The CAMP mentor/protégé 2024 series begins with this first profile for Class 3 with Pima County rancher and Pima County Farm Bureau President Sarah King and NRCS employee, Jennifer Krentz. They have already met, and both have exchanged insights and appreciation for the experiences as is evident by their comments below. 


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


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


The King Krentz partnership, along with all the mentor protégé partnerships for Class 3, works to understand Arizona agriculture and conservation opportunities, joining forces to provide firsthand experience of the conservation practices and agricultural happenings


Mentor Sarah King (left) and protégé Jennifer Krentz 

Mentor: Sarah King

Talk about your first meeting. Jen and I first met when we happened to bump into each other at an event.  Our first time meeting up with the CAMP was on a brush management field trip near our ranch.  Jen is easy to talk to and it's been fun to get to know her!

Share specifics about what you got out of it as the rancher. As an NRCS employee, Jen has a lot of knowledge about range management.  Sharing knowledge and range management experience is huge and helps me with ranch management and my work for the Altar Valley Conservation Alliance.  Jen also has a lot of connections and has already facilitated knowledge sharing following our brush management workshop attendance.

For the remaining time with the program, what do you also hope to help with? I look forward to getting to know Jen more throughout the CAMP program.  I hope I can provide range management connections that help Jen in her NRCS role.  And I hope I can share more about ranching and agriculture in Pima County!

Protégé: Jennifer Krentz

What’s been the biggest takeaway from your first gathering? The biggest takeaway that I had from our first meeting was the incredible coordinated work that was being accomplished through the Altar Valley Conservation Alliance. We were able to look at brush management projects across several ranches, that through coordination, were creating a landscape scale effect for the area.  

How do you see this helping a broader set of NRCE employees? What’s key for you? I believe that the CAMP program helps the broader set of NRCS employees by providing them with an opportunity to better understand agriculture and the challenges and opportunities facing the industry. It also allows employees to better understand the agricultural lifestyle including business aspects, regulation, timing of operations, and the complexities of family businesses. Since I come from an agricultural background and have worked in conservation for many years, the key for me was to learn more about the area and the unique efforts, such as the Altar Valley Alliance, to collaborate on addressing resource concerns.  

Why have you felt this program has been helpful? The area of the state that I work in has a group like the Altar Valley Alliance and the Malpai Borderlands Group. It has been helpful to see how a similar group is addressing concerns. It has also been great to be paired up with a producer who is a working ranch mom like me. It makes our conversation easy, fun and always laced with humor.

What more do you hope to learn? I hope to learn more about the projects within the Altar Valley Alliance. Learn more about Sarah’s operation and how to better address the needs of producers like Sarah.  I would also like to learn more about the challenges facing our state's agricultural producers from her perspective.

Editor's Note: This article also appeared in the Arizona Agriculture publication.