Wednesday, September 19, 2018
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NCTA adds ag certification programs

CURTIS—Hands-on learning opportunities in welding and agricultural chemical application got a boost last week in Nebraska’s higher education programs.

In January, students enrolled in agricultural welding or agricultural chemical application at the Nebraska College of Technical Agriculture (NCTA) can earn an undergraduate certificate, announced Ron Rosati, dean at NCTA.

“Industry input indicates there is a strong demand in Nebraska for skilled individuals in these two fields,” Rosati said. “NCTA received approval for these programs last week from the Nebraska Coordinating Commission on Post-Secondary Education. “

Students can complete a certificate program within one academic year or pursue another year of instruction to earn an associate degree.

“We are excited that students are able to enter these areas of education and seek employment in technical trades,” Rosati said. “NCTA serves an important role in preparing students with an affordable, quality education for careers in agricultural professions.”

Brad Ramsdale is agronomy professor and division chair responsible for overseeing the two new certificate programs.

“The agricultural chemical application certificate is based on input from our industry advisors,” Ramsdale said. “Producer-owned cooperatives and other agricultural chemical businesses need well-trained individuals with applied knowledge and skills.”

Courses include precision farming, pest management, pesticide certification, agricultural chemical application, equipment principles and preventative maintenance.

“Students will be able to successfully complete commercial applicator license exams and enter the workforce with a well-rounded educational experience,” Ramsdale added.

NCTA has been working diligently to expand the agricultural mechanics program through updates in classroom equipment and the addition in 2014 of the irrigation technician certificate program.

“And, as a result, student interest and enrollment has grown,” Rosati said.

Dan Stehlik, an alumnus, joined the faculty this fall in agricultural mechanics. He brings decades of classroom and lab experience as an agricultural educator in Nebraska and Kansas.

“Dan has a proven record in preparing students to pass certification exams from the American Welding Society,” Rosati said.

NCTA’s program includes arc welding, oxyacetylene welding, TIG, MIG, cutting, blueprint reading and metal project construction techniques.

As a two-year technical school with a statewide mission, NCTA awards either an Associate of Science or Associate of Applied Science degree. Majors are agribusiness management systems, agricultural production systems or veterinary technology, in addition to general studies courses in support of the agricultural majors.