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Youth get trial run of college’s ag program

Sarah McNaughton Students attending the agriculture department at Bismarck State College
STUDENTS GATHER: Students meet faculty and instructors in the agriculture department at Bismarck State College, and were each entered to win a $500 scholarship to the agriculture program.
Spring Ag Academy at Bismarck State College showcases agriculture careers and programs to students in seventh through 12th grade.

With the agriculture industry being home to a myriad of job and career opportunities, faculty at Bismarck State College in North Dakota work to showcase the opportunities to high school students.

The Spring Ag Academy at BSC takes students from around North Dakota through what a typical day of classes may be for a student in its agriculture program. Lindsey Novak, the plant sciences instructor and internship coordinator for the college, was the main facilitator of the event in late April.

“We highlight all of the subject areas we cover, with classes in plant science, precision agriculture, soils and livestock,” Novak says. “The students get a schedule just like a college student, and they go from room to room, getting to know us as instructors and the subject areas we teach; then go to the student union for lunch followed by a campus tour.”

The students range from seventh to 12th grade. “Most of them are from rural schools,” she says. “We have students from Garrison, McIntosh, Hettinger, Alexander, Killdeer, Berthold and Stanley, as well as some students from the homeschool association and county 4-H. We have a little bit of everything.”

Other BSC faculty teaching during the day’s events included:

  • Carmel Miller, precision ag and animal sciences
  • Charlotte Heim, animal science and ag business
  • Chris Duchsherer, plant science and ag economics
  • Kenan Layden, plant science and ag finance
  • Marko Davinic, soil science and ag business

Array of opportunities

BSC offers programs in agronomy, agriculture, technology, food and natural resources, farm and ranch management, agribusiness, farm management education, and custom applications. As a two-year institution, students can complete an associates in applied science in their chosen field, and either go right into the workforce or continue on at a four-year institution.

“We have two-year degree programs, but we also have the transfer degree, so students can come here and get their start and be able to move on as another option,” Novak says.

“We have multiple connection with industry, so that’s one of our core values is bringing the industry into the classroom,” Novak says. “We have 100% placement of our students, and the students who have an internship often go on to have a full-time job or career with that company coming straight out of college.”

BSC has a group of industry supporters called the Agronomy Incentive Partners, which include the Arthur Cos., United Agronomy, Dakota Agronomy Partners, CHS Devil’s Lake and Agtegra. “They support our program in a very special way — not only with monetary contribution, but their time and expertise and internship offerings,” she says.

Novak says especially in the Midwest, students will have some ties to agriculture. “Agriculture is the No. 1 industry in the state,” she says. “There’s so many jobs, and it doesn’t matter if you grew up on a farm or not. We really need adults who work in agriculture to try to change that perception; there’s really room for everybody.”

To find out more about the agriculture program at BSC, go to Bismarck State College Agriculture online.

TAGS: Farm Life
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