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Northeast agriculture students meet with industry representatives in the field

Northeast agriculture students meet with industry representatives in the field

NORFOLK, Neb. – The Acklie College Farm at Northeast Community was a busy place recently with over 170 agriculture students meeting with industry representatives during a day designed to connect the two groups and showcase employment opportunities in the industry.

The students loaded onto trolleys to move to different stations across the farm during an Ag Field Day that included working demonstrations focused on agronomy.

“We have a lot of our industry collaborators and partners who work with us on some applied research and demonstration work in the fields. They came here to show the students some of what they’re learning in these fields,” said Jill Heemstra, ag program director at Northeast. “They also talked about some of the career options that students can explore in terms of the different kinds of companies in different parts of agriculture.”

This is the second year for the Ag Field Day. Since students are generally at Northeast for two years, the ag department offered different presentations from a year ago so that second-year students experience something new. 

Companies on hand included AKRS Equipment Solutions, which demonstrated the many types of equipment it offers. Orthman Manufacturing demonstrated a strip till plot where a company representative dug a soil pit to show students the differences in soil.

In addition, Sandramere Seed and Supply conducted crop scouting with the students.

“We actually planted soybeans here in late August in order to have some in the early stages of growth to compare for students,” Heemstra said. “So, we had an unusual sight out there with fully mature soybeans near some that are just a few inches tall.”

Helena Chemical representatives conducted “Ask an Agronomist” sessions where students found something in the fields that interested them. They brought back what they discovered to talk about what they saw and what it means for the health of the crop. The Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) conducted a soil health demonstration, and representatives from the Alliance for the Future of Agriculture in Nebraska (AFAN) spoke on some of the resources that different groups can offer students as they move out into their jobs, especially if they're farming.

Heemstra said the hands-on experiences allowed students to get an idea of the different skills they need for a career in agriculture. She said they asked company representatives to focus on a specific activity to interact with them during the day. 

“We told them that students are going to remember their company and the opportunities they have if they have a great experience with them; not to just stand there and talk at them. I really appreciate how much these companies answered that call. They worked hard to create activities that make their company and their piece of this memorable to these students so that they will think of them and want to come talk to them at career fairs and apply for internships and apply for jobs.” 

Students in eleven of Northeast’s agriculture programs participated in the Ag Field Day. The students will have an opportunity to take part in another Ag Field Day next spring with a focus on animal science. 

Heemstra said the ag department hopes students have a real appreciation for the importance of all the different pieces of agriculture that were showcased during the event such as soil, equipment, and technical knowledge, among others. She said the day wasn’t just for students; it was valuable to businesses participating as well.

“When they collaborate with us, they're really excited about talking to the students. And in the current job market they really want interns and future employees. They really want to get out in front of the students and let the students know that there are careers with their companies. And I think they kind of enjoy coming out here and digging in the fields for a day or two,” she said with a chuckle.


                                                                                                  PHOTO CUTLINE 

Logan Mueller, Clearwater, an agriculture student at Northeast Community College, takes part in a spraying demonstration at the AKRS Equipment Solutions booth during an Ag Field Day recently at the Acklie College Farm in Norfolk. Over 170 agriculture students met with industry representatives for a day designed to connect the two groups to showcase employment opportunities in the industry.