NCTA's new 100 Beef Cow Ownership Advantage program has been created to provide a forum where students, parents, employers, and agencies can come together to create successful business plans and ranch transfer programs. For the past two decades, state and federal agencies, legislatures, and commodity groups have worked hard to develop programs that encourage the transfer of agricultural enterprises to the next generation.
The problem is there have been few, if any, programs focused on higher education students studying agriculture. These students have been taught research based science and technology related to production and marketing, but little time has been spent on actual farm and ranch transfer techniques.
This oversight in the higher education agricultural curriculum is about to change at NCTA. NCTA, in partnership with the USDA Farm Service Agency, the Nebraska Department of Agriculture, as well as farm and ranch organizations, will now develop courses and seminars for students, parents, employers, and land owners with the specific objective of formulating business plans that include a total farm or ranch transfer over a 30-year time period.
This unique program starts with NCTA's degree program in beef cattle management, which includes the development of a business plan. This plan will, just prior to graduation, be presented to FSA for consideration for approval of a loan to the student for a cow herd. The plan will also be submitted to the NDA for consideration of a tax credit to the landlord. The business plan could be submitted after the student begins their second year in the program. This program could also include other livestock and crop production programs offered by NCTA, combined with the financial resources offered by FSA and NDA. In addition to the degree program, students and their parents, employers and landowners will be required to attend a series of seminars to fine tune the individual students' business plans to make them function in the environment in which the graduate will be working. One hundred cows is an arbitrary number, but very feasible within the FSA and NDA financial guidelines.
The key to this program is to have the NCTA graduates return to rural Nebraska with a large enough asset that they will be a viable partner, not a "hired hand," within an agricultural enterprise. An unfortunate situation within agriculture is that many farmers and ranchers invest most of their lives into a farming operation, and yet they have no ownership control,nor options to buy once the original owner leaves the land. NCTA faculty believe that the initial cow herd ownership will provide a catalyst and vision for both the graduate and parents or employers to set in place a long range plan that will eventually provide the graduates and their families a profitable beef cattle enterprise as well as offer an opportunity for graduates to retain their heritage with theland. The NCTA faculty's experience with farm and ranch owners has led them to believe that the owners will aid graduates in multiple ways to enable the younger generation to learn by experience as well as provide opportunities that will serve both the owners and the graduates. This will make it possible for the young rancher to put more profits into additional cattle, and eventually, into land and equipment assets. The huge psychological boost to a student's self-esteem when trusted with a substantial asset will help this program be successful. That trust alone will allow NCTA studentsto grow and mature much faster than those that live under the "hired hand syndrome."
For years, NCTA has been preparing its students to return to rural communities as community leaders. NCTA's new entrepreneurship thrust will add to that leadership potential because students will return home with a business plan that will be fundable through various financial institutions. At NCTA, we believe that if students become familiar with entrepreneurial concepts, they can help their rural communities once again become economically viable. The bottom line is the program will increase the beef cow numbers in the nation's Beef State and will add to the economic sustainability of rural Nebraska. In addition, if NCTA graduates return to their rural communities, establish families, and become entrepreneurial leaders, the rural life we love would continue successfully in Nebraska.