Originally, all the agriculture programs were on the Milford campus, though they had no land or animals. In 1981, Southeast Community College set out to fulfill a top priority by developing an applied agriculture curriculum that was integrated with a laboratory farm operation, where students could receive hands-on education. This led to the development of the Ag Center on the Beatrice Campus, which now encompasses 600 acres of farmland.
The Agricultural Business and Management program represents the largest career and technical program on SCC’s Beatrice campus. The Ag Center buildings currently house the Livestock Management and Production program, but classroom and lab space for Agriculture Business & Management Technology, Precisions Agriculture, and Horticulture & Turfgrass Management are spread out among various buildings at a different location on the main campus.
As SCC has made significant strides in agriculture programing development, such as adding the Precision Agriculture certificate and the Livestock Management and Technology degree program, it has continued to evaluate how the student experience in agriculture programming can be delivered utilizing the latest technologies as well as hands-on experience.
The next step in this vision is creating a new, $21 million Agricultural Career Center where all the diverse areas of agriculture can come together, maximize partnerships, and instill the value of sustainability, conservation of energy, and natural resources across all programs.
Building for the Future of Agriculture
The proposed new Agriculture Career Building directly addresses the skills gap crisis in Nebraska by expanding SCC’s capacity to produce a skilled workforce for the state’s agriculture industry. The new facility will be equipped with simulation and other innovative technologies that are consistent with the advanced technologies that are now standard in the agriculture industry. This allows SCC to produce skilled graduates as well as industry leaders who can collaborate and lead in critical and vital industry.
The overall Agriculture Career Building project consists of one facility that will provide space for:
- Agriculture Business & Management Technology Precision Agriculture
- Horticulture & Turfgrass Management
- Animal Health
In addition to the educational space, the ag campus will also house a 30,000 square-foot arena for the College and community.
The new building will be located in close proximity to Agriculture Hall with
the goal of preparing students for careers in agriculture that utilize the latest technologies and equipment to provide maximum yields while sustaining natural resources. The 600-acre working, on-site farm is an unmatched learning laboratory for students, perfect to incorporate all varieties represented in Nebraska’s ag economy.
The new 36,000 square foot Agriculture Career Building will enable the SCC to:
- Better utilize all of these assets and create a collaborative model for expanding the future of agriculture and prepare the next generation of farmers and ranchers.
- Prepare the future workforce as innovative leaders in agriculture through problem solving simulation modules to address skill gaps before students go out into the working farm or ranch.
- Create spaces where students can apply what they learn in the labs and on the farm to make data-driven decisions.
- Provide graduating students with the skills necessary to advance the agriculture industry by constructing a state-of-the-art environment with technologies, equipment, and data gathering practices/implementation.