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2015 Ag Adventure Tour

Agway on the Byway

The Nebraska LEAD Alumni Ag Adventure Tour
July 9-11, 2015 

View complete itinerary and photogalleries below

Thursday, July 9, 2015 Day 1

 Leave Lincoln at 7:30 am

Stop # 1 – 9:00 a.m. – Nebraska State Fairgrounds

Nebraska State Fairgrounds

Raising Nebraska: Your Food & the Families who Grow It
P.O. Box 2198
501 E. Fonner Park Rd., Ste 100
Grand Island NE 68802

Host and Contact: Elizabeth A. Janning, NE Extension Science and Agriculture in Action Educator
Telephone: 308-385-3967

Raising Nebraska is an interactive experience like no other. From science and innovation, to community and culture, and even the global economy, Nebraska’s agricultural experience touches everyone. Through this incredible 25,000-foot interactive exhibit, you actually become part of it – in ways you never imagined and that you’ll never forget.

10:30 am – Walk around NE State Fairgrounds

Contact: Doreen Wanitschke, LEAD 12
NE State Fair Volunteer
1611 Stagecoach Road
Grand Island NE 68801
Telephone: 308-381-6655

Leave by 11:30 am

Stan Clouse, Mayor of Kearney, spoke on the bus as we traveled to Ravenna. He covered issues for the city of Kearney and the local area.

Contact: Stan Clouse
Mayor, City of Kearney and Account Manager, Nebraska Public Power District
Box 2170
900 Fourth Avenue
Kearney, NE 68848-2170
Telephone: 308-238-5210

Website: and

Stop # 2 – 12:15 pm – Flashback’s

Flashback’s Neighborhood Grille, Ravenna Nebraska

Flashbacks is the place that stays open after the basketball game; it’s the perfect spot for a business lunch or a family dinner. But more than that, Flashbacks celebrates Ravenna and isn’t shy about showing its love for the town. In addition to historical posters, the walls are hung with pep squad, cheerleader and band uniforms worn by Ravenna students throughout the decades. Under the glass tops of the booths are history lessons cut from the pages of the Ravenna News, each booth themed with stories from a particular decade from the 1950s through the turn of the Century

Over lunch, Darrin Robinson, President Economic Development Council of Buffalo County, spoke about local economic issues.

Contact: Darrin Robinson
President, Economic Development Council of Buffalo County
1007 Second Avenue
P.O. Box 607
Kearney NE  68848
Telephone:  308-237-5034


Leave by 1:30 pm

Nancy Eberle spoke on the impacts and projects of Nebraska 4-H and NE Extension.

Terri Licking gave us an overview of the Scenic Byways on which we were traveling.

Stop # 3 – 3:00 pm – Halsey State 4-H Camp

Halsey State 4-H Camp

Located within the Nebraska National Forest, the State 4-H Camp has been serving the youth of Nebraska since 1959. State camp showcases the scenic Sandhills with the world’s largest hand-planted forest. The Epply Lodge highlights State Camp as one of the most endearing main lodge facilities in the state, providing access to large, air conditioned spaces and a grand ballroom with stage. The campgrounds contain sleeping cabins with bathrooms in or near each cabin. This stop will provide us with information about the State 4-H Camp’s traditions, history, and fun.

Contact: Connie Cox, Director
NE State 4-H Camp
P.O. Box 87
Halsey NE, 69142 USA
Telephone: 308-533-2224


Additional Speakers while at the 4-H Camp:

Sue Pearman was on hand to talk about 4-H and had her local 4-H Robotics Club demonstrate what they had created.

Contact: Susan Pearman
UNL Extension Educator
Central Sandhills Area Extension
P.O. Box 148, 503 Main Street
Thedford, NE 69166
Telephone: 308-645-2267


Leah Carson (LEAD 21) was present to talk about grassland and ranching issues in the area.

Contact: Leah Carson
Rangeland Management Specialist
USDA-NRCSThedford Field Office
Telephone: 308-645-2621 EXT 1005


Leave at 5:00 pm

Arrive at 5:30 pm – Uncle Buck’s Lodge, Brewster NE

PO BOX 100
PHONE: (800) 239-9190
FAX: (308) 547-2255

Uncle Buck’s Lodge is on the Rhoades family ranch near Brewster, Nebraska. The ranch has been family owned and operated since 1881 and continues much as it did in the days of the Old West.
Their mission to keep the ranching tradition alive and preserve its heritage and culture. Uncle Buck’s was founded as a way to diversify the operation and share the ranching experience with our many guests. We w
ill meet members of the Rhoades family and experience some good old-fashioned Sandhills hospitality.

Guests enjoyed some social time prior to our outdoor cooking experience at Uncle Buck’s. After dinner, guests departed with their home stay hosts for the evening!

Friday, July 10, 2015 – Day 2

Stop # 5 at 11:30 am – The Lonely Grill

39359 Highway 2
Thedford, NE 69166-6504
Telephone: 308-645-2323

Website review:

Known for their great steaks, the Lonely Grill is THE place to eat in Thomas County. Good food, good people!

Leave by 1:00 pm

Stop # 6 at 1:15 pm Pearson Livestock Equipment

Pearson Livestock Equipment
PO Box 268
Thedford, NE 69166
Telephone: 308-645-2231


This company has a long and rich history and a bright future under the ownership of David and Ricky Rater.  Father and son acquired the company in January, 2013. The Raters’ vision is for Pearson Livestock Equipment to remain a family-oriented company that produces quality livestock handling equipment. 

Contact: Ricky Rater
Owner / General Manager
39258 Hwy 2
Thedford, NE 69166
Telephone: 308-645-2231


Leave by 1:45 pm

As we traveled to Ogallala, we made time on the way for each of the home stay group to have some mic time to talk about what they experienced, any “aha” moments they may have had and their over-all impression of life in ranching country.

Stop # 7 – 2:45 pm Mountain Time

Lake McConaughy – Johnson Lake Tour

Lake McConaughy is Nebraska’s biggest lake and the largest reservoir in a three state region. At full storage, Lake Mac is twenty miles long, four miles wide, and 142 feet deep at the dam. Built on the edge of the Nebraska Sandhills, Lake Mac offers natural white sand beaches, excellent fishing, boating, camping and all types of outdoor recreation.

After completion in 1941, Johnson Lake served its intended purpose over the next several decades to regulate or re-time flows through two downstream hydroplants on The Central Nebraska Public Power and Irrigation District’s Supply Canal and to regulate flows into the Phelps and E67 Canal systems. It still performs those functions, but – as they say – times change. Over the years, Johnson Lake’s location on Central’s system and growing demands for water for purposes other than irrigation and power generation, significantly changed and complicated the way Johnson Lake is managed. As a result, the lake’s water level tends to fluctuate with the variety of demands being placed on the lake.

Contact: Nate Nielsen
Kingsley Dam Foreman, CNPPID
199 Kingsley Drive
Ogallala NE 68153
Telephone: 308-284-2332

Websites: and

Leave by 4:00 PM Mountain Time

Stop # 8 – 4:15 pm – Stagecoach Inn

Stagecoach Inn
201 Stagecoach Trail
Ogallala NE 69153
Telephone: 308-234-3656 

Leave 4:45 pm Mountain Time

Stop # 9 – 5:00 pm Mountain Time – Front Street

Front Street Steakhouse and Saloon
519 E First St (E Hwy 30),
Ogallala, NE 69153
Telephone: 308-284-6000


Dinner and fun at Front Street Steakhouse and Crystal Palace Saloon – heard from local historian about the Wild West days in Ogallala area – dinner at 6:30 pm – Wild West show at 7:30 pm – time in-between historian and dinner to visit cowboy museum at the steakhouse and visit McKenzie’s Gift Shop – attached to Front Street


Saturday, July 11, 2015 – Day 3

Leave 7:30 am

Stop # 10 – 9:30 am Central Time (Lose one hour) – North Platte

Grain Bin Antique Town
10641 S. Old Hwy. 83
North Platte, NE 68101


Clustered on a hill top in the scenic canyons south of North Platte you’ll find the Grain Bin Antique Town. Connected by a boardwalk, fifteen historic grain bins are filled to the brim with antiques!  A one of a kind unique antique experience!

Contact: Lori Clinch

Additional website:

Leave 10:15 am

Stop # 11 – 11:45 am – Bertrand

Schwarz Organic Farm
74032 Road 433
Smithfield, NE 68976

The Schwarz family has been farming in South Central Nebraska for six generations. They operate as traditional farmers growing organic corn, wheat, soybeans, sorghum, and alfalfa. Upon seeing the increased importation of food from places like China and Mexico, they were encouraged to branch out into market farming of fruits and vegetables. We will have a tour of the farm, have a lunch catered by a local chef and learn about organic farming from Tom and Linda.

Contact: Tom and Linda Schwarz, Owners
Schwarz Family Farm
311 Medina Avenue
Bertrand NE 68927
Telephone: 308-472-5309


Leave 2:00 pm

Arrive 4:30 pm  – Lincoln




View photos from past Ag Adventure Tours:

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