Together, the Cattlemen Foundation, the Boone and Nance County Cattlemen, and the Cuming County Feeders have donated $50,000 to the project, currently under construction near the intersection of E. Benjamin Ave. and Hwy. 35.
“We are pleased to be able to support the education of the next generation of farmers and ranchers,” said Scott Knobbe of West Point, past president of the Nebraska Cattlemen Foundation. “Finding trained employees for our operations is always a struggle, and these new facilities at Northeast will help attract more young people to agriculture.”
Pat Meiergerd of the Cuming County Feeders said many Cuming County students attend Northeast.
“Northeast is close to home for a lot of our students and that lets them continue to help out on their home farms and feedlots,” he said. “It is also an economical way to get a quality education.”
“A lot of our young people take dual credit classes at area high schools through Northeast getting a jump on their college education,” said Mark Niewohner of the Boone and Nance County Cattlemen. “We hire Northeast graduates at our operations and having more trained individuals to fill those positions is important to our success.”
Cattle production is a big part of the ag program at Northeast. The College already has a 50 cow-calf herd and feedlot operation. The new facilities will include a feedlot, manure lagoon, and large animal handling facility.
“The support of the beef industry is important to Northeast,” said Dr. Tracy Kruse, associate vice president of development and external affairs and executive director of the Northeast Foundation. “We understand the need to educate the next generation of farmers and ranchers and provide trained employees to support agriculture. Our students will become the citizens of rural communities, shopping at local stores, attending local schools and churches.”
The initial phase of construction on the Nexus project includes a new veterinary technology clinic and classrooms, a new farm site with a large animal handling facility and other farm structures for livestock operations, a farm office and storage. The new facilities will be located near the Chuck M. Pohlman Agriculture Complex, 2301 E. Benjamin Ave. in Norfolk. Site work began in April and construction should be completed by fall 2021.
The funding for the agriculture facilities will come from the College’s commitment of $10 million, as well as external fundraising to fill the gap. With a total project cost of $22.3 million, the College has raised enough funds to begin construction; however, fundraising for the Nexus campaign will continue, as more is needed for equipment, technology and furnishings.
In August 2019, the Acklie Charitable Foundation (ACF) announced a $5 million lead gift to the Nexus project. ACF was founded by the late Duane Acklie and Phyllis Acklie, both Madison County natives and graduates of Norfolk Junior College, a predecessor institution of Northeast Community College.
For more information on the Nexus Campaign, contact Kruse, at firstname.lastname@example.org, or call (402) 844-7056.
Students and ag-related clubs are competing to sell animal silhouettes that will be engraved with the purchaser’s name and displayed on a farm-scape plaque in one of the new buildings. For more information, text “animal” to (402) 383-3276 or visit the website agwaternexus.com. Online donations may also be made through agwaternexus.com. Checks may be mailed to Nexus Campaign, Northeast Community College Foundation, P.O. Box 469, Norfolk, NE 68702-0469.