As part of a partnership with Central Valley Ag (CVA), Deon van Staden, Somerset West, South Africa, met with Introduction to Agriculture Economics and International Agriculture classes at Northeast. In his first year in Nebraska with CVA, van Staden works in operations.
Clayton Hensley, recruiter for CVA and Northeast alum who presented with van Staden, said that due to Nebraska’s low unemployment rate and the high unemployment rates in other countries, CVA has expanded their hiring overseas in order to find qualified workers in a number of areas.
Van Staden gave a presentation on South Africa and its agriculture industry, which is remarkably diverse across its numerous climactic regions. This includes the Northern Cape where sheep and cattle are prominent, the Eastern Cape where corn and other crops are grown, and the northeast, where sugar cane dominates.
And even though they lie on opposite ends of the world, South Africa and the United States have a number of similarities, van Staden said.
“We’ve got basically the same equipment and technologies in South Africa. The main difference is we don’t produce on such a large scale.”
Michael Lechner, agriculture instructor at Northeast, stressed the importance of students learning about a country’s agriculture system directly from the source as the College strives to create a globally competitive workforce.
“When students have the opportunity to listen to a presentation, it should be from someone who is a citizen or someone who lived and interacted with the local population of the country. The students gain a much greater appreciation and understanding of a country from someone who worked in it directly rather than someone who simply vacationed there.”
“Often students, and Americans in general, do not appreciate the opportunities in the US compared to other countries. I believe that trade is about relationships and cooperation between countries.”
Northeast Community College grants the eighth highest number of associate degrees in agriculture in the nation and the most in Nebraska.
PHOTO CUTLINE – International Ag
Deon van Staden, Somerset West, South Africa, gives a presentation on South Africa and its agriculture industry to an International Agriculture class at Northeast Community College recently. As part of a partnership with Central Valley Ag (CVA), van Staden met with several ag classes at the College. (Courtesy Northeast Community College)