PIQUA — As Edison State Community College continues to work towards meeting the growing demand of the agriculture industry throughout the region, an agriculture degree program has come to fruition.
On Monday, Sept. 11, the Higher Learning Commission, a regional accreditation agency recognized by the U.S. Department of Education, granted full approval for Edison State Community College to offer an Associate of Applied Science degree in Agriculture. With this decision, the agriculture degree program is added to the already extensive list of accredited degree programs available at Edison State.
“I am excited to see this degree officially launched. It will serve the vibrant and complex agricultural business sector that drives the economy of Midwest Ohio,” said Edison State President Dr. Doreen Larson.
A panel of experts from a variety of agriculture-related fields makes up the program’s advisory committee, which was relied upon heavily during development.
“I am grateful to all the community partners that helped to design and implement this degree and look forward to continuing to refine the degree and certificate options to reflect the changing science and technology required to be successful in agriculture,” said Larson.
Students echo Larson’s enthusiasm for the new program offering. “They are excited to have an option like this close to home,” said Brad Lentz, Edison State agriculture program director. “Many students work at home on their family farms, and this gives them the ability to continue to help while furthering their education.”
The program currently has 17 students enrolled who will take courses in agribusiness, agricultural finance, international business, animal science, and agronomy, with internship and industry observations required for successful completion. Students will be equipped to become successful farmers, work in the agriculture industry, or transfer to a four-year institution to pursue various career opportunities upon completion.
Plans for future programming, certificates, and training are already in the works, with a commodity-marketing workshop scheduled for November.
“We would love to advance the program into various pathways, like Agronomy or Animal Science,” said Lentz. “It would also be nice to add some specialty classes involving horticulture and natural resources. We may at some point consider looking into adult classes to benefit local farmers and assist them with continuing education. It will be interesting to see where time will take us.”
“All residents of this region are connected to agriculture in some way, 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,” said Edison State Darke County Campus Executive Dean Chad Beanblossom.
The program will reside at the college’s Darke County campus while also serving residents of Miami, Shelby and surrounding counties.
The College has successfully negotiated articulation agreements with all local high school agriculture programs, including Upper Valley Career Center and Miami Valley Career Tech Center.
For more information or to enroll, contact an adviser at Edison State’s Darke County Campus by calling 937-548-5546.