In this episode we get a chance to feature one program that is doing incredible work to train the next generation of farmers, agronomists, consultants and other ag-related professionals. The North Dakota State College of Science, based in Wahpeton offers two year programs designed to help prepare students for agricultural career paths and connect them with employers who are looking to hire. The options for students to focus on include animal science, ag business, agronomy, precision agriculture, farm management, ranch management, and ag transfer for those who want to go on to complete a four-year degree.
Joining us are Anissa Hoffman and Chandra Langseth. Anissa is an associate professor in her 16th year at NDSCS working in the soils and agronomy coursework. Chandra is a second year instructor at the college who teaches all of the precision ag courses as well as some basic agronomy. There are some really compelling reasons for NDSCS’ 2-year model of postsecondary education to fit the needs of both students and hiring companies, especially in agriculture. We talk about the types of students and employers that are getting involved with the program, their hands-on teaching philosophy, and how they’re preparing the next generation of agricultural professionals. The two year program is a great opportunity for these students, but it's also in high demand from agricultural employers.
“I think it's safe to say we have way more demand than students that we have to offer industry….. We always have continual calls, continual emails from places looking for people….They want someone that's got a good work ethic, maybe some knowledge about basic agricultural things, but if they are a motivated person, willing to work, be there, show up, be somewhat self-directed, they'd be a great candidate for most of our employers.” - Anissa Hoffman
Anissa and Chandra are in a unique position to hear directly from employers who tell them what skills exactly employers are looking for. They have the opportunity to foster not only the work ethic and attitude that Anissa mentioned earlier but also the knowledge and skills to lay the groundwork for a successful career.
“We focus on the fundamentals, the things that are going to be consistent from one operation to the next, but then within that, every operation is going to be a little unique. So there's always a really steep learning curve, wherever our students end up. But if we can provide some of that foundation in two years, that's not a very long time. So we've got a lot to kind of get through.” -Chandra Langseth
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