September 2021
Jennifer Debnam
(Class VI)
Above: LEAD Class XI visited Grand View Farm during their June 2020 seminar.
Image Credit: Chase Potter of Remsberg Inc.
Jennifer Debnam is a partner in Grand View Farm, LLC, a 3,800 acre grain and hog farm located in Kent County. The farm is an independent farrow-to-finish swine operation and grows corn, soybeans, wheat, barley, peas and lima beans. Jennifer farms Grand View Farm with her brother, Bill, her sister, Kristen, and her parents, Dutch and Pat Langenfelder.

What new things are going on in your life, business or farming operations?
“Since my time as a Fellow, we’ve branded our pork products and are marketing under ‘Langenfelder Pork,’ selling wholesale to farm markets and selling holiday gift packages at various price points to local businesses as customer appreciation Christmas gifts."

How has LEAD Maryland helped shape you as a leader?
“LEAD exposed me to a variety of people to emulate and network with, as well as a variety of organizations across the state that support agriculture to use as resources.”

How has your experience in LEAD influenced your use of leadership skills/approaches?
“Determining people’s strengths and weaknesses helps in finding the right person for the right job in committee work. LEAD helps to open doors for interactions with others and provides resources across the state to get answers to questions. There are people I know now, that I didn’t know prior to my LEAD experience.”

How did your international travel study experience impact you personally and professionally?
“It was eye opening to see the differences in culture. Vietnam has a very different way of life. I felt very fortunate to be living in the United States. I found it fascinating how our class spent a lot of time discussing water quality of the Chesapeake Bay and what is being done and can be done to clean the Bay. However by comparison, the Mekong River in Vietnam had raw sewage and heavy sediment flowing directly into the river. This made me think of the impact that could be made on the Mekong River, using the techniques and resources we utilize in Maryland.

Also, having lived in a rural community all of my life, seeing the different lifestyle urban life offers was very impactful. Since a lot of pork is exported to Asia, I have a better understanding why there is a need for it there.”

What value does LEAD offer to Maryland and agriculture as a whole? 
“LEAD offers value by training a large number of people to lead many of the agricultural organizations across the state. Many of these organizations are now being led by LEAD Alumni. All commodity groups could be more interconnected.”

What surprised you most about LEAD? Is there something you got from LEAD that you didn’t expect?
“I thought I was well connected after living on both the Western and Eastern Shores of Maryland, and with my parents’ connections to the Farm Bureau. I was surprised how many people are involved in agriculture and natural resources that I didn’t know. I was also made aware of aspects of Maryland agriculture I knew nothing about, like forestry.

I expected to make friends, but didn’t realize I would be able to make deeper friendships and that I can call on them at any time and pick up right where we left off.”

What advice would you offer a potential LEAD fellowship applicant?
You CAN take the time to do LEAD. It’s worth your time and effort. Yes, there will be challenges, and obstacles, and things that have to be done before you leave, but it’s all doable.”
Attend the LEAD Program Virtual Information Session
(final session of the year)
September 9
6:00 PM - 7:00 PM
Class XI Fellows kayaked in the Choptank River to learn about water resources.
Image by Edwin Remsberg Photographs.
Register HERE!

Are you or is someone you know interested in joining a future LEAD class? Curious to learn more about Program requirements, eligibility, benefits, and the application process?

This brief, one-hour, virtual (Zoom) event offers potential applicants the opportunity to learn more about the Program and the application process, and to hear from Alumni and current Fellows about their experiences in LEAD, and how the Program helped advance their personal, professional, and community servant leadership goals. Sessions are FREE to attend, but registration in advance is required.

Additional instructions, including the Zoom link and details to access the event, will be provided in a confirmation email following registration.
University of Maryland-AGNR
Campus Tour and Reception
Thursday, September 23
2:00 - 5:30 PM
College Park, MD

LEAD Maryland Alumni are invited to join Class XI Fellows for a tour of the University of Maryland's College of Agriculture and Natural Resources on September 23, beginning at 2:00 PM. Learn about the latest research, programs, and academic opportunities taking place within the departments of Plant Science and Landscape Architecture, Agricultural Science and Technology, Animal and Avian Sciences, and Environmental Science and Technology; visit the Campus Farm; and meet with Department Chairs and faculty. Afterwards, enjoy light refreshments in an outdoor, covered reception in the Animal Science courtyard.

This is a great opportunity to learn more about the campus as a whole, and to see the College's programs in action.

Thank you to Amanda Clougherty (LEAD Class X) for hosting us on campus!

***Registration will close September 16***
Applications for LEAD Class XII (2022-2023) are Due October 1
Class XI Fellows listen to Bob Arnold as he shows the Fellows his vegetable farm, located just outside of Chestertown, MD, June 2021. Image by Chase Potter of Remsberg Inc.
Are you looking to strengthen your leadership abilities?

Do you, or would you, enjoy traveling both locally and internationally?

Are you genuinely interested in agriculture, the food industry, natural resources, or rural communities?

Consider applying to the LEAD Maryland Fellowship Program!

Applications for LEAD Class XII (2022-2023) are due October 1.
All application materials are found on our website:

The LEAD Program is looking for new emerging leaders. Are you an emerging leader? Do you know an emerging leader?

Emerging leaders may have one or more of these traits:
  • Influential; have an ability to motivate others
  • Willingness to take initiative; problem solvers
  • Forward-thinking
  • Teachable with a willingness to learn, grow, and change
  • Model servant leadership
  • Possess strong values, honesty, integrity
  • Desire to gain new skills and responsibilities
  • Self-awareness; team player
  • Demonstrate that leadership is a process, not a position

The LEAD Maryland Selection Committee will review all applications and references, and schedule interviews with individuals that will be held in October. The LEAD Maryland Foundation Board of Directors will make the final class decisions and notify selected candidates by email in November/December. The first seminar of the 2-year Fellowship will take place in January 2022. To be eligible for the Program, you must be a U.S. Citizen who has lived or worked in Maryland for the past 2 years, and you must be at least 21 years of age or older.

Visit our website to learn more!
LEAD Alumni Volunteer to Scoop Ice Cream at the Maryland State Fair
LEAD Fellows worked and had fun while volunteering on Thursday, September 2, from 11:00 AM - 11:00 PM, at the Maryland Farm Bureau Young Farmers Dairy Bar for the Maryland State Fair. This is the largest fundraiser for the Maryland Farm Bureau Young Farmers program, and all of the Dairy Bar profits from the 11 days of Maryland State Fair go to funding the program.

Thank you to Parker Welch (Class X) for organizing this event! Maryland Farm Bureau is a sponsoring partner of the LEAD Maryland Program, and the support given is tremendous.

Thank you to all volunteers!
Looking Ahead:
September 14
1:00 PM - 3:30 PM
LEAD Maryland Foundation Board of Directors Regular, Quarterly Meeting
(In-person at the Wye Research and Education Center
in Queenstown, MD)

October 1
Applications for LEAD Class XII (2022-2023) due!

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LEAD Maryland Foundation, Inc.
124 Wye Narrows Drive/ Queenstown, MD 21658
Phone (office): 410-827-8056 / (mobile) 410-703-1094