CURTIS, Neb. — The summer of 2019 will mark the second time that our small rural campus in Curtis makes a mark on the world agricultural scene.
Fifty students from Rwanda, who are now completing their first year of agriculture courses with the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, will be engaged in hands-on learning at NU’s Nebraska College of Technical Agriculture.
For a seven-week timeframe, beginning May 13 and ending the final week of June, four groups of the UNL students will be taking skills-based classes in agricultural construction, welding, meat processing, goat production, swine production and poultry production, in addition to farm equipment operations, agronomy and animal science.
For the past two semesters, the UNL College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources (CASNR) has been home base for the students from Rwanda. They are the fourth cohort of students in the Bachelor of Science program at UNL entitled CASNR Undergraduate Scholarship Program, or CUSP for short.
Our Curtis community, the NCTA campus and residents from throughout southwest Nebraska welcomed our initial CUSP delegation for four weeks during 2018.
We are excited to broaden the experience for this year’s group to allow a deeper immersion in rural life and hands-on agriculture.
After a first week of orientation, CUSP students will rotate through half-day classes from 9 a.m. to noon, then 1-4 p.m., Monday through Friday, for six weeks.
They also will have hands-on experience in “enterprise operations” also rotating among small groups of students from 8-9 a.m. or 4-5 p.m. The small-scale, commercial-style enterprises will include:
- Beef production in the feedlot with 15 feeders, and with 20 cow-calf pairs
- Goat production with 10 Boer goats
- Swine production with two bred sows which are due to farrow in early summer
- Poultry production with 40 broiler chickens, 10 laying hens, and a small hatchery system
- Dairy production with two milking Holstein cows
- Fruit and vegetable production on about one-tenth of an acre, and various fruit trees
Agricultural faculty from NCTA and other educators will be teaching the courses, which will be graded for college credit. Program tuition and fees are provided by sponsors.
CUSP community activities
Businesses, families, agricultural enterprises, churches and other organizations are again encouraged to sign up to host students, provide day trips and weekend experiences in rural life, culture, agriculture and tourism.
This program provides our campus community with an opportunity to develop an understanding of the global components of agriculture.
Many of our Aggie students will be working in industries which rely on international trade for these commodity markets to remain viable. Half of our Nebraska soybeans, for example, are sold to international markets.
We are excited to host this outstanding program again, and look forward to the community potlucks, local festivals, and rural opportunities which await our friends engaged in NCTA CUSP 2019.
On Monday, we welcomed back to NCTA a contingent of 33 Aggie students and three professors who had been away from campus for six days as they traveled and attended a national collegiate competition at Murray State University in Murray, Kentucky.
We are proud of each of these students individually and collectively, as Aggie competitors included two students who are now national champs among the two-year college individuals in crops judging and dairy judging, along with a second-place individual in horticulture. NCTA teams also earned second places for dairy judging and horticulture, and third placings in ag mechanics and crops judging. Bravo, Aggies!
NCTA Mission: The Nebraska College of Technical Agriculture is devoted to a statewide mission of preparing students for successful careers in agriculture, veterinary technology, and related industries. The college provides open access to innovative technical education resulting in associate degrees, certificates, and other credentials.
— NCTA Dean Ron Rosati, Ph.D.
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