Nebraska LEAD 37 Fellows Visit Europe

Figure 1. LEAD 37 fellows posing at the European Commission offices in Brussels, Belgium are Back row (L-R): Dan Vech, Ted Retzlaff, Chris Stillahn, Cory Kudlacek, Thad Baum, Jerry Boeck, Adam Pavelka, Evan Janzen, Scott Sorensen, and Matilda Geradts (guide); Middle (L-R), Jason Keiser, Miles Buskirk, Luke Beckman, Jose Valles, Sam Schmidt, Kimberly Stuhr, Aaron Kavan, Adam Grabenstein, Scott Speck, Kyle Ann Hopkins, Jamison Jensen, and Ross Daake; Bottom (L-R): Clay Govier, Aaron Troester, Megan Grimes, Chelsea Luthy, MerleAnn Raichart, Amber Burge, Kristi Block, Bree DeNaeyer, and Terry Hejny.

Nebraska LEAD 37 Fellows Visit Europe

Twenty-nine Nebraska LEAD 37 fellows recently returned from an international study and travel seminar in the Netherlands, Belgium, Germany and Poland. 

"The seminar is designed to provide firsthand appreciation and understanding of our international community and the potential for people of all nations to work together,” said Terry Hejny, Nebraska LEAD program director and group leader.

During the Jan. 5-20 seminar, fellows participated in briefings with Wayne Bacon, European consultant for the U.S. Grains Council; Francois Guerin, senior policy adviser for Copa Gogeca (united voice for farmers and cooperatives in the European Union in Brussels); Marek Beran, directorate general for agriculture and rural development at the European Commission; Mark Cropper, senior expert, agriculture and rural development at the European Commission; Maury Salz, president of Claas Omaha while at the Claas Corporate Offices in Harsewinkel, Germany; and professors Kathrin Toppel, Dorothee Straka and Henning Windheim, during a visit to the University of Osnabruck (Germany) and the Department of Applied Agriculture. 

The LEAD fellows also visited international businesses, entrepreneurs and several farms, including vegetable, fruit and row crop farms growing corn and wheat. There were also visits to the Port of Rotterdam (Netherlands); the European Parliament’s Visitors Center (Brussels); Bayer Monheim, Headquarters of the Crop Science Division (Germany); Bioenergie Park (near Osnabruck, Germany); Autostadt Wolfsburg, headquarters of Volkswagen; Checkpoint Charlie and the Berlin Wall Museum; the Wielkopolski National Park (near Poznan, Poland); the University of Warsaw Dairy Research Farm; and the POLIN Museum, where the fellows learned about the history of Polish Jews in Warsaw.    

“The people-to-people encounters provided the members of Nebraska LEAD Group 37 an opportunity to view characteristics, conditions and trends in the Netherlands, Belgium, Germany and Poland and determine relationships to issues and situations in our country,” Hejny said. “Through this experience, participants develop techniques in identifying comparisons and contrasts of the countries we recently studied in areas such as agriculture, politics, economics, energy, religion, culture and history, as well as technology, trade, food, art and philosophy.”

Nebraska LEAD 37 Fellows who participated in the seminar, listed by hometown, are: 

  • Alliance: Miles Buskirk
  • Aurora: Evan Janzen
  • Benkelman: MerleAnn Raichart
  • Broken Bow: Clay Govier
  • Cairo: Scott Sorensen
  • Cody: Chelsea Luthy
  • Cozad: Jason Keiser
  • David City: Cory Kudlacek
  • Eagle: Ted Retzlaff
  • Elgin: Luke Beckman
  • Exeter: Jerry Boeck
  • Farnam: Adam Grabenstein
  • Gering: Kyle Ann Hopkins
  • Gothenburg: Amber Burge, Scott Speck
  • Hastings: Adam Pavelka
  • Kearney: Jose Valles
  • Lincoln: Thad Baum, Kristi Block, Megan Grimes, Jamison Jensen
  • Merna: Ross Daake
  • O’Neill: Aaron Troester
  • St. Paul: Dan Vech
  • Scottsbluff: Christopher Stillahn
  • Seneca: Bree DeNaeyer
  • Springfield: Kimberly Stuhr
  • West Point: Sam Schmidt
  • York: Aaron Kavan

The Nebraska LEAD Program includes men and women currently active in production agriculture and agribusiness. The two-year leadership development program is under the direction of the Nebraska Agricultural Leadership Council, in cooperation with the University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources.

For more information, or to request an application for Nebraska LEAD 39, contact the Nebraska LEAD Program, 104 Agricultural Communications Building, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Lincoln, NE 68583-0940; call 402-472-6810 or email The application deadline is June 15.

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