WAVERLY – Nebraska LEAD Program Fellows Kimberly Stuhr and Ted Retzlaff returned home last month after participating in a 10-day National Study/Travel Seminar conducted by the Nebraska LEAD Program.
Dr. Terry Hejny, director of the Nebraska LEAD Program served as group leader for the study/travel seminar to Kansas City, Washington, D.C., and Chicago.
Retzlaff lives near Eagle, and Stuhr is a Waverly graduate currently residing near Gretna.
During the seminar Nebraska LEAD Fellows met with business, industry and government leaders. Several highlights included visits to the Kansas City Federal Reserve Bank, the Environmental Protection Agency (Region 7 in Kansas City and Region 5 in Chicago), American Farm Bureau Federation, the Embassy of Australia, the Nebraska Congressional Breakfast in Washington, D.C., and the Chicago High School for Agricultural Sciences. Also included in this year’s experience were briefings and factory tours of the John Deere operations in Moline, Ill.
“I learned more about the political process in Washington, D.C. and about the many agricultural associations and their efforts at the national level, such as National Cat-tlemen's and Corn Growers,” Retzlaff said. “We met with the Director of the Australian Embassy. It was very interesting learning about the Ag related imports and exports between Australia and the U.S. While in Kansas City, we spent time at the Region 10 Federal Reserve. It was very informative learning about the nation's banking industry and regulation.”
Retzlaff said he also enjoyed conversing with Nebraska’s senators.
“I enjoyed our time meeting and speaking with Senators Ben Sasse and Deb Fischer,” he said. “Senator Sasse touched on his thoughts regarding reform entitlements, immigration and the huge importance of trade agreements, especially for Nebraska agriculture exports. Senator Fischer emphasized the importance of security, both home and abroad.”
Retzlaff said the group also got to enjoy the country’s history during the trip.
“Gettysburg was a highlight,” he said. “We toured the battlefields at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. We learned a lot of history regarding the Civil War and how Gettysburg was instrumental in ultimately ending the Civil War.”
Stuhr also said she found the tour interesting.
"The local historian who led our tour has been studying the Civil War his whole life," she said. "His grandfather owned land on the battlefield. He led us through the events as they unfolded."
A major objective of the study/travel seminar is to provide participants with the opportunity to meet leaders who help shape local, state, and national policy in agriculture and related areas and to create first-hand exposure to varied social and economic conditions/issues that exist in the United States. The mission of the Nebraska LEAD program is “to prepare and motivate men and women in agriculture for more effective leadership” and is designed to speed up the leadership process.
The Nebraska LEAD Program includes men and women, currently active in production agriculture and agribusiness. The Nebraska LEAD Program is a two-year leadership development program under the direction of the Nebraska Agricultural Leadership Council and in cooperation with the University of Nebraska’s Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources. Program content, essential to leadership focuses on economics, government, human relations, communications, international trade, sociol-ogy, education, the arts, social-cultural understandings as well as agriculture.
The program overall has been a learning experience so far.
“I have really enjoyed learning about many different topics at the local, state and national level, from agriculture, energy, water rights, both the state and federal political process,” Retzlaff said. “We may know some about what's going on locally, but with this group being made up of fellows from across Nebraska, you get a sense of what issues they are dealing with versus what may be going on in your part of the state.”
For more information, or to request an application for Nebraska LEAD 38, contact the Nebraska LEAD Program, 104 AgCom Bldg, PO Box 830940, Lincoln, NE 68583-0940 or telephone 402-472-6810. For more information about the selection process or to request an application, visit their website at www.lead.unl.edu Application deadline is June 15.