Mid-Plains Community College is doing its part to support Nebraska’s Number One industry – agriculture.

Not only are MPCC’s programs helping a new generation return home to farms and ranches, but they are also setting students up for success in a variety of ag-related careers in the retail and financial sectors.  

Rhett O’Connor, of Paxton, is currently studying Agribusiness at Mid-Plains Community College.

Those positions include:

  • Office, department or branch manager
  • Financial manager
  • Purchasing agent
  • Insurance agent
  • Ag real estate agent
  • Grain merchandiser
  • Ag sale representative
  • Feedlot operator

“I think the biggest benefit to taking ag classes through MPCC is that the instructors who teach those classes live that lifestyle on a daily basis,” said Sally Thalken, science and mathematics division chair. “They can relay that information and experience to their students.”

JW Schroder, of Taylor, is taking business classes at MPCC. After he graduates, he plans to transfer to the University of Nebraska–Lincoln to study agriculture banking.

MPCC offers an Associate of Applied Science degree in Business with an emphasis in Agribusiness. The program encompasses the technologies of agriculture and business, management and production. 

Graduates are prepared to work in a wide variety of ag-related environments, including production, processing, marketing, distribution, financing and the development of agricultural commodities.

“We try to expose our students to everything so that, if they want to, they can go right to work after two years,” said Jean Condon, business and technology division chair. “All of the ag classes will also transfer toward a four-year degree for those who would like to continue on.”

She said MPCC is mindful of the fact that graduates who return to a family farm or ranch, or start their own, may at some point need another source of income to fall back on. 

“That’s what is wonderful about having such a comprehensive curriculum,” said Condon. “We’re helping students carry on family traditions, but also providing them with the education to diversify for sustainability if they need to.”

MPCC’s ag classes are offered on-site in North Platte and McCook, online and via distance learning to campuses in Broken Bow, Imperial, Ogallala and Valentine.

An internship in an ag-related field is required for the associate degree. Certificates can be achieved with just 19-20 credit hours.

Garrett Wickett, of Norfolk, takes courses through MPCC’s Agribusiness program. Wickett rides bulls for MPCC’s rodeo team. Last year, he was the top bull rider in the nation.

More information about the agribusiness emphasis and all business classes offered through Mid-Plains can be found online at www.mpcc.edu

Ag statistics from farmflavor.com:

Agriculture is Nebraska’s leading industry.

Production agriculture contributes more than $25 billion to Nebraska’s economy every year.

Important commodities include cattle, corn, soybeans, dry edible beans, hay and wheat.

Nebraska ranked fourth in the nation in 2014 for commercial red meat production. 

There are 49,100 farms and ranches spread across more than 45 million acres in Nebraska.

Farms and ranches use 92 percent of Nebraska’s total land area.