Tag Archives: NCTA Curtis

CURTIS, Neb. _ Educators have stretched teaching methods and hands-on learning platforms to a unique level of outreach.

When asked to “think outside the box” due to the coronavirus pandemic our faculty and adjunct instructors at the Nebraska College of Technical Agriculture are adapting right along with our Aggie students on our educational delivery.

As a hands-on learning institution our course work continually builds on the ability to engage students in hands-on experiences throughout their time at NCTA.  We strive to master skills, and you cannot do that during one class period. We continue to work and build on these through multiple class and lab experiences.

Agronomy

Instead of two students climbing up into the cab of a large crop sprayer applicator to learn hands-on for precision farming skills, these Aggies are sitting in front of a personal computer, laptop or other digital device to view photographs or video shot by Agronomy Professor Brad Ramsdale.

“I went out and shot a bunch of pictures of my sprayer,” Ramsdale says. “Students are learning all of the components of the sprayer through photographs.”

Students answer questions through the internet with an online program called Canvas. Ramsdale’s course lectures and lab sessions that he fine-tuned for remote teaching during a March 16-27 timeframe, include PowerPoints, Zoom discussions and direct phone calls, as needed, to stay in touch with his students.

Agribusiness Management

Mary Rittenhouse, division chair, emphasizes student engagement from the three faculty who are teaching online for students in Agribusiness Management Systems. Macroeconomics, accounting, software, ag marketing, entrepreneurship, and critical thinking are half of the 12 courses taught remotely in AMS.

“I am including a Tip of the Day on each course posted on Canvas, a fun way to engage students,” Rittenhouse said. “The first to post the correct answer is mailed a small prize.”

On March 30, opening day for remote learning, the Canvas headline tip for Macroeconomics ECON 1303 was: “Do you know what is the most common culprit of online learning???”  The answer: TV

Veterinary Technology

While 35 Aggies are in their first year studying to be veterinary technicians, 31 second-years are on internships until the semester ends in early May.

“Every single veterinary clinic and internship location is assuring us that these students will be working and completing their internships, although there may be some slight changes in their businesses or operations,” says Barb Berg, LVT (licensed veterinary technician) and chair of the NCTA Veterinary Technology program.

Four VT faculty are teaching online, and in the case of facilities management and care for the animals in the teaching programs, a student or Chrissy Barnhart, administrative lab support associate, handle those responsibilities, seven days a week.

First-year students engage through Canvas lectures, videos, Zoom and posted assignments. Most live-time sessions are delivered via ZOOM, including face-to-face group or individual discussions with instructors. Recorded sessions and Canvas can be accessed online 24/7, Berg said.

Essential skills required by the American Veterinary Medical Association for graduates to make application to be licensed vet technicians will be taught during the regularly-scheduled summer session, June to August.

Equine Management

Canvas and Zoom platforms are mainstays in the Animal Science and Agriculture Education Division. However, students in equine courses may have the most unique form of learning and testing.

Joanna Hergenreder, division interim chair and equine professor, has students in other states completing their intermediate or advanced equitation courses with video. They record riding sessions on a mobile device, and send the file to Hergenreder. She can critique, complete with drawing lines or figures on the recording and return it to the student. Or, they can also gain coaching tips through a Zoom call.

On April 4-5, six or seven equine students have the option of completing their Colt Starting training class at NCTA with adjunct instructor Stephen Mueller. Each student will be able to put in three, 2-hour sessions in saddle work on their colt at the indoor arena. The large facility allows for safe, social distancing both while in the arena, as well as classroom time for a written exam.

These are a few examples of the creativity of NCTA instructors. I appreciate the extensive efforts and flexibility of faculty and students during this extraordinarily unique and challenging time. Please be safe and healthy, everyone.

CURTIS, Neb. – The Nebraska College of Technical Agriculture in Curtis takes the health and safety of campus community very seriously. As the spread of COVID-19 continues, NCTA administration is taking additional steps to help protect the NCTA community and the broader community.

Starting on March 30, all NCTA classes will shift to remote learning.

In a March 12 letter to faculty, staff and students, NCTA Interim Dean Kelly Bruns, along with Mike Boehm, vice president for Agriculture and Natural Resources at the University of Nebraska, announced classes would be canceled on March 13, as well as for the week of March 16-20, to give students and faculty time to prepare for the shift to remote learning in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. In the letter, Bruns and Boehm said that a limited number of labs and other classes with an experiential learning component would continue to be held in-person on the NCTA campus after students returned from spring break on March 30.

On March 24, Bruns, Boehm and other NCTA leaders finalized the decision to move entirely to remote learning for the remainder of the semester.

“As the situation has evolved, and as leaders from the University of Nebraska system, our state, and our nation, have advised greater precaution to prevent the spread of COVID-19, it became apparent that shifting to 100% remote learning was the right thing to do,” Boehm said. “The health and safety of our students, faculty and staff is our greatest concern and our No. 1 priority.”

Bruns echoed NCTA’s commitment to the safety of both the campus and surrounding community.

“This solution will help keep our students, faculty and staff safe and healthy,” Bruns said.

NCTA faculty and staff are working to ensure that this switch to remote learning does not disadvantage any student. An online Q&A session for students will be held on Friday, March 27, at 11 a.m. Central Time. A link to the web meeting, as well as contact information for questions, will be posted at NCTA.UNL.EDU.

NCTA administration encourages students residing on campus to return to their place of permanent residence. Students who must remain on campus may request special arrangements with the Dean’s Office. It is expected that appropriate social distancing and enhanced preventative public health and hygiene measures be practiced by anyone on the NCTA campus.

Students who leave campus will be eligible for a refund on their housing and meal plans. Students will be sent more details about refunds in the coming days. Those who elect to leave campus and receive a refund must contact Erika Arambula, NCTA Residential Life Manager, to arrange a time to pick personal belongings and sign out of the residence hall.

Further details will be posted at ncta.unl.edu.

CURTIS, Neb. – It’s National Agriculture Week!

As I write this weekly message, it is National Ag Day across the United States and at the Nebraska College of Technical Agriculture in Curtis.

Our 2020 observance may be muted by current events around the globe. Nonetheless, we recognize the immense contributions made by those who produce the food, fiber and fuel needed to feed the world.

NCTA is evaluating the evolving situation around COVID-19 daily. The safety of our students, faculty, staff and the greater community is our utmost concern. We will be transitioning our Spring semester toward remote learning after Spring Break, on March 30. For more information on these details, please see ncta.unl.edu

Most of our students are away on Spring Break, and our faculty and staff are working remotely or from their offices on campus.

However, agriculture production does not take a break. Hard work and responsibilities continue at the 550-acre NCTA Farm and Learning Laboratory.

Livestock at the farm, horses, and the animals or various species used for teaching programs at the NCTA Veterinary Technology program, are fed, managed and facilities maintained by employees and student workers.

Standards of care are a priority for all animals owned and managed by NCTA.

Spring calving

The NCTA cow herd is about half done with calving. The 31 head of cows are pastured in Aggieland, located immediately north of the campus.

Over the weekend, several of the Vet Tech students took their shifts in checking cows. And, student workers and fulltime staff with the NCTA “Farm Crew” are watching the animals, as well.

Students in livestock management and one of the VT classes had signed up for their calving rotations, as part of their class credits. This hands-on training is a hallmark of the NCTA experience.

Equine science

Campus horses are maintained for by Huntra Christensen, Ranch Horse Team assistant coach. With temperature swings and rain or snow, special attention is paid to a couple of geriatric horses. Like humans, older animals may need extra care for nutrition, hydration and exercise.

Animal Science and Ag Education Division Interim Chair Joanna Hergenreder reports that professors are busy preparing academic content for online platforms to begin next week.

The Ranch Horse Team’s Punchy In Pink Horse Show scheduled for April 3-5 has been canceled.

Crops program

On the crops side of the NCTA Farm, wet weather prevents any crop field activity for a while. Once conditions allow, Dr. Brad Ramsdale, agronomy professor, reports as a 100% no-till farm, we will go straight to planting.

In Crops Practicum II class, students have planned for crops on the varying sizes of ground assigned to them. Nine acres of triticale is slated to be planted in one area. Spring forage mixtures will be planted on the dryland corners of a center pivot irrigated field.

Ag Week, March 22-28

From all of us at NCTA, we appreciate the contributions of each individual to the success of our rural campus and culture, and to the daily lives of all consumers.

The Agriculture of America reports that each American farmer feeds more than 165 people. Those of us in American agriculture are producing even more food and fiber – and doing it safely and with improved technologies.

Thank an agriculture producer today, and throughout the year.

CURTIS, Neb. – An all-Nebraska team of Aggie students is tops in their field.

The Nebraska College of Technical Agriculture in Curtis won top team honors among their two-year college cohorts Saturday in a Crops Judging Contest hosted at NCTA.

A four-student team of Ethan Aschenbrenner and Tyler Aschenbrenner, brothers from Scottsbluff, Chase Callahan of Farnam, and Amy Lammers of Axtell are sophomores at NCTA.

Brad Ramsdale, NCTA agronomy professor and Aggie coach, coordinated the contest at Curtis for a second year.

It again drew collegiate teams from a broad range. Twelve teams came from colleges in Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, Nebraska, Iowa, and Wisconsin. About 90 students competed in the four-part contest.

Eight of the teams were from 4-year colleges, with four teams, including the Aggies, representing 2-year colleges.

Ethan Aschenbrenner, a Scottsbluff High School graduate, won the 2-year division as the top individual, and his teammate, Chase Callahan, Gothenburg High School graduate,  was second-place individual.

First-year students can compete at collegiate crops contests but are not eligible for awards. Freshmen Aggie students are Taylor Sayer, Cambridge; Connor Nolan, Lynch; Jacob Jenkins, Mitchell; and Lilly Calkins, Palmyra.

Academic courses and laboratory classes at NCTA prepare students for careers in crops production or to work in the industry as certified crops consultants. NCTA programs feature indoor labs, test plots, and an irrigated farm.

Additional information on agronomy programs and the NCTA crops judging team is available at ncta.unl.edu.

CURTIS, Neb. – An all-Nebraska team of Aggie students is tops in their field.

The Nebraska College of Technical Agriculture in Curtis won top team honors among their two-year college cohorts Saturday in a Crops Judging Contest hosted at NCTA.

A four-student team of Ethan Aschenbrenner and Tyler Aschenbrenner, brothers from Scottsbluff, Chase Callahan of Farnam, and Amy Lammers of Axtell are sophomores at NCTA.

Brad Ramsdale, NCTA agronomy professor and Aggie coach, coordinated the contest at Curtis for a second year.

It again drew collegiate teams from a broad range. Twelve teams came from colleges in Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, Nebraska, Iowa, and Wisconsin. About 90 students competed in the four-part contest.

Eight of the teams were from 4-year colleges, with four teams, including the Aggies, representing 2-year colleges.

Ethan Aschenbrenner, a Scottsbluff High School graduate, won the 2-year division as the top individual, and his teammate, Chase Callahan, Gothenburg High School graduate,  was second-place individual.

First-year students can compete at collegiate crops contests but are not eligible for awards. Freshmen Aggie students are Taylor Sayer, Cambridge; Connor Nolan, Lynch; Jacob Jenkins, Mitchell; and Lilly Calkins, Palmyra.

Academic courses and laboratory classes at NCTA prepare students for careers in crops production or to work in the industry as certified crops consultants. NCTA programs feature indoor labs, test plots, and an irrigated farm.

Additional information on agronomy programs and the NCTA crops judging team is available at ncta.unl.edu.

CURTIS, Neb. – The second of three candidates being considered for the position of dean at the Nebraska College of Technical Agriculture in Curtis will present a public seminar on Monday.

The public is invited to attend the 3:45 p.m. seminar to be presented on March 16 by Dr. Clyde Cranwell of Hays, Kansas.

The seminar will be in the auditorium of the Nebraska Agriculture Industry Education Center, followed by a public reception at 5:30 p.m., said Tiffany Heng-Moss, who leads the 12-member NCTA Dean Search Committee.

Dr. Heng-Moss is the dean of the College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources (CASNR) at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

Cranwell is chair of the Department of Agriculture and University Farm Superintendent at Fort Hays State University.

From 1999 to 2006, Cranwell was chair of Agriculture Production Systems (APS) and coached the Aggie Livestock Judging Team at NCTA in Curtis.

He also has been a faculty member working with equine and thoroughbred racing programs at Morrisville State College in Morrisville, New York; and in animal science and livestock judging programs at Oklahoma Panhandle State University in Goodwell, Oklahoma.

Cranwell’s family roots are in grain and livestock production in Northeastern Colorado and Southeastern Wyoming. His research interests are in beef cattle nutrition and management, as well as biomechanics of movement in horses and cattle.

More information and his curriculum vitae is available at https://ncta.unl.edu/meet-dean-candidates.

On Wednesday (March 11), students, faculty, staff, alumni and the campus community will meet Dr. Larry Gossen, the first candidate to present a campus seminar. Gossen is a State FFA advisor with the Nebraska Department of Education and is based in Lincoln.

NCTA is a part of the University of Nebraska system, and was established in 1967 as a post-secondary institution. It was established by the Nebraska Legislature in 1912 to serve as a residential high school.

Currently, the NCTA campus has 20 faculty, 40 staff, 240 college students at campus plus 92 online students with high school dual credit classes.

A 550-acre teaching farm with commercial crops and production livestock creates a hub for hands-on, experiential courses for NCTA students as well as many Nebraska partners in agricultural and veterinary health industries, Nebraska Extension, and 4-H and FFA programming.

A national search for the NCTA dean was launched in December, following the retirement of Dr. Ron Rosati in August. He left NCTA to become a senior advisor in developing a new agricultural college, Rwanda Conservation Agriculture in Kigali, Rwanda, which opened in September.

Dr. Kelly Bruns has been serving in the capacity of interim dean.  Bruns also is director of UNL’s West Central Research and Extension Center based in North Platte where he oversees a 24-county region in southwest Nebraska.

NCTA emphasizes workforce development in agriculture, agribusiness and veterinary technology.  Students can earn associate degrees, certificates and other credentials.

A third dean candidate, Dr. Darrel Sandall, will visit campus on March 19.

CURTIS, Neb. – Beef cattle evaluation holds great appeal for 10 Aggie students from the Nebraska College of Technical Agriculture in Curtis.

“Our students engaged in a highly competitive contest at the Nebraska Cattlemen’s Classic Beef Cattle Judging Contest in Kearney recently,” said Doug Smith, livestock judging coach, and professor of animal science and agriculture education.

Youth of FFA and 4-H ages competed in junior, intermediate and senior divisions, along with the 2-year and 4-year college teams in evaluating beef cattle at the Buffalo County Fairgrounds.

Sophomore and freshmen team members from NCTA competed among 27 teams and 150 individuals in 2-year colleges. Teams were comprised of five students.

Twelve teams and 72 students from 4-year colleges also competed. The college divisions evaluated 12 classes of cattle and gave eight sets of oral reasons.

Animal placings and reasons are combined for an overall score. Teams and individuals are ranked by highest points.

The NCTA Aggie Sophomore team was 6th high team in placings, 13th high overall and 17th in reasons, Smith said.

The top Aggie judge was sophomore animal science major Garret Lapp of Adamsville, Ohio, who was 4th in placings and 24th overall.

Other members of the sophomore team are Seth Racicky, Mason City; Camden Wilke, Columbus; Emily Riley, Norton, Kansas; and Matt Stichka, Mullen.

NCTA’s freshmen were ranked 21st in both placings and overall team, and 23rd in reasons.

The freshmen were led by Lauren Nichols, Scottsbluff, with teammates Jose De La Cruz, Columbus; Avery Bermel, Randolph; Bailey Johnson, Hastings; and Melody MacDonald, Fullerton.

The next contest will be in mid-March when the sophomore team travels to the Houston Livestock Show.