STRONG – Deborah M. Burd of Strong, executive director of the Western Mountains Alliance, has accepted a position as executive director of the National Campaign for Sustainable Agriculture beginning June 1.

Alliance Board Chairwoman Becky Davis-Allen expressed the sentiments shared by Burd’s colleagues and community partners, “We are thrilled that Deb will take her expertise and passion for rural America to a national scale.”

Davis-Allen will play a lead role in maintaining continuity in the alliance’s work during the transition period and will convene a search committee.

“We are sad to see Deb leave, but thankful for her success in building an organization that is financially strong, has the leadership of a mature board, a focused strategic direction and an extremely competent and committed staff,” said Davis-Allen.

The NCSA is a broad-based national alliance of hundreds of diverse organizations promoting federal public policy. The alliance provides a forum for practical solutions to percolate up from real-world grassroots experience. For the hundreds of people in Maine and across the country who know Burd’s work over the last 10 years, this approach emulates her leadership style.

A Western Mountains Alliance founder, Paul Frederic of Starks described Burd as a person with a “notion that things could be better in the region. She came to the alliance in 1994 with a set of ideas about life in the western mountains and a vision for a prosperous region rooted in its rural heritage.”

“I love western Maine and all that the region (and this organization) has given to me,” said Burd. “I feel privileged to have served as the director of the alliance through its early adolescence and onward into its maturity. The organization is uniquely positioned to continue to have impact in (and for) the region for years to come. The sustainability we have worked so hard to achieve is at hand.”

As an advocate for rural Maine, Burd is known as a weaver of networks, bringing together many voices to find common ground through regional dialogue.

Grassroots leaders credit Burd’s mentorship and knowledge of resources for the development of their community projects and personal leadership.

To learn about the NCSA see the Web at For more information about the alliance, visit or contact Kathleen Beauregard at 778-7528.

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