NORFOLK, NE – A Wakefield woman has been recognized for her contributions to agriculture. Lisa Lunz was honored as the AG-ceptional Woman of the Year at the Northeast Community College AG-ceptional Women’s Conference on the Northeast campus in Norfolk recently.
The announcement was made during a video tribute that was played during the opening session of the 11th annual conference. The video was sponsored by Farm Credit Services of America and produced by the Northeast Agriculture Department and District 25 Productions, LLC.
“Lisa is very deserving of this recognition. She makes a difference wherever she goes,” said Corinne Morris, dean of agriculture, math and science at Northeast Community College and conference director. “Her ability to listen to all sides and solve problems brings about meaningful change in agriculture, education, and life in general.”
A special selection committee made up of professionals from agricultural businesses and operations is assembled each year to select the winner from a very competitive group of nominees.
Lunz was nominated by Jan Frenzen, of Fullerton, a past Ag-Ceptional Woman recipient. She said Lunz is dependable, dedicated and trustworthy.
“Lisa Lunz is truly an AG-ceptional woman who has dedicated her life to agriculture, making an impact on the local, state and national level in the agriculture industry, and perhaps more importantly, helping bridge the disconnect between agricultural producers and consumers.”
In accepting the award on Friday, Lunz said every woman in agriculture is exceptional because they all play a role.
“I am proud to have watched as that group (of women) has grown and those voices have grown. And groups like Common Ground have given women a chance to have a voice. … I encourage you to continue to support our industry and talk about what we do.”
She also spoke of how faith, family and friends have been instrumental in her life.
“When you plant that seed in the spring, you have to have faith that you will have a bountiful harvest in the fall. I am also so proud of my family in how they have supported me because they had to do a lot while I was gone.”
Lunz and her husband, Jim, farm in a part of northeast Nebraska where they both were raised. Their operation is described as “unique” in that Lisa Lunz is responsible for planting, caring and harvesting the soybeans on their land, while Jim Lunz does the same thing with their corn production. They are good stewards of the environment as they have no-tilled their land for over 20 years.
Frenzen describes the couple as servants of agriculture as they host area fourth grade students and tour groups in order to teach them the basics of agriculture and provide first-hand information about the industry.
(Lisa’s) work with these groups has helped provide the link in the chain between farmers and consumers and building that trust in today’s food system. She has hosted several soybean trade teams, participated in international soybean trade missions and has been an advocate for soybean production,” Frenzen said. “Telling the agriculture story is something Lisa has a passion for.”
Lunz was the first female to chair the Nebraska Soybean Checkoff Board. She has also held other leadership positions on the board during her 12-year tenure, including chair of the Soybean Research Committee and a stint as secretary. In 2018, she was named Soy Promoter of the Year by the Nebraska Soybean Association, and was recognized by the Nebraska Agribusiness Club with its Public Service to Agriculture award.
As an active alumni member of Nebraska Lead, a two-year leadership development program for Nebraskans involved in agriculture, Lunz has assisted by being part of the candidate selection committee. She has also served as a board member of the U.S. Farmers and Ranchers Alliance, which has been instrumental in the organization’s efforts to build a connection between agriculture producers and consumers. In addition, Lunz is an active member of the Ag Builders advisory group for the University of Nebraska’s College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources and serves on the Farm Advisory Board for the Haskell Ag Lab at Concord.
Frenzen said Lunz’s involvement with soybean education programs, ag sack lunch programs, Common Ground and Ag Pen Pals demonstrates that she is “always looking out for the best way to continue to tell our story and make that connection.”
In 2018, Lunz was elected to the Dixon County Board of Supervisors and was selected by fellow board members to serve as chairperson. She has also served as president of the Wakefield Board of Education and was a Four-H leader for ten years.
Lisa and Jim Lunz have three children and two grandchildren.