First National Bank – Omaha Supports Agriculture at Northeast Community College

Published on: October 16, 2019 ,

First National Bank of Omaha (FNBO) understands the importance of agriculture in Nebraska, and has committed $250,000 toward the drive to enhance the future of agriculture education at Northeast Community College.

Don Polodna, First National Bank of Omaha community president for the Norfolk market, pointed out that agriculture is the largest industry in Nebraska. “Our communities in this area are all surviving, are all successful, because of agriculture,” Polodna said. “Agriculture is so important for us. It’s important for my business and probably for 95% of the other businesses in northeast Nebraska.”

First National Bank has a long and colorful history that dates back to 1906 when a group of Columbus citizens got together to form a new national bank, Central National Bank. The name was changed to First National Bank & Trust Company of Columbus in 1961. First National Bank of Omaha purchased the bank in 1988; a branch was opened in Norfolk in 1993; and in 2014, the bank’s legal name was changed to First National Bank of Omaha. FNBO now has more than 100 locations in Nebraska, Colorado, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, South Dakota and Texas, including two in Norfolk.

“The support of a financial institution like First National Bank of Omaha is vital to the success of the Nexus project,” said Dr. Tracy Kruse, associate vice president for development and external affairs at Northeast and executive director of the Northeast Community College Foundation. “First National understands the importance of agriculture in Nebraska; the importance of educating the next generation of farmers, ranchers and agribusiness employees and owners; and the importance of a trained agricultural workforce for the success of rural communities.”

Polodna said that supporting the communities around Norfolk is one of the reasons FNBO chose to donate to the Nexus project. “There’s no doubt, other communities are all going to benefit by having that next generation of producer,” he said. “This project is about investing today to grow tomorrow, to grow the future of our area.”

Funding for the $23 million Agriculture & Water Center for Excellence project is currently being solicited to enhance and expand the agriculture facilities at Northeast Community College. In addition to the College’s commitment of $10 million, Northeast is seeking at least $13 million in private funds to begin the initial phase of construction, which includes a new farm site with a farm office and storage, a large animal handling facility and other farm structures for livestock operations, and a new veterinary technology clinic and classrooms. The new facilities will be located near the Chuck Pohlman Ag Complex on East Benjamin Avenue in Norfolk.

In August, the Acklie Charitable Foundation (ACF) announced a $5 million lead gift to the Nexus project. ACF was founded by the late Duane Acklie and Phyllis Acklie, both Madison County natives and graduates of Norfolk Junior College, a predecessor institution of Northeast Community College.

For more information on the Nexus Campaign, contact Kruse, at tracyk@northeast.edu, or by calling (402)844-7056. Online donations can be made through the website agwaternexus.com. Checks can be mailed to: Nexus Campaign, Northeast Community College Foundation, P.O. Box 469, Norfolk, NE 68702-0469.