Department COVID-19 Updates:

Putting ag skills to work

Putting ag skills to work

Crops judging students identify plants and agronomic specimens at an NCTA contest in early March. (Ramsdale / NCTA photo)
Crops judging students identify plants and agronomic specimens at an NCTA contest in early March. (Ramsdale / NCTA photo)

March 24, 2021

By NCTA Dean Larry Gossen, Ph.D.

Celebrate National Agriculture Week!

We are fully engaged in ag production at the Nebraska College of Technical Agriculture. Word from the calving pasture is we have three head left to calve. Bravo to the NCTA Beef Production Class ho have been on around-the-clock calving watch since February.

It’s quite busy at campus as students returned from Spring Break on Monday.  We are awaiting results of the ag mechanics department tests of advanced welding students for certification by the American Welding Society.

Also, instructor Dan Stehlik has coordinated the virtual agricultural mechanics portion of the State FFA contest. This entailed written tests and practical hands-on activities through virtual methods.

Nebraska FFA members and high school chapter teams that qualified for state competitions started their contests virtually in all categories, appropriately during National Ag Week. Results will be announced in April.

NCTA agronomy students tested their skills in-person here at NCTA during a four-part Crops Judging Contest on March 6. Professor Brad Ramsdale organized the contest for 2-year and 4-year colleges from the Midwest with 10 teams traveling to Curtis.

Congratulations to NCTA for winning the 2-year division, and to outstanding work of four Aggie students on the winning team. They placed first, second, third and fifth in individual rankings.

 In the arena

Equine Industry Management and Aggie students on our NCTA Ranch Horse Team are hosting two public events, one March 27-28 at NCTA and on April 2-4 at the Red Willow County Fairgrounds in McCook.

The public is invited to participate in stock horse events as riders or spectators.

Professional horse trainer Sherman Tegtmeier conducts a reining and horsemanship clinic at the indoor arena in the Livestock Teaching Center on Saturday and Sunday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.  Spectators are invited to stop by campus and check out the action. Preregistrations for riders go to Professor Jo Hergenreder at or call (308) 367-5291.

An open and collegiate ranch horse show and open/jackpot cutting contest will draw riders from several states next week. The “Punchy in Pink Spring Roundup” at the Kiplinger Arena is a popular event for both riders and spectators.

Ranch Horse Team member and marketing chair Jessica Burghardt of Fedora, S.D., promises a great event in McCook where exhibitor lodging, horse stalls and show facilities are top notch for a large show.

“After we had to cancel in 2020 due to COVID, we are thrilled to bring all of the logistics together for 2021,” Jessica said. “We will welcome more than 100 entries to the indoor and outdoor Kiplinger Arenas.”

Aggie students will compete in a collegiate program through the Slidin Daze Series stock horse events and for AQHA points in the American Quarter Horse Association Versatility Ranch Horse program.

NCTA students haven’t competed officially in a collegiate contest since November. Events include a fun event called the Bra Race where proceeds from donations and entries go toward breast cancer awareness and prevention with the Working Ranch Cowboys Association Punchy in Pink program.

Cutting horse, reining, trail course and pleasure classes and more are co-sponsored with Laramie County Community College.

Women in Ag network

On Tuesday, March 30,the NCTA Women in Ag club will host an in-person and virtual program to “network and learn” from women in agriculture careers. Sophie Nutter of Wilcox, an agribusiness student and WIA president, invites local producers and agribusiness women to attend the Meet & Greet at 6:30 p.m. and panel discussion at 7:30 p.m. Information is available from Professor Mary Rittenhouse at

 Part of the University of Nebraska system, the Nebraska College of Technical Agriculture is a two-year institution with a statewide mission of preparing students for successful careers in agriculture, veterinary technology and related industries. NCTA is known for its affordable tuition, high job-placement rate for its graduates, and for the success of student teams in competitive activities including crops judging, ranch horse events, livestock judging, shotgun sports, stock dog trials, and intercollegiate rodeo. The college is consistently ranked as one of the best two-year schools in the nation.

NCTA Events:

March 21-27:  National Agriculture Week

March 27-28:  NCTA Sherman Tegtmeier Reining, Horsemanship Clinic, LTC

March 30: Women in Ag Meet & Greet, 6:30 p.m., Ed Center

March 31: Ann Bancroft, Polar Explorer, Livestream in Ed Center

April 2-4: Punchy in Pink Spring Roundup Open & Collegiate Horse Show, McCook

Download a PDF of this press release