Leadership Academy

The Nebraska Farm Bureau Leadership Academy is a yearlong leadership training program whose mission is to produce strong and effective Farm Bureau leaders. The training focuses on personal growth and development, public speaking, working effectively with all forms of media, understanding the role and functions of Farm Bureau in Nebraska, and advocacy training at the local, state and national levels.

Who Should Apply?

Farm Bureau members involved in production agriculture or agribusiness with the potential for providing exceptional leadership in their county, community, and state.

Why Participate?

Nebraska Farm Bureau’s Leadership Academy is an opportunity to meet others committed to the future of rural Nebraska and to establish a solid network of friends and fellow leaders. Participants will learn the latest information about critical issues and develop their skills for leading change.

Applications are due November 4.



More Information


2019 Leadership Academy Class

JoleneJolene Dunbar is a member of the Loup County Farm Bureau. After attending college and working for several ag related businesses, she returned home in 2008 and gradually worked her way back into the family farm business. She now resides in Almeria with her two girls, where they enjoy farming, ranching and showing their shorthorns and sheep.

SamanthaSamantha Dyer, a member of the Dawes County Farm Bureau, graduated from Texas Tech University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Animal Business. Dyer currently is a financial officer for Farm Credit Services of America.

MatthewMatthew Erickson is a member of the Johnson County Farm Bureau. Matthew received a Bachelor of Science degree in Mechanized Systems Management with minors in Agronomy and Animal Science from the University of Nebraska – Lincoln. After graduation, Erickson returned home to the farm and continues farming with his family.

TyrellTyrell Fickenscher is a member of Kearney/Franklin County Farm Bureau. Fickenscher graduated from Colorado State University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Soil and Crop Science and received his Master’s in Agribusiness from Kansas State University. He and his wife started Upward Ag Systems, where he continues to work to help farmers adopt technology focusing on irrigation management and data analysis.

KathieKathie Martindale is a Blaine County Farm Bureau member. Martindale served as Postmaster for Dunning and Brewster for thirty-one years. Since retiring, Martindale helps her husband Jay and his family operate their ranch/feedlot near Brewster.

KristaKrista Podany is a member of the Knox County Farm Bureau. Podany is a dedicated volunteer to both Farm Bureau and her community. She has a diversified farming operation along with a custom harvest business.

CherieCherie Priest is a Brown County Farm Bureau member. She moved to Brown County with her husband, Randy, in 2005 to take over the ranch that has been in his family for three generations and runs a cow/calf operation. She is also the office manager for a local 50,000 head capacity feed yard.

AdamAdam Rathman, a member of Hall County Farm Bureau, worked just over four years as a caseworker at the Nebraska Correctional Youth Facility in Omaha before moving back to Wood River to work on the farm. He currently helps his father run a row crop and cow calf operation just outside of Wood River.

OwenOwen Seamann is a Wheeler County Farm Bureau member and lives in Spalding. Seamann has been involved in agriculture for many years, first working for farmers and on a feedlot then purchasing his own cow herd.

BrendaBrenda Jean Wendt, a member of the Boyd County Farm Bureau, lives in Bristow. She was born and raised on her family's farm in Howells. After meeting her husband at Wayne State College, they built a home by Bristow where she is involved with her husband’s family farm.


  • The Nebraska Farm Bureau Leadership Academy is for Farm Bureau members involved in production agriculture or agribusiness with the potential for providing exceptional leadership in their county, community and state.
  • The Academy is open to men and women of all ages. However, those who have served on the NFBF Board of Directors are not eligible to participate in this program.
  • Ten individuals will be selected to participate.
  • Nebraska Farm Bureau Services, Inc., is the exclusive sponsor of this NFBF program and will support the majority of the Leadership Academy, including hotel stays and meals for all in-state sessions and airfare, hotels, meals and fees associated with the Washington, D.C., trip. You or your County Farm Bureau will make an additional $200 investment.
  • The academy schedule includes four two-day sessions in Nebraska and a visit to Washington, D.C. Each participant must attend at least three in-state sessions to be eligible for the Washington, D.C., trip.

2020 Tentative Schedule

Jan. 23-24 – Kearney
Feb. 20-21 – Grand Island
March 26-27 – Lincoln
Aug. – TBD
Sept. 8-11 (Tentative) – Washington D.C.