Something Robert Rider loves about Delaware is crossing the bridge into Sussex County's agrarian landscape after a business trip.
Rob Rider's family first crossed paths with The Nature Conservancy when his father sought a buyer for a property which served as a summer camp for girls in the Adirondacks.
“When approaching the state of New York about using the property for parkland or for another conservation purpose didn’t work out, my father checked in with The Nature Conservancy” says Rider. “The Conservancy responded in a way that recognized our family’s time-sensitive financial needs and desire to ensure the land be used for conservation.”
Rider’s father expressed his appreciation years later as a member of the Conservancy’s advisory board in Delaware, where he settled to raised his family while managing a farm and working for O.A. Newton, the agricultural irrigation services business established by his in-laws in 1916. During this time, Rob witnessed the role farmers play as stewards of Delaware’s lands and waters in order to ensure a healthy and productive landscape.
Upon graduating from Cornell University with a degree in Agricultural Engineering, Rob joined both of the family vocations – farming his own plot of land and working at O.A. Newton, where he recently assumed the role of CEO. In 2012, he followed in the family footsteps again by forging a relationship with the Conservancy as a member of the Delaware chapter's board of trustees. In this role, he hopes to apply his business and farming experience towards securing the long-term health of Delaware’s watersheds.
“While I bring that perspective, I have a lot to learn,” adds Rider. “I look forward to engaging in the process of setting priorities and building partnerships required to find a balance between maintaining agriculture as a strong industry in the state without it harming the environment.”