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Nebraska Farm Bureau Names 2020 Leadership Academy Class

KEARNEY, NEB.- Ten farmers, ranchers, and agribusiness professionals from across Nebraska have been selected for Nebraska Farm Bureau’s 2020 Leadership Academy. They will begin a year-long program starting Jan. 23-24 in Kearney.

“The goal of the Nebraska Farm Bureau Leadership Academy is to cultivate the talents and strengths of our members and connect their passion for agriculture to opportunities of service within the Farm Bureau organization. Great leaders have a clearly defined purpose; purpose fuels passion and work ethic. By developing leadership skills, academy members can develop their passions and positively impact their local communities and the state of Nebraska.” said Phil Erdman, facilitator of the 2020 Leadership Academy.

 Erdman works with Audrey Schipporeit, Nebraska Farm Bureau’s director of generational engagement to help facilitate the program. Erdman also serves as the vice president of membership for Nebraska Farm Bureau.

“We congratulate this group of diverse individuals and thank them for their willingness to step out of their comfort zone to learn more about how they can influence their community, state, and world for the better,” said Schipporeit.

Academy members will participate in sessions focused on leadership development, understanding the county, state, and national structure of Farm Bureau and its grassroots network, policy work on agriculture issues, and the importance of agricultural literacy. The group will also travel to the Capitols in Lincoln and Washington, D.C. to visit with elected officials and agency representatives.

The 2020 Nebraska Farm Bureau Leadership Academy members are:

Kelsey Scheer, a member of Howard County Farm Bureau, lives in Saint Paul. She received a Bachelor of Science degree in Animal Science with a minor in Agricultural Economics. Kelsey is in feed sales for an ag cooperative. She also works with her family’s cow/calf operation.

Connie Brott, a member of Hayes County Farm Bureau, lives in Hayes Center. Her family farms and raises cattle and owns a custom harvest business.

Michael Nelson is a member of Chase County Farm Bureau, and lives in Enders. He is the owner and operator of a seed business and provides seed treatments for soybeans and wheat. Michael also farms dry land crops and raises cattle.

Joseph Melnick, a member of Adams/Webster County Farm Bureau, lives in Hastings. He grew up on a family farm and is operations director for a custom cover crop company. Joseph is also an Army veteran.

Daniel Hasart, a member of Cherry County Farm Bureau, lives in Wood Lake. He works full time on the family farm and cattle feeding operation. He currently manages the day-to-day operations of their cow/calf business.

Natasha Schumacher, a member of Box Butte County Farm Bureau, lives in Hemingford. She is a mom of three and married to a fifth-generation farmer. The family farms dry edible beans, wheat, and corn, and operates a cow/calf herd.

Jeffery Schuerman, a member of Boyd County Farm Bureau, lives in Butte. Jeff served three years in the Marines before becoming involved in farming and ranching with a cow/calf operation. He is also a self-employed truck driver.

Brett Santin is a member of Merrick County Farm Bureau, and lives in Palmer. He grew up on family farm and received a bachelor’s degree in Business Management before returning to his family farm where he helps manage their cow/calf herd.

Austen Sis, a member of Red Willow County Farm Bureau, lives in McCook. He grew up on a family farm which he returned to after college. They raise irrigated food grade crops in Southwest Nebraska.

Josh England, a member of Hall County Farm Bureau, lives in Doniphan. He grew up on a family farm which he returned to after college graduation to farm with his father and uncle. They raise corn and soybeans.

The Nebraska Farm Bureau is a grassroots, state-wide organization dedicated to supporting farm and ranch families and working for the benefit of all Nebraskans through a wide variety of educational, service and advocacy efforts. More than 58,000 families across Nebraska are Farm Bureau members, working together to achieve rural and urban prosperity as agriculture is a key fuel to Nebraska’s economy. For more information about Nebraska Farm Bureau and agriculture, visit

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