Nebraska LEAD 36 fellows visit South America

LEAD 36 fellows pose in front of the U.S. Embassy in Buenos Aires, Argentina, during their recent trip. (Courtesy photo)

January 31, 2018

Lincoln, Neb. — Twenty-seven Nebraska LEAD 36 fellows recently returned from an international study and travel seminar in Argentina, Chile and Uruguay.

"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. 6-21 seminar, fellows participated in briefings with Carol Perez, U.S. ambassador, and Marcela Rondon, agricultural attache with the USDA Foreign Agricultural Service, in Santiago, Chile; as well as Lazaro Sandoval, agricultural attache, and Kenneth Joseph, agricultural specialist, both with the USDA Foreign Agricultural Service, in Buenos Aires, Argentina. The fellows also visited international businesses, entrepreneurs and several farms. They were able to meet with officials at Massai Agricultural Services, a seed reproduction facility near Rancagua, Chile, where soybean trials are taking place under the direction of George Graef, professor of agronomy and horticulture at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. While in Montevideo, Uruguay, they toured the parliament building and received a briefing from Sen. Jose Morin.

"The people-to-people encounters provided the members of Nebraska LEAD Group 36 an opportunity to view characteristics, conditions and trends in Chile, Argentina and Uruguay, 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 36 fellows who participated in the seminar, listed by hometown, are: 

Arthur: Ty Walker

Broken Bow: Nate Bell

Craig: Johnathan Hladik

Deshler: Ellen Schmidt

Fairfield: Thomas Kluver

Fremont: Andy Langemeier

Gibbon: Shane Bendfeldt, Kimberly Wilkens

Gothenburg: Shane Terrell

Gretna: Kelsey Vala

Hay Springs: Joseph Dorshorst

Holdrege: Chris McQuillan

Johnson Lake: David Rowe

Kearney: Dustin Knuth, Ryan Stien

Kennard: Jennifer Arp

Lexington: Adam Smith

Lincoln: Ben Blomendahl, Nate Blum, Nora Turner

Loomis: Justin Trompke

Martell: Alex McKiernan

North Platte: Kyle Shepherd

Plattsmouth: Dustin Smith

Stapleton: Robert Hecox

Trumbull: Scott Bieck

Waverly: Lori Paulsen 

The Nebraska LEAD program includes men and women currently active in production agriculture and agribusiness and is a two-year leadership development program 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 38, contact the Nebraska LEAD Program, 104 Agricultural Communications Building, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Lincoln, NE 68583-0763; call 402-472-6810 or email The application deadline is June 15.

Terry Hejny
Nebraska LEAD Program

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