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Agronomy industry covering education expenses for students

Nebraska


(Courtesy photo.)

The Agronomy Scholars program at NCTA is a dream come true. The two year program provides full tuition and fees scholarships for students, a paid internship, and a guaranteed job for one full year upon graduation. To make this dream a reality, four companies have partnered with NCTA: All-Points Cooperative headed the show. Because they were looking for reliable workers, they turned to NCTA. With the help of program advisor Brad Ramsdale, they were able to develop a solution that worked for students and employers. Ag Valley Cooperative and Frenchman Valley Cooperative soon joined these efforts. Cargill has been the latest addition to the group.

Students apply to work with these companies, and then they are asked for an interview. If they are accepted into the program, their college years look something like this: Attend NCTA for a year. Keep grades above a 2.5 grade point average. Be reimbursed at the end of each semester as that GPA is met. Work at a paid internship between the freshman and sophomore year of college. Attend NCTA for a second year. Keep grades above a 2.5 GPA. Continue to be reimbursed for the tuition and fees each semester. Graduate. Work for the cooperative for one year upon graduation. (This is also a paid position.)

Advisor Brad Ramsdale notes, "This is a great program financially for students; the scholarship returns are huge. Plus, it combines hands-on and classroom education as well as provides internships with progressive businesses." Students have the opportunity to learn various components while they're on the job including seed sales, fertilizer applications, pesticide and herbicide application, and crop scouting, which is how they determine if pesticides and herbicides are having positive effects on the crops.

Justin Meyer of Glenvil, Neb., is one of five students in the second year of the program. He chose the program because it paid for his schooling. He figured that was a great incentive for him to keep his grades up at college. States Meyer, "This program helped me financially; I had to put in money in the beginning, but as soon as I had finished the semester with high grades, I was reimbursed. It also gave me a good summer job."

Alex Canning of Ogallala, Neb., is another NCTA student in the program. His main goal was to better understand all facets of agriculture. With hands-on education in the field and specific training in the classroom, this goal was met. In the end, both the students and the cooperatives win. Students attend college with the promise of reimbursement. Cooperatives benefit by identifying and working to train potential employees. It's a happy story, even in the midst of an economic crisis.

For more information on the Agronomy Scholars program at NCTA, call Brad Ramsdale or the Admissions Office at 1-800-3CURTIS.



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