Ernie Shea is the President of Solutions from the Land (SfL), a not-for-profit organization that incubates and supports farmer-led, multi-stakeholder platforms that inspire, educate, and equip agricultural partners to innovate and lead efforts to sustain productivity, enhance climate resilience, and contribute to local and global goals for sustainable development. SfL brings agricultural thought leaders to the forefront of conversations about the food system, the environment and the future.
Shea has over 40 years of experience at the global, national, state and local level where he has designed and facilitated initiatives to enhance the effective functioning and ability of agricultural landscapes to sequester carbon, protect water quality, improve public health, and ensure a growing and resilient food system.
Early in his career, Shea worked for the State of Maryland where he held a number of senior leadership positions including Assistant Secretary of Agriculture for Agricultural Development and Resource Conservation with responsibility for soil and water conservation, land preservation, domestic and international marketing and other service-oriented programs designed to strengthen the state’s agricultural industry.
From 1986-2004 Shea served as Chief Executive Officer of the National Association of Conservation Districts (NACD). As CEO of NACD, Shea represented and facilitated the effective functioning of the association consisting of nearly 3,000 local units of government, 17,000 public officials and 7,000 employees with combined annual budgets exceeding $1billion.
Among his current activities, Shea facilitates the 25x’25 and North American Climate Smart Agriculture Alliances and coordinates SfL’s state level climate smart agriculture work program. He serves on the Board of the Harry R. Hughes Center for Agro-Ecology and is involved with the Chesapeake Bay cleanup effort focusing on agricultural, conservation and bioenergy projects. He is also the Founder and Principal of Natural Resource Solutions (NRS), LLC, a conservation and natural resource policy and program consultancy.
Ernie and his wife Karen reside in Lutherville, Maryland where he serves on the Board of the Lutherville Community Association. They enjoy sailing and spending time with their three grown children and seven grandchildren.