The CAMP mentor/protégé series continues with this sixth profile for Class 2 with NRCS Master Planner, Soil Conservation Qadree Willis and Maricopa County farmer Clint Gladden. They have already met, and both have exchanged insights and appreciation for the experiences. 


With the launch of the Conservation Agricultural Mentoring Program (CAMP) in Arizona, in partnership with Arizona Farm Bureau, The NRCS team has been front and center in enthusiastically driving this unique partnership. 


While several other states have the CAMP program, Arizona is unique in its partnership effort with Arizona Farm Bureau. 


The Gladden Willis partnership, along with all the mentor protégé partnerships, works to understand Arizona agriculture and conservation opportunities, joining forces to provide firsthand experience of the conservation practices and agricultural happenings. 


NRCS Mentor, Clint Gladden, Maricopa County farmer. 

From the mentor, Clint Gladden:

Talk about your first meeting. Qadrees' passion for what he does and eagerness to learn about what we are doing really stood out in our first meeting. Good conversation and good questions about some of our daily practices.

Share specifics about what you got out of it as the farmer mentor. Qadree shared with me an incentivized conservation program that we might already be eligible for with the conservation efforts we currently have in place. Also establishing a connection with our local office and contact point for any future projects. 

For the remaining time with the program, what do you also hope to help with? I'd like to be of help in any way possible for a better understanding of the challenges we meet daily on the farm.  

Talk a bit about the Hoover Dam trip. The Hoover Dam trip was incredible. Completely blown away by the feat of constructing such a masterpiece in the 1930s. Humbling to stand at the base and look up to the top. Awesome experience getting to see behind the scenes of generating power and water deliveries to Arizona, California, and Nevada.


NRCS Protégé, Qadree Willis, Master Planner, Soil Conservation.

From the Protégé, Qadree Willis:

What’s been the biggest takeaway from your first gathering?  The biggest takeaway from my first gathering with Clint is how busy the farmers are throughout the year here in Arizona. I never exactly understood the precise calculations that go into cultivating here in the valley. It is a very intricate dance between the crop rotation cycles, the seasons, and the water allowances (when and how much) throughout the year that is really quite admirable!

Why have you felt the program has been helpful? I feel that this program is helpful in getting newer employees to understand what the producers go through on their end and how sometimes NRCS programs may be the last thing on a farmer’s mind. It also helps with networking and developing a solid rapport with clients and outside entities. 

Share your Hoover Dam Experiences. The Hoover Dam tour was absolutely wonderful. It is one thing to work directly with the farmers here in the valley that are feeling the sting of water cuts to the state, but it is another to be able to physically put eyes on the reservoir and understand the severity of how necessary water cuts are at this point in time. The Hoover Dam and Lake Meade are in danger and the tour helped to solidify those thoughts in my mind.

What more do you hope to learn? If there had to be anything that I wish I could learn more about through the Arizona CAMP class, it would be how these relationships that the Arizona CAMP classes are assisting to create are going throughout the country like a national meeting of sorts.