DARKE COUNTY — Edison State Community College has announced the launch of an Agribusiness program at its Darke County Campus, to commence this fall.
The first agriculture course (AGR 101S, “Introduction to Agriculture”) will be offered during the fall semester of 2016. Courses in the program will include agribusiness, agriculture finance, international business, animal science, and agronomy. Internship and industry observations are required. The total program will span 60 to 65 credit hours.
“We have conducted a feasibility study, analyzed the data, developed program outlines, and started individual course development. We are currently undergoing curriculum and program review from our internal committees, and the state approval process will be underway in the near future,” said Chad Beanblossom, Dean of the Darke County Campus at Edison State.
Beanblossom noted the importance of agriculture in the area as one reason for the development of the program.
“All residents of this region are connected to agriculture in some way,” he said. “And the overall goal of this program is to provide students with an option to gain knowledge in a field of study they have been so deeply connected to their entire lives.”
“The program will provide students with skills they can take back to their family farms, knowledge to work directly in the agriculture industry, or prepare students for a career in one of the many agricultural related career fields.”
“We plan to work closely with other institutions of higher education as well as area high schools. Two-plus-two articulations agreements with Wright State-Lake Campus will be explored as well as agreements with other four-year institutions.”
“We’ll also have the opportunity to partner with area high school agriculture programs. It is our goal to allow students to earn college credit for the work they do in high school classrooms that can be used toward the completion of an Edison State’s associate degree in Agriculture.”
“Our program currently focuses on Agribusiness, but we have long-term goals to add a variety of certificates, training, and additional majors as we work to meet the needs of the agriculture industry. The goal is to create a unique and innovative program that is attractive to individuals from all around our region, and to create a program that improves the lives of the students we serve,” he added.
The college’s feasibility study was conducted from November 2015 to January 2016, and surveyed area high school students, current Edison State students, agriculture industry leaders, local farmers, governmental agencies, agriculture educators, and extension educations in its service area.
The school hired a consultant to begin program development in February, who is responsible for reviewing data, creating advisory committee, develop curriculum for first year agricultural courses, and assist with the State and HLC approvals process.
“Agriculture in various forms affects many businesses in Darke County and Ohio. I am pleased and applaud Edison State Community College, Darke County Campus, for being active in offering agriculture programs for our citizens. We advocate to live, educate, work and socialize right here in our own great Darke County, the bright spot in Ohio,” Darke County Commissioner Diane Delaplane said.
“I wish to thank President [Doreen] Larson and Chad Beanblossom for recognizing the importance of agriculture in Darke County.”
Darke County Commissioner Mike Rhoades added, “The number-one industry in Darke County is agriculture. We need to support all agriculture in every fashion. If it wasn’t for hard working farmers we wouldn’t have the luxury of eating high quality and plentiful amounts of foods.”
Carmen Hartzell, program consultant and agriculture teacher/FFA advisor at Mississinawa Valley-MVCTC, said, “It is exciting to work with Edison State to develop an agriculture major so close to home. Students in classrooms like mine will have the option to stay close to home and earn certificates, an associate degree or start the path to a bachelor’s degree in agriculture.”
“As a high school agriculture teacher, the challenge of building the curriculum has allowed me to consider the best path for students from agriculture programs, while also considering those without agriculture classes on their high school transcripts. Agribusiness is a focus that can apply to the student with so much flexibility. We especially considered the entrepreneur, as small business is everywhere in Darke County,” she added.
Those interested in pursuing an Associate of Science in Agriculture with a major in Agribusiness can call a Darke County campus advisor at 937-778-7890.