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“We need to work together”

Interview with Nick Levendofsky, National Farmers Union and Kansas Farmer Union USA
By Ivana Radic

GrapeNick Levendovsky (28) from Kansas, representing the National Farmers Union (link) and the Kansas Farmers union at the 26th International leadership workshop for rural youth, in Herrsching, Germany gives a great insight in his up to date learning from the seminar. In another interview he tells about agriculture reality in his country, his own role in the Farmers union: Youth, Unions and Kansas Farmers.

YPARD: In this second part of the interview, it would be nice to talk about your interest for the Herrsching seminar.

Nick: When I first found out about it, it was just in an email that someone from our national organization sent me and I thought “That sounds like a great opportunity”. I have never travelled abroad during collage, and I wish I have. I always thought I don’t want to be out of home too long, so three weeks seemed pretty manageable. So I decided to apply for it, I did, and I got in.

Another reason why I applied is because our national organization, our Farmers union, said that they would pay for half of the travel and half of the registration, so all I had to do was to come up with the other half, for which I was able to get scholarships and private donations and I saved some money myself.

So it was great when I found out that I got accepted. And I can tell that it is wonderful, from the beginning! I got to know a lot of great people. Now I am thinking about the future travels, where I would like to go, what I would like to do. I think my next excursion probably will be Africa.

YPARD: What were your expectations from Herrsching seminar, and how is it now for you in the middle of the seminar?

Nick: I thought from the beginning that we would be talking about the issues that we are facing and dealing with in our countries. I didn’t expect the leadership skills workshop; this is something I have done, I wasn’t sure this would be part of it. First week was a bit tough to get through, because it was just a refresher, a reminder; but now that we are getting into these challenges and issues it is really exciting because you get a whole different perspective, a broader view of what is happening in the world, and some of the issues that people are dealing with.

I am realizing that even though we might be from different places, and we may have different backgrounds, different cultures, a lot of our problems are very similar. We are just as the same as we are different. We are more similar then we are different I should have said. I really enjoy working with the individuals outside of our small groups, because it is a group of people I haven’t got to know. I got to really see and hear some of the issues people are dealing with, and for some I feel lucky that I don’t have to deal with. We have a lot to deal with in the US but not nearly as people are doing in other countries.

YPARD: What is the most important thing that you learn here, that you are going to use in your future work?

Nick: Just from the beginning until now, I think the most important think I learned is how other people are handling tuff issues in their countries and what they are doing to remedy the situation. I think we can learn a lot from each other, by attending and paying close attention and sharing. I hope to use what I learn here in our organization, to help develop it for the future.

YPARD: What is the emotion that you have about this seminar at the moment?

Nick: I would say that right now I am a bit anxious to get home, in a sense, not especially. But part of me also wants to stay and really get to know the people, to get to the root of all. It is kind of conflicting emotion. But, there is a side of me that says “you are here for a good reason”. I certainly hope to remain in touch with everyone, I hope to visit most of the countries, and help them work through the problems and challenges. 

A general impression: To come here and hear about all the concerns that the others are having, is very much eye opening. We do not hear about the other countries in the news. There are major issues in the world right now, in relation to rural areas and agriculture, and we need to be aware of that. We need to work together as a group, in cooperation.

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