Location: SCR 357
Access to Education and Training for Farmers
YOUNG AND BEGINNING FARMERS
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02:08 PM -- Access to Education and Training for Farmers
Becky Gremillion, Otero Junior College, provided background information about the agriculture program at Otero Junior College. Ms. Gremillion distributed an Otero Junior College Agriculture Program brochure (Attachment N) and an overview of the Agriculture Business Management program at Otero Junior College, Northeastern Junior College, and Morgan Community College (Attachment O). Ms. Gremillion discussed the certificates that the college offers and the benefits students who participate in those programs receive.
170810 AttachN.pdf170810 AttachO.pdf
Mike Anderson, Northeastern Junior College, explained his experience with teaching agriculture. He discussed the Production Agriculture Program at Northeastern Junior College and provided a handout to the committee (Attachment P). Mr. Anderson discussed the struggles community colleges, such as Otero and Northeastern Junior Colleges face, specifically with funding of agricultural programs and availability of educational resources in rural parts of the state. Mr. Anderson discussed various colleges in the state that offer a program with an emphasis in agriculture. Mr. Anderson discussed the availability of internships and other forms of experiential learning. Mr. Anderson discussed transition planning and the need for succession plans.
Mike Sullivan, Sedgwick County Economic Development Corporation, discussed the Northeastern Colorado Student to Career Opportunity (STCO) Initiative. Mr. Sullivan distributed handouts about the STCO Initiative (Attachments Q and R) and data regarding participants in the Eastern Colorado Workforce Center (Attachment S). Mr. Sullivan discussed the STCO Initiative and the work that Sedgwick County Economic Development Corporation conducts by collaborating with other programs, like Careerwise.
170810 AttachQ.pdf170810 AttachR.pdf170810 AttachS.pdf
Mr. Anderson responded to questions from the committee regarding participation of students not already in agriculture schools or programs and discussed different opportunities for young people and students in agriculture. Ms. Gremillion discussed opportunities through Otero Junior College and the importance of marketing those opportunities to students. Mr. Sullivan discussed the work by Workforce Development in starting projects focusing on community gardens for grade-school children. He also discussed other programs that are directed towards young children that are focused on agriculture. Mr. Anderson discussed federal programs that provide incentives for young farmers entering the agriculture sector, such as loans through the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Farm Service Agency. Mr. Anderson discussed that lack of funding is an obstacle to provide services statewide. He discussed the need for tuition assistance and loan forgiveness for students that participate in agricultural programs. Ms. Gremillion emphasized that schools with agriculture business management programs need to find ways to reach out to schools and farmers in the western area of the state.
Ms. Gremillion discussed the Agriculture Business Management Program at Otero Junior College. She provided data on how many farms the program services, including brand new farmers and farmers who are related to established farmers. Mr. Anderson provided data regarding the students enrolled in the Agriculture Business Program at Northeastern Junior College, and addressed how many students are on the production agriculture track. Mr. Anderson discussed the development and challenges of greenhouse farming programs.