Charting our path for 2019

Charting our path for 2019

University of Nebraska Regent Bob Phares of North Platte addresses the NCTA Statewide Advisory Council on Jan. 4, 2019.  (NCTA News Photo)
University of Nebraska Regent Bob Phares of North Platte addresses the NCTA Statewide Advisory Council on Jan. 4, 2019. (NCTA News Photo)

Jan. 8, 2019

By NCTA Dean Ron Rosati, Ph.D.

It is wonderful to hear the sounds of students back on campus this week with the start of the new semester at the Nebraska College of Technical Agriculture.

The next 16 weeks will be very busy at NCTA with students engaged in classes, jobs, academic and athletic competitions, and internships later in the spring.

We also look forward to the many public and special activities for youth such as the Regional Science Fair in late February. Next week the Nebraska Agriculture Industry Education auditorium will be the site of two Nebraska Extension events, a Crops Clinic on Jan. 16 and Ranching for Profitability webinar on Jan. 17.

The NCTA animal science division’s livestock judging students returned from the holiday break a few days early for their pre-semester judging workouts last week.

Thank you to the region’s livestock producers and enterprises who assisted in providing venues and animals for the judging team practices. We know the thawing snow created some fairly muddy roads, corrals and livestock pens for all of us in agriculture. We appreciate having students visit your facilities at times like this.

As we resumed classes Monday morning I heard from many students that the month-long break was enjoyable and provided a great time with friends and family.

Others had opportunity to earn some needed wages as holiday or relief workers in their hometown or local businesses. Bravo to our NCTA Aggies for being industrious and vital to the heartbeat of rural America!

Here at campus, our faculty and staff were busy before Christmas and again after New Years with preparation for 2019. This work included academic planning, facility maintenance, livestock care, and a deep cleaning in areas of the residence halls before 170 students returned to live on campus this semester.

On Sunday, staff welcomed new Aggies who transferred or are now beginning their collegiate career at NCTA. Welcome to everyone!

Also occurring last week, as the University of Nebraska system re-opeoned in 2019, the NCTA administration, staff and faculty prepared for our annual NCTA Statwide Advisory Council.

I appreciated greeting 47 people at the opening session Friday morning. This cross section of industry, producer, alumni, education, business, community and University advisors are helping us prepare the long-range strategic planning document for NCTA in many facets of operations – academic, student services, facilities, budget, enrollment, alumni, communications and more.

Thank you to our presenters who included NU Regent Bob Phares of North Platte, Dr. Mike Baumgartner of Lincoln, executive director of Nebraska’s Coordinating Commission for Postsecondary Education, Dr. Mike Boehm, NU vice president who provides oversight to NCTA, and Dr. Brad Ramsdale, NCTA agronomy chair who is coordinating the update to NCTA’s 2019-2024 Strategic Plan.

We took advantage of their insights to do some deep thinking about our approach at accomplishing our mission. NCTA has been charged by the Nebraska Legislature with expediently responding to the workforce development needs of Nebraska’s agricultural industries. We will be more capable at accomplishing this mission due to the assistance we receive from the Statewide Advisory Council.

Then, on Monday, Governor Ricketts held a press conference in Lincoln to discuss college scholarships to aid Nebraska students at workforce development.  It was a wonderful bookend to our Friday conversation on industry needs and NCTA’s responsiveness for vital workforce preparedness.

When the Legislature convenes on January 9, the Governor will seek funding to provide $4,000 scholarships for students at the state’s institutions of higher education.

Nebraska Talent Scholarships would provide 250 scholarships a year across the five University of Nebraska campuses. Targeted academic programs would include math, engineering, healthcare, computer information systems, and all of the programs we offer at NCTA.

“I’m pleased that the Governor recognizes there is a workforce crisis in Nebraska,” said University of Nebraska President Dr. Hank Bounds.  “Affordable, outstanding higher education for students and families is a critical part of the solution. Governor Ricketts’ proposal is a step in the right direction.”

The Nebraska College of Technical Agriculture is responsive to industry needs with existing and newer academic programs such as irrigation technology, agriculture mechanics, dairy production, poulty science, agricultural education, veterinary technology, livestock management, agribusiness, and agronomy.

Welcome to 2019.  We have an exciting year ahead of us!

 NCTA Mission:  The Nebraska College of Technical Agriculture is devoted to a statewide mission of preparing students for successful careers in agriculture, veterinary technology, food and related industries. The college provides open access to innovative technical education resulting in associate degrees, certificates, diplomas and other credentials.

January Events:

16 – Crops Clinic, 12-4:30 p.m., NCTA Ed Center

17 – Ranching for Profitability webinar, 6:30-9:30 p.m., NCTA Ed Center

21 – Frontier County 4-H Council, 7 p.m., NCTA Ed Center, Room 129

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