by Daniel Heitshusen
Concordia will begin offering a new agriculture major and minor in the fall of 2019. The decision to offer the program came with the construction of the new Dunklau Center for Science, Math and Business and the growing number of agriculture-related jobs in Nebraska.
“The need for careers in agriculture is growing so great in Nebraska,” said Dr. Dennis Brink, newly-hired professor of agriculture.
Brink teaches Concordia’s Food, Animal and Crop Production and Economics (AG 101) class, which was offered for the first time this semester.
Brink also offered a statistic from the Nebraska Department of Agriculture, which states that one in four jobs in the state is agriculture-related.
President Brian Friedrich announced the new agriculture program to the student body at the end of the 2018 spring semester, along with the construction of the new Dunklau Center.
Senior Vice President of Enrollment and Marketing Scott Seevers said that a focus group of industry leaders was brought to campus to discuss the possibility of bringing an agriculture major to Concordia. The leaders provided positive feedback and supported Concordia’s decision to start the program.
“That feedback is essentially what we used as the backbone for how the program was built,” Seevers said. “So, the characteristics of having it be sort of very hands-on and practical (are meant) to embrace the fact that we are a small community in a small town in a very rural part of the country surrounded by corn fields. We wanted to use our accessibility to all those things to make the program unique.”
Seevers said the major includes four broad-based core principles and will include internships to give students a chance to apply what they learn to the real world.
“You get exposure to agri-business, plant science, animal science (and) food science,” Seevers said. “So, that broad-based exposure makes you very well-equipped to succeed in any facet in the agriculture industry…It’s tied to real-world experiences, true hands-on experiences built into the coursework and the program, and internships with external partners.”
Students are also excited about the program, and those taking AG 101 are looking forward to seeing it continue to develop.
“I don’t think I can tell you how exciting it is to finally get an agriculture program going here,” junior Carson Woodman said. “Agriculture is such a big part of the state of Nebraska, and so, to get one started here at Concordia I think is going to level up the university itself and make it bigger and better.”
The upcoming program is already drawing in new students. Freshman Madison Baker, founder of the agriculture club, was drawn to Concordia when she discovered that they were adding the agriculture program.
“I found out that Concordia was about to launch a program, and so that was a huge attraction for me,” Baker said. “I think the reason why Concordia stuck out to me versus, like, UNL [the University of Nebraska–Lincoln] or something else, was just the relationship and the investment that I knew professors would make in me as a student,” Baker explained.
Senior Wyatt Woodman, who is also in the AG 101 class, believes agriculture is about more than people generally think it is.
“Agriculture is more than just driving a tractor and working the fields,” Woodman said. “Agriculture has a lot to offer, such as business, marketing, science, biology (and) working with animals.”
The program is set to begin in fall of 2019. More information can be found at https://www.cune.edu/academics/undergraduate/agriculture-science/.