THIEF RIVER FALLS, Minn. — Northland Community and Technical College (NCTC) has added four new programs within the Agriculture department. Students can begin enrolling now in the new programs, with classes beginning this fall at the school’s Thief River Falls, MN, campus.
Of the four new courses of study, two are certificate programs (General Agriculture and Advanced Agriculture) and two are associate degree programs (Animal Science AAS and Agricultural Education AS). NCTC has an articulation agreement with the University of Minnesota, Crookston, on that will allow for the seamless transfer of credits for NCTC students seeking to transfer and pursue a four-year degree.
“We are a growing community,” explained ADawn Nelson, NCTC Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources Program Manager. “We need to figure out how to be more sustainable and efficient than ever, and we need students interested in becoming the ag workers of the future with a much broader, overall view of our increasingly interconnected industry.”
NCTC’s new programs will have a holistic focus that goes beyond typical agriculture stereotypes. “Today’s ag industry is far more complex than the idea of ‘cows and plows,’” Nelson said. “It’s about the environment, our natural resources, plants, flowers, food, processing and distribution, marketing, business strategy, technology and technical systems. Agriculture is more than just farming. It really encompasses all aspects of the food we eat, the flowers we grow, the clothes we wear and the challenge of making our production more efficient and sustainable.”
As the industry evolves, so must the workforce. Students with diverse interests are encouraged to explore NCTC’s four new programs, as ag careers now expand into areas far outside traditional farming and ranching. For example, students interested in gaming can apply their skills to develop simulation programs that help producers forecast future yield; students interested in art or design can learn to design eco-friendly facilities; students who love the outdoors can become inventors of tomorrow’s sustainable equipment. “There really is something for everyone in the agriculture industry,” Nelson said.
The four new programs follow closely on the heels of NCTC’s Precision Agriculture Equipment Technician program that was launched in 2015. That program provides students with the knowledge and skills needed to fix and maintain the high-tech tools and equipment that play a central role in modern agriculture. Combined, NCTC’s next-generation ag programs reflect the school’s close ties to industry that has blossomed into a mutually beneficial partnership, whereby NCTC trains the ag workers of the future with the right skillset demanded by the industry’s continued evolution.
“In growing Northland we need to focus on leveraging the strengths of the communities we serve. Certainly agriculture is a major strength of our communities and these new programs dovetail nicely with our existing Farm Business Management program,” added NCTC president Dennis Bona.
— Northland Community and Technical College
Source: Morning Ag Clips