NORFOLK, Neb. – Two individuals who have assisted in leading a capital campaign to construct new agriculture facilities at Northeast Community College have been recognized for outstanding achievement.
Jeanne Reigle and Russ Vering are recipients of the College’s 2021 Distinguished Service Award. The recognition is presented to individuals who have demonstrated active service to higher education and who have played a significant role in the development of Northeast Community College. It was presented at Northeast’s Annual Achievement Awards Ceremony recently.
Reigle and Vering served as co-chairs of the $23 million Nexus capital campaign to raise funds for a new veterinary technology building and a combination farm operations building and large animal handling facility at the new Acklie Family College Farm near the Chuck M. Pohlman Agriculture Complex, 2301 E. Benjamin Ave., in Norfolk. The new facilities will replace buildings that are over 100-years old on the existing College farm.
Reigle, of Madison, is a retired agriculture producer. She and her husband, John, run the family farm and feeding operation, Reigle Cattle Co. She attended the University of Nebraska-Lincoln (UNL) for two-years in pursuit of a business degree and routinely takes online classes in several academic fields through Northeast Community College. In addition to her cattle operation, Reigle was employed in the Madison County Treasurer’s Office from 1980-82.
Reigle continues to encourage others to make an investment in agriculture in northeast Nebraska by contributing to the Nexus campaign.
“John and I asked Northeast for help in meeting our workforce needs,” she said. “Their answer was this plan to create a premiere location to attract traditional and non-traditional students from all over the country, whether they are interested in livestock agriculture, precision farming or another aspect of production.”
Reigle said she tells producers that each dollar contributed to new ag facilities at Northeast is an investment in their own ag business, not just in the college.
“This state-of-the-art campus will give close proximity access to some of the best qualified ag workforce, technology advancements, and crop management and development,” she said.
Reigle has past experience in fundraising, having chaired several local efforts as well as serving as co-chair of the Nebraska Cattlemen’s Ball in 2008. She has served on numerous boards over the years including the Elkhorn Valley Cattlemen, Preservation Madison Inc., Madison Area Chamber of Commerce, and the Northeast Community College Foundation.
The Reigles have four children and nine grandchildren.
Developing rural communities is one of the strongest arguments in support of building new agriculture facilities at Northeast Community College, according to Vering.
“The importance of investing in this program really helps build our communities, helps educate our children, brings them back to our communities and helps build our populations in northeast Nebraska,” he said. “It’s going to bring more ideas to the farm; it’s going to bring more ideas back to our businesses.”
Vering, of Scribner, is co-owner of Central Plains Milling in Howells and Columbus and vice president of Nutrition for the newly merged Frontier/Midwest Cooperative.
He graduated from UNL with a Bachelor of Arts in Animal Science. Vering has devoted his career to agriculture and enjoys caring for animals and the producers who own them. His job description encompasses everything from animal nutrition to husbandry, building design to engineering, and business management to team management, including internal employee experience, and the customer experience.
Vering has also hosted Northeast student interns at Central Plains Milling, and has several Northeast graduates as employees.
He said, “People make agriculture work and I have always been working with teams and people creating something good in their work environment and their purpose in feeding a very hungry world.”
Vering is a past president of the Nebraska Pork Producers Association and a current member of the National Pork Producers Association Board of Directors.
He and his wife, Tammi, have two children.
“We could not have had better co-chairs than Russ and Jeanne. They represent different facets of agriculture and agri-business, and understand that the demand for trained employees is a drag on the rural economy,” said Tracy Kruse, vice president of Development and External Affairs at Northeast. “With their assistance in the fundraising effort, Northeast has been better able to meet the need for workers with highly technical skills and a passion for agriculture. They also had a great team in a great area of the region that supports agriculture, which made the campaign successful. The award presented to them is well deserved.”
In addition, last year’s Distinguished Service awardees were recognized during the Achievement Awards ceremony. The event in 2020 was not held due to the pandemic.
Honorees Janelle Gerharter and Jerry Holmberg, both retirees of the college, authored a book that details the history of Northeast and its predecessor institutions. Success Started Here, A History of Northeast Community College 1928-2018, documents the storied past of the institution that begins with the founding of Norfolk Junior College in 1928.
Gerharter authored the main narrative of the book, while Holmberg documented the athletic portion. They were joined by Robert Cox, former Northeast president and a past Distinguished Service Award recipient.
The 240-page hardcover Success Started Here, A History of Northeast Community College 1928-2018 is available through the Northeast Community College Hawk Shop on the Norfolk campus for $24.95. It may also be purchased online at the collegestore.northeast.edu.
Northeast’s Media Arts – Broadcasting program livestreamed the Achievement Awards Ceremony. It may be viewed on demand at team1sports.com/northeastcc/.
Jeanne Reigle (left) and Russ Vering accept Northeast Community College’s 2021 Distinguished Service Award at a ceremony in Norfolk recently. The award is presented to individuals who have demonstrated active service to higher education and who have played a significant role in the development of Northeast Community College. Reigle, of Madison, and Vering, of Scribner, served as co-chairs of a capital campaign to construct new agriculture facilities at Northeast.