In its continuing efforts to serve the marketplace needs of the community, Midland University in Fremont, Neb., is announcing the addition of agribusiness as its newest field of study, beginning in the 2021-22 academic year. Agribusiness will be offered as a new major, along with three compressed majors — agribusiness, crop production management and agricultural marketing — and a minor in animal production management.
Nick Schreck, business chair at Midland, says the program was created by people working in agriculture with the idea of helping others fill the talent void in the industry.
“We know that both Fremont and Nebraska are rooted in agriculture, and we know there are opportunities to learn about agriculture from other schools,” Schreck says. “With Midland, we wanted to take a different approach by offering an academic program that connected our students to those opportunities.
"When we consulted with local agriculture professionals, their message was clear. They want businesspeople that can speak the ag language. We coupled that feedback with the research that points to the importance of experiential learning to get these students working with professionals in the workplace to study, see and experience agribusiness operations.”
With more than 80 agricultural-based businesses within 30 miles of Midland’s Fremont campus, the agribusiness program will propel people into an industry in search of local talent. Its value will be immense, says Midland University President Jody Horner, whose background features more than 30 years in the agricultural industry, including serving as president of Cargill Meat Solutions and Cargill Case Ready.
“This is an outstanding opportunity for anyone looking to have a career in agriculture,” Horner says. “Those individuals will be equipped to fill roles in an industry that plays a vital role not just in the Fremont community, but throughout the region. It’s another example of Midland working from the marketplace back to provide students with the relevant skills to lead in the world with purpose.”
The agribusiness program will feature a choice of five areas — including animal production, crop production, agriculture finance, marketing and sales, and farm management — that aim to get students working with business professionals while learning and applying the concepts and practices associated with the industry. The program also will require an internship where students can build on a previous experience with a new perspective.
J.P. Rhea, a partner with Rhea Brothers Farm in Arlington and a co-founder of Agrisecure, believes the agribusiness program will present local businesses with more opportunities when it comes to hiring career-ready individuals.
“I’m excited about the program that Midland has created," he says. "It builds off the strengths of Midland and will help improve the talent pool for agricultural businesses like ourselves and others in the community. The approach of integrating into the local ag community will improve the experience for the students and strengthen ties to industry, which will be beneficial to Midland over time. This is another great example of Midland’s innovative approach that is helping them buck the trends facing higher education.”
Founded in 1883, Midland University is a liberal arts college providing relevant opportunities in more than 30 academic areas, four graduate programs, and a variety of professional studies programs to students at both their Fremont and Omaha locations.