Nebraska LEAD Program

The LEAD Program office staff will be working remotely with minimal office hours. 

We will have access to our work emails and will check them regularly. 

The office voicemail will be checked regularly.  However, email will be the best means of contacting office staff.


Nebraska LEAD Program to Pause for One Year

 The Nebraska Agricultural Leadership Council (NALC) Board of Directors has decided to place a “pause” on the Nebraska LEAD Program for the 2020-2021 year. The board was unanimous in their decision. According to Ed Woeppel, NALC Board Chair, “To suspend regular LEAD programming from September 2020 through August 2021 was not an easy decision, but one the board felt was in the best interests of all people involved with the program. Our discussions centered on two major issues which were the safety of participants, staff, and others involved in programming, and secondly, the quality of the program.”

Given continued uncertainties about the spread of the virus and the course of the pandemic, the Board was unable to see how programming could occur in a way that would safe-guard the health of everyone involved without compromising participants’ experiences. As Richard Bischoff, IANR Associate Vice Chancellor for Faculty and Academic Leader Success said, “the foundation of the Nebraska LEAD program is not only the content, but also includes the experiences that participants have while in the program that allow them to truly develop as leaders.”

The risk of compromising the experience through remote programming or a delayed start would have been too high to justify moving forward with programming for these two LEAD classes.  Mike Boehm, Harlan Vice Chancellor of the Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources and University of Nebraska Vice President said, “While it is disappointing that circumstances related to the pandemic will delay programming for LEAD classes 39 and 40, I believe the Board has made a sound decision; one that will be in the best interest of the participants and the program long-term.”

Nebraska has a premiere program built over 39 years. This decision will help to safeguard the integrity of that program and ensure that participants’ experiences will be what they, and the state of Nebraska, needs.

The pause in programming will affect Nebraska LEAD Classes 39 and 40. Programming for Class 39 will be interrupted and will resume in the Fall of 2021. Class 40, which would normally begin in the Fall of 2020, will begin their two year Nebraska LEAD program experience in the Fall of 2021.

According to Woeppel, “While we will be “pausing” for this year, we will not be sitting still. We will have some new activities for the LEAD Group 39 Fellows in order to keep them connected. We will use the year to conduct a “deep dive” into all aspects of the program. We will ensure that we are providing the highest quality programing possible. Our goal is to come back even stronger when this pandemic is behind us.”

The Nebraska LEAD Program is sponsored by the non-profit Nebraska Agricultural Leadership Council in cooperation with the Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and 11 other institutions of higher education throughout Nebraska.


The Nebraska LEAD Program began 40 years ago to develop agricultural leaders from Nebraska's future generations. The constant changes that occur in agricultural policy, marketing, economics and technology point to the need for strong leaders to advocate for the heart of Nebraska's economy--agriculture. Now in our third decade of forming pioneering agricultural leaders, we have evolved into one of the nation's premier agricultural leadership development programs.

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The program is recognized both statewide and nationally as an innovative organization that has improved Nebraska in many ways. For example, many members of commodity boards, extension boards, local school boards, or local church councils, count themselves among our 1000+ alumni.

After you look through our website, search out and speak to our alumni. Encourage them to describe their LEAD experiences. Take time to learn what they have accomplished since graduating to serve their local community, our state or our nation. We believe you will be impressed. If you cannot locate a past participant or have other questions, contact Shana at sgerdes2@unl.edu or 402-472-6810. We are here to help--as your LEAD resource.

The Nebraska LEAD Program
104 AgCom Bldg
PO Box 830940
University of Nebraska-Lincoln
Lincoln, NE 68583-0940
(402) 472-6810

Director Terry Hejny, Ph.D.

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