Al Juhnke

NORFOLK — One of the fastest-growing segments of Nebraska agriculture has thrown its support behind a project to build new ag facilities at Northeast Community College.

The Nebraska Pork Producers Association has pledged $100,000 to the Nexus campaign.

Al Juhnke, Pork Producers executive director, said Northeast Community College is recognized both regionally and nationally as a premiere two-year agriculture education institution.

“That they have recognized the need to upgrade their facilities, to re-evaluate and upgrade their programming and curriculum — I don’t think the timing could be more perfect,” he said.

Dr. Tracy Kruse, Northeast associate vice president of development and external affairs and executive director of the College Foundation, said the support of the Nebraska Pork Producers is important to the Nexus campaign.

“To have a statewide organization like the Pork Producers join our efforts to provide a 21st Century farm for Northeast students speaks volumes about the value of this project,” Kruse said. “Agriculture is the largest area of study at Northeast, with about 350 students every year in 12 programs. Northeast is training the next generation of farmers and ranchers, and also the next generation of workers for large livestock operations, cooperatives, fertilizer and seed dealers, and other agribusinesses.”

Juhnke said Nebraska currently has more hogs and pigs than in the mid-1980s. The state now ranks sixth nationally in commercial hog slaughter and seventh in all hogs and pigs. Pork production provides about 14,260 jobs in Nebraska, generating $772 million in personal income and $1.14 billion toward Nebraska’s gross state product.

“Both here in Nebraska and in the upper Midwest, agriculture is the driver of our economy,” he said. “And having a facility like this that is upgraded, and new, and shiny, is not only going to draw the students we need but also help us, as an ag industry, to draw the workers that we need.”

The Nebraska Pork Producers Association is a grassroots, incorporated, nonprofit organization established in 1961. Its vision is to ensure opportunities for success for Nebraska’s producers of pork, regardless of size or production style, as well as the state’s youth, by enhancing their opportunities for success within the pork industry.

The Nebraska Pork Producers is governed by a four-member executive committee and an 11-member board with two alternate directors. Tim Chancellor of Broken Bow is the current president.

Funding for the $23 million Agriculture & Water Center for Excellence project is currently being solicited to enhance and expand the agriculture facilities at Northeast Community College.

In addition to the college’s commitment of $10 million, Northeast is seeking at least $13 million in private funds to begin the initial phase of construction, which includes a new farm site with a farm office and storage, a large animal handling facility and other farm structures for livestock operations, and a new veterinary technology clinic and classrooms.

The new facilities will be located near the Chuck Pohlman Ag Complex on East Benjamin Avenue in Norfolk.

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Want to learn more?

For more information on the Nexus Campaign, contact Kruse at tracyk@northeast.edu, or call 402-844-7056. Online donations may be made through the website agwaternexus.com. Checks may be mailed to Nexus Campaign, Northeast Community College Foundation, P.O. Box 469, Norfolk, NE 68702-0469.

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