Kuechel Farms, which he established in Yuma, Arizona, in 1975. He served as Vice President, Board of Directors, for Yuma Citrus Company, a subsidiary of Dole International, from 1985 to 1988. He is currently President of Pacific Avenue Growers, a subsidiary of Yuma Mesa Fruit Growers Association.
Since 1991, Mark has been a grower for Duda Farm Fresh Foods, a leading worldwide produce company. He was instrumental in the design and implementation of an experimental farm for the company's renowned varietal seed research and development program. Mark operated the farm for 18 years, working with more than 50 varieties of celery, including the cocktail-ready “straw” celery, featuring a special hollow stem.
Mark's many memberships, honors and volunteer activities reflect his love of agriculture and the natural resources that sustain it. That passion is perhaps nowhere more evident than in his work with the Arizona Association of Conservation Districts and his local district. He has served as Chairman of the Yuma District and the Yuma Conservation Garden since 1990, receiving the Outstanding Supervisor Award in 2000, 2013, and 2019. He was appointed Treasurer of the Arizona Association of Conservation Districts in 2014, and Vice President in 2018, and is a member of the 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. In 1997, he 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 Future Farmers of America (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 a number of volunteer projects, spearheading efforts to build and install a Bighorn sheep tank drinker in the Tinajas Altas Mountains and participating in a Bighorn sheep relocation program in the Kofa Mountains.
Although Mark is a dedicated farmer, he hasn’t always been entirely grounded on terra firma: from 1990 to 2004 he was a member of the Wells Fargo Hot Air Balloon Team, and is PADI and NAUI certified as an open water diver and instructor. He holds an Associates Degree from Arizona Western College. Mark became a grandpa for the first time last year and looks forward to playing in the dirt – or, rather, the soil – with little Lena June, who might just grow up to be the sixth generation of Kuechel family farmers.
Tina Thompson 2nd Vice President
Tina grew up on the ranch that she and her husband, David, now own and manage full time. David and Tina raised their son, Cory, on the ranch and now have a wonderful little granddaughter! Tina is the 5th generation carrying on the ranching tradition and her granddaughter is the 7th. 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 the majority of her life as a cattle rancher in Arizona, she has a great appreciation for well managed lands that are healthy and productive.
Tina’s ranch is located at the foothills of the Chiricahua Mountains in the Southeast corner of Arizona.
Tina runs a commercial cow calf operation along with a Registered Black Angus breeding stock herd.
Tina became involved with natural resource conservation districts in 2010 when Richard Riggs was ready to retire his position on the Willcox-San Simon NRCD, Tina was appointed to fill his position. In 2018 she was asked to join the AACD executive team and was voted in as 2nd Vice President.
Photography is a passion of Tina’s and she enjoys taking photos that promote the ranching industry.
Tina is also an active member of Arizona Farm Bureau, Arizona Cattle Growers, Cochise Graham Cattle Growers and the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association.
Bill Dunn Past President
Anita Waite Treasurer
Anita was born in Chicago IL, when she was 2 ½ years old moved to Ontario, CA went to school in that area until the age of 13, moved to the San Francisco Bay area went to high school at age 25 move to the central valley of California and went to Merced College receiving a degree in computer science.
We have 7 children, 32 grandchildren and 8 great grandchildren. In 1993 Anita and I got fed up with the direction California was heading and began exploring other geographical areas and, as fate would have it, ended up on Cane Springs Ranch.
When we bought the ranch we were totally inexperienced in ranching and for sure didn’t understand the concept of desert ranching. The fact that we were naïve is putting it mildly. The one thing we both quickly learned was conservation and stewardship. We soon caught on to the importance of resource management. To us it wasn’t rocket science. Take care of the land and the land will take of you. We started bucking old school methods early on and took more of a progressive approach, even if that meant catching a little flack now and then. We realized the importance of cooperation with all the agencies and landowners at the outset and set ourselves on a course to incorporate them into our long-range plans and goals for the resources with which we were blest. We signed a cooperative management plan with Game & Fish, BLM, State Land Department, NRCS, NRCD and the University Extension.
We were also instrumental in a land exchange between Ben Brook Development and the BLM, exchanging 34,000 acres of private property for BLM land to keep the ranch from being sub-divided into home sites.
Anita has been active in many organizations: Past Boards Mohave Counties Public Land Use Committee Grazing Chair, Habitat Partnership Committee, Vice Chair, and USDA – FSA County Committee person. Boards she is now setting on Mohave County Farm & Livestock Bureau, Big Sandy NRCD Chairman, Arizona Association of Conservation Districts Treasurer to name a few.