Across Richland Community College and the Improving Agriculture Program are located across the gates of agricultural development in Dec. D.C. Jess Smith, director of agricultural programs, has been sharing changes in the program since the last show in Dictator.
The program gained additional staff in December 2019. Dave Shelley began as a destination coordinator for agricultural programs. His role focuses on recruiting and participating with students in high school programs in the district.
Adding Shillie (pictured) to the Richland Og program is a driving force behind the program’s enrollment goals. Smith said enrollment has increased by 40% every two years. The goal for the next school year is to repeat that stage of development.
After re-launching the program three years ago, I think we can expect this kind of growth for many years to come as interest in our program grows. In addition, the number of high school students is growing in the area, which is impressive.
As enrollment increases, there will be a degree expansion in the AG program. In applied science, students can choose from three complementary degrees – agricultural research, agricultural work and horticulture.
Smithts says a degree in agricultural research is a new addition to the program, and that agricultural and horticultural options have been redesigned.
The most popular street students in the department are the ag transfer program for those who want to complete a bachelor’s degree but want to start a community college. A big part of the program is the need for a smooth transition from Richland to the University, like the University of Illinois.
The college has developed certified transfer agreements with government agencies. Students can attend in Richland, and credits will be successfully transferred to any bachelor’s program if they meet the GPA and coursework requirements.
The AG program continues to value students by preparing them for the profession.
“We show our students practice opportunities,” Smith said. We have some practice partnerships with Macon County Soil and Water and Crop Disaster Services. Workers from Richland are also employed by many other companies.
Richland also wants to create additional two-year degree programs for technical work, which will help local companies such as ADM and Tate and Lill find employees.
Don’t miss the 2021 Agricultural Growth Index, which returns from August 31 to September 2.