December 21, 2018
Students pursuing a career in agriculture now have a new option for their undergraduate education in Nebraska.
Concordia University, Nebraska, will offer a Bachelor of Science degree in agricultural science starting in the fall. The program is intended to help fill a growing need among agricultural employers seeking graduates with a well-rounded education.
"The addition of an agricultural science program takes full advantage of our location and is a logical extension of our mission, allowing Concordia to equip even more men and women for lives of learning, service and leadership," says Tim Preuss, Concordia provost.
By taking a broad, general approach to the degree, students will learn main agriculture concepts — animal science, plant science, food science and agribusiness — through a Christian-centered, Lutheran perspective to equip them to be responsible stewards of the land and natural resources.
"Leaders within the field have repeatedly told us that local agricultural businesses want to hire broadly educated students who understand the breadth of the industry and can 'speak ag,'" Preuss says.
With 1 in 4 jobs in Nebraska relating to agriculture, according to the Nebraska Department of Agriculture, Concordia's program will prepare students for service throughout the industry, whether as producers, site managers for multinational or regional companies, financial service providers, or entrepreneurs in precision agriculture management.
"Young people from rural areas will get a personalized academic experience on a small campus and then go work in an industry that impacts both urban and rural America," says Corey Gray, Concordia director of career development and retention. "This program meets a need on all fronts."
Concordia's location in Seward County, a prominent agricultural area with around 1,000 farms and various multinational and regional industry facilities, will provide hands-on learning opportunities for students.
The program will also include internships with local producers, seed companies, lenders, food processors, livestock breeders and agribusiness companies. With these opportunities, students will gain real-world experience in the industry while taking classes from experts in the field.
"There is tremendous excitement about the launch of this program among Concordia's prospective students, alumni and many agribusiness partners across the state and region," Preuss says. "It has the potential to propel Concordia to the forefront in providing outstanding graduates to meet the needs of employers and communities in Nebraska, where 1 out of every 4 jobs is ag-related, and throughout the Midwest."
The agricultural science program will be housed in Concordia's Dunklau Center for Science, Math and Business, scheduled to be completed late 2019. The center will include 11 laboratory classrooms, spaces for plant and animal science, two lecture halls, a greenhouse and multiple research labs within the building's 86,000 square feet.
"Concordia's investment in this program is in facilities, relationships and curriculum," Gray says. "We have made a commitment to ag in Nebraska and the region, and students who choose Concordia for our ag program will be prepared for success."
For further details about the program, visit cune.edu/ag.
Source: Concordia University
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