NTCA Students Nose To The Grindstone

When Wade Shipman was shopping around for a college, the Ohio native was seeking a career in agribusiness.

Plus, he wanted to become a cattle owner, managing a herd of his own for beef production to help meet the growing demand for beef in domestic and export markets.

Now, nearly 20 years later, he is living that dream after service abroad in the U.S. Marine Corps, earning his associate degree in agribusiness and livestock production from the Nebraska College of Technical Agriculture, and working as a loan officer in Nebraska banks.

The Aggie graduate studied Agribusiness Management Systems at NCTA, runs a small beef cattle herd, and works in the heart of agriculture country.

“NCTA prepared me very well for my career choice in agribusiness management and agriculture production,” said Shipman, an assistant vice president with Western Nebraska Banks, where he heads agricultural portfolios along with commercial and consumer lending.

As fall semester classes begin in Curtis on August 20, Shipman will among the rural community’s residents welcoming new NCTA Aggies, volunteering as a mentor for those studying Agribusiness Management Systems, and serving on the college’s Agribusiness Advisory Council.

Mary Rittenhouse, AMS division chair, is grateful for the input the small department receives from local business owners and alumni like Shipman. Agribusiness colleagues Jeremy Sievers and Dave Jibben also appreciate student support of Aggie graduates and industry partners.

A growing number of Aggie students are seeing the value in learning the business side of agriculture. After first majoring in livestock production, equine management, or diversified agriculture, they are choosing to add a third year of NCTA studies for a second degree in Agribusiness Management Systems.

If current registration plays out at the six-day enrollment tally, Rittenhouse projects a 20 percent increase in Ag Business numbers. A year ago at this time, 19 AMS students registered. So far, it looks like 24 AMS students may be in classrooms. Half could be third-year students.

They are attracted to NCTA because of the quality of its curriculum, its location in a rural community, and its emphasis on technical agriculture, said Shipman.

Also, now in a second year of a tuition rate of $131.50 per credit hour for all students, regardless of residency, we expect the influx of out-of-state students will continue to increase.

NCTA has been recognized nationally as a high quality, affordable institution that produces very successful graduates.

Shipman helps to share that message with young people exploring agricultural production and business careers.

Here in Nebraska, Bryan High School in Omaha has the largest FFA chapter in the state. This year, students from the urban setting will have opportunity to take a dual credit course through NCTA.

Introduction to Agricultural Economics (ECN 1103) will be team taught by Rittenhouse, Bryan High instructors and John Porter, Urban Agriculture extension educator with NCTA and Nebraska Extension. He is based in Omaha.

The collaboration will expose high school students to careers and opportunities in agricultural business management, and should help their skills in financial matters. Also, they can earn high school credit and college credit simultaneously.

One of our NCTA student organizations headed by Professor Rittenhouse is the Ag Business Club. They will meet early in the term, on August 26, for a club picnic and election of officers. Stay tuned to hear about the exciting activities this club will be planning for the 2018-19 academic year!

Information provided by the Nebraska College of Technical Agriculture. 

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