Natural Resources Program Now Offered at Northeast

Published on: August 27, 2019

NORFOLK, NE – Northeast Community College is offering a new agriculture degree this fall, Associate of Science in Natural Resources.

Dean of Agriculture, Math and Science Corinne Morris said this brings the number of distinct agriculture programs at Northeast to 12, ranging from agronomy to animal science, and from precision ag to horticulture and golf course management. The natural resources program is designed as a transfer program for students wanting to earn a bachelor’s degree, but it can also lead to a good job with no further education.

Ag faculty members Robert Noonan and Sarah Sellin will teach most of the classes in the new program, with the assistance of biology instructor Erin Kucera. Noonan says he has already talked to some students interested in the new program. “As soon as the incoming students see the jobs that are out there, that are ag related but with more of a conservation focus, I think we’ll get even more interest,” Noonan said. “I don’t think it will take very many years and we will have quite a few students in this program.”

Sellin said they started discussing the possibility of a natural resources program last fall with representatives of the Natural Resources Conservation Service. She said Northeast already had most of the classes required for the program, so it was an easy addition to the department. For the natural resource program, Noonan will teach classes in forage and grassland production, entomology, advanced fertilizers and crop chemicals. Sellin’s classes for the new program will include introduction to natural resources, water resources and agri-ecology.

Graduates of a natural resources program might work for such organizations as Pheasants Forever, Whitetails Unlimited or Ducks Unlimited, Sellin said. Conservation agencies like NRCS and natural resource districts would also have employment opportunities for students with natural resources degrees, as would many private businesses. Sellin said she knows of one student who is considering dual degrees in criminal justice and natural resources to work as a game warden.

Noonan says there is a growing interest in conservation. “Not only can we maintain our soil health,” he said, “we can improve it, we can bring it back to where it was through these soil conservation practices.”

Funding for the$23 million 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.

For more information, contact Northeast Community College Associate Vice President of Development and External Affairs Dr. Tracy Kruse, tracyk@northeast.edu, 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.

Photo Cutline – Sellin

Northeast Community College instructor Sarah Sellin (Courtesy Northeast Community College)

Photo Cutline – Noonan

Northeast Community College instructor Robert Noonan (Courtesy Northeast Community College)