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Nebraska LEAD fellows travel to China, Laos, Thailand

LINCOLN, Neb. – Thirty Nebraska LEAD fellows recently returned from an international study and travel seminar to China, Laos and Thailand.

During the two-week January seminar, the 35th group of fellows participated in briefings with U.S. Embassy officials in Beijing, China and Bangkok, Thailand. Sessions included presentations by Mark Ford, director of the U.S. Agricultural Trade Office in Beijing; and Christine Sloop, counselor, and Paul Welcher, agricultural attaché with the USDA Foreign Agricultural Service in Bangkok.

"Our international study is designed to provide first-hand 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.

The LEAD 35 fellows visited international businesses, farm operations and entrepreneurs. Additionally, they were able to meet with officials at the Shanghai SUS Environment Co., which focuses on environmental protection, garbage/sewage disposal and bioenergy production; the COPE Center in Vientiane, Laos, which provides support to survivors of unexploded ordnance from the Vietnam War; and the Agriculture and Forestry Office and the Northern Agriculture and Forestry College near Luang Prabang, Laos.

"The people-to-people encounters provided the members of Nebraska LEAD Group 35 an opportunity to view characteristics, conditions and trends in China, Laos and Thailand, 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."

Fellows are Chris Armstrong, North Bend; Blake Bierman, Arnold; Jon Brabec, Wahoo; Drew Cramer, Cambridge; Seth Davison, Lincoln; Brenda Dutcher, Humboldt; Kim Eberly, Aurora; Linda Emanuel, North Bend; Josh Frizzell, Kearney; Cale Giese, Wayne; Nick Hatz, Omaha; Tim Higgins, Crete; Leander Hopkins, Bayard; Andy Jobman, Gothenburg; Jana Jobman, Gothenburg; Lloyd Johnson, Broken Bow; Jason Kloepping, Bartley; Sam Krueger, Blue Hill; Nate Lehmann, Gibbon; Raymond Morse, Norfolk; Steve Niewohner, Snyder; Jordan Nun, Lincoln; Logan Pribbeno, Imperial; Gerry Sheets, Sargent; Clint Shipman, Red Cloud; Curtis Stallbaumer, Oconto; Sye Tecker, Parks; Melissa Wheeler, Alvo; Matt Wiegand, Lincoln; and Tracy Zink, Indianola.

The Nebraska LEAD Program is for individuals active in production agriculture and agribusiness. It 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 37, contact the Nebraska LEAD Program, 104 Agricultural Communications Building, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, 68583-0763, call (402) 472-6810 or email the Nebraska LEAD Program at leadprogram@unl.edu. The application deadline is June 15.