Lincoln, Neb. —Terry Hejny, director of Nebraska LEAD Program, has been saluted for outstanding service by the International Association of Programs for Agricultural Leadership (IAPAL). The association has selected him as its 2022 Outstanding International Leadership Program Director.
Hejny has headed the LEAD Program, Nebraska's only comprehensive state-wide agricultural leadership development program, since 2007. LEAD participants, who are currently active in production agriculture and agribusiness, are selected each year for a two-year fellowship in which they develop their leadership skills and deepen their understanding of Nebraska institutions and public issues.
Bobby Soileau, director of the Agricultural Leadership Development Program at Louisiana State University, presented the award to Hejny during IAPAL’s 2022 annual conference hosted by the Rural Ontario Institute and held Oct. 18-22 in Ottawa, Canada.
“When I’m asked by our alumni in Louisiana about other agricultural leadership programs,” Soileau said, “I always discuss the Nebraska LEAD Program. They are one of the few gold standard programs. Dr. Terry Hejny is one of my most trusted colleagues. His ability to educate and lead the Nebraska program is truly impressive.”
IAPAL is a consortium of agricultural and rural leadership development programs in almost 40 U.S. states and Canadian provinces. The association’s membership also includes several other countries including Australia, New Zealand and Scotland.
Hejny grew up on a diversified crop and livestock farm in Seward County. He received a bachelor’s degree in agricultural education from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and began his career as an agricultural education instructor, FFA advisor and Young Farmers advisor for the Geneva Public Schools in Filmore County. During his 18 years with the school system, he was a head or assistant coach in football, track and field and volleyball.
He received a master’s degree in curriculum from Doane University and in 1998 became an Extension educator for UNL’s Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources. Much of his programming involved marketing, risk management and cropping systems education for producers.
After becoming director of the Nebraska LEAD Program in 2007, he received a doctorate in Human Sciences with a specialization in leadership studies. He was a participant in Class 20 of the LEAD Program, which is part of IANR. The current class is 41.
Applications are now being accepted for the next LEAD class at lead.unl.edu/nominateorrequestapp.
The program is governed by the nonprofit Nebraska Agricultural Leadership Council in cooperation with IANR and 13 other institutions of higher education throughout Nebraska.
“You admire the trail blazed by others and wrap your arms around their tradition,” Soileau said of Hejny during the IAPAL award presentation. “At the same time, you set the direction for the future. There is no doubt in my mind that the Nebraska program is in great hands with Dr. Terry Hejny.”