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Nebraska Farm Bureau Names 2024 Leadership Academy Class

KEARNEY, NEB. — Ten farmers, ranchers, and agribusiness professionals from across Nebraska have been selected for Nebraska Farm Bureau’s (NEFB) 2024 Leadership Academy. They will begin a year-long program starting Feb. 15-16 in Kearney.

The goal of leadership academy is to equip the future leaders of Farm Bureau with the tools they need to successfully advocate for agriculture, connect with members and embody the grassroots mission. The opportunities to serve in leadership roles in Farm Bureau and our state are vast and Leadership Academy provides participants the opportunity to develop the skills needed to step into those roles and positively impact their local communities,” said Audrey Schipporeit, NEFB’s director of generational engagement and facilitator of the 2024 Leadership Academy.

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 agricultural 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.

“We congratulate this group of diverse individuals and are excited to support their passion, ambition, and dedication to agriculture. We can’t wait to see the positive impact they will have on their communities, state, and world,” said Schipporeit.

The 2024 Nebraska Farm Bureau Leadership Academy members are:

Clade Anderson, a member of Sherman/Valley County Farm Bureau, lives near Ord. He grew up on a diversified farm in central Kansas and attended Nebraska College of Technical Agriculture (NCTA) earning an associate degree in agronomy before continuing his education at Fort Hayes State university earning bachelor’s degrees in agronomy and agricultural business. Clade is currently employed as a sales agronomist for Country Partners Cooperative.

Sam Gifford is a member of the Lancaster County Farm Bureau and now resides in Kearney. He graduated from the University of Nebraska – Lincoln with a bachelor’s degree in Agricultural Economics and is currently attending the University of Nebraska – Kearney pursuing his master’s in business administration while working as an agribusiness professional. He was born and raised in the Cornhusker State and has a passion for agriculture that stems from his third-generation family farm and ranch. In his free time, Sam enjoys working on the ranch, golfing, and cheering on the Huskers.

Katie Nolles, a member of Boyd County Farm Bureau, is a sixth-generation rancher and an agricultural education teacher. She graduated from the University of Nebraska – Lincoln with a degree in Agricultural Education and will graduate with her master’s degree in School Counseling from Chadron State College in May of 2024. Katie enjoys raising cattle alongside her family on the ranch where they have a Hereford seedstock and commercial recip operation. In her spare time, Katie enjoys being involved in her church, judging livestock shows, and reading.

Christopher Kuehn is a member of Kearney/Franklin County Farm Bureau and is a fourth generation farmer and rancher. He runs his operation with his father, where they raise mostly irrigated corn, soybeans, and wheat along with a calving herd of about 200 Hereford cows. Christopher has served as president of the County Farm Bureau board for 10 years.  He is also very active as an elder in his church, in the community on the County Extension board, and is a director with the Nebraska Association of County Extension Boards. Chris and his wife Tessa raised their two children across the road from the original Kuehn homestead near Heartwell, Nebraska.

Daniel Kristensen, a member of Kearney/Franklin County Farm Bureau, has been involved in agriculture his entire life. He is a fourth-generation corn and soybean farmer that just finished his tenth year managing his family’s operation. He has developed leadership skills by being involved with Franklin/Kearney County Corn Growers, Franklin/Kearney County Cattleman’s Association, and other agricultural affiliated organizations. Besides farming, Daniel enjoys politics and agricultural economics as well as coaching junior high basketball for Minden Public Schools.

Jordon Harms is a member of Clay County Farm Bureau and is a fourth-generation farmer near Glenvil. He’s passionate about technology and isn’t afraid to bring new ideas and strategies to his family’s operation. Jordon also sells seed for Beck’s Hybrids which allows him to share the latest seed and agronomy advancements with his customers. Off the farm, Jordon enjoys spending time with his family and friends and drumming on the praise team at church.

Chris Popken, a member of Dodge County Farm Bureau, lives near Hooper. Chris graduated from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln with a Mechanical Engineering degree and went on to work for Deere & Co in Nebraska and Eastern Washington in a variety of roles. Chris moved back to Nebraska when an opportunity to start farming arose. He raises corn and soybeans, has a Channel Seedsman dealership, and tunes off-highway equipment. Chris enjoys spending time traveling with his wife Nichole and passing along his love for farming to his three daughters.

Kellie Kennedy is a member of Nemaha County Farm Bureau and is a fifth-generation farmer with her husband Steve near Nemaha.  Along with her husband and son, they operate a rotational row crop farm of soybeans, yellow and white corn, and alfalfa, plus raise a cow/calf herd and background heifers.  Kellie and her daughter also raise pumpkins and other fall produce for retail sale.  She is involved with her community in various causes and is a grandmother of six. Kellie currently holds the position of the OA/PKR of the Nemaha County Farm Bureau.

Robert Stuart is a member of Dawson County Farm Bureau and a fifth-generation farmer from Lexington. The Stuart family has been farming the same land since 1888. Robert is married to Megan Stuart, and they have two children, Harrison age four and Eleanor age two. Robert grows corn and soybeans with his parents and brother and operates a small-scale feedlot.

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 55,000 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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