MADISON, Neb. – Northeast Community College has been recognized for its work in agriculture during an event that celebrates the number one industry in the region. The Norfolk Area Chamber of Commerce, in conjunction with the Madison Area Chamber of Commerce, presented the College with its 2022 Agriculture Business of the Year Award at its 7th Annual Northeast Nebraska Ag Banquet at the Madison County Fairgrounds.

The banquet recognizes area producers and ag businesses in Antelope, Boone, Madison, Pierce, northern Platte, Stanton, and Wayne counties for their contributions to the economic well-being of area communities.

As part of the ceremonies, the chambers honor an area agriculture business and an area farm family/producer for their contributions to the industry. The Ag Business Awards comes after Northeast dedicated its new Veterinary Technology building and nearby combination Farm Operations building and Large Animal Handling facility at the Acklie Family College Farm this spring. The site is located near Northeast’s Chuck M. Pohlman Agriculture Complex, 2301 E. Benjamin Ave., in Norfolk.

The buildings, which replace 100-year-old farm facilities, have allowed Northeast to make plans to double the number of veterinary technology students being admitted into the program. The College will also be able to offer more hands-on applied learning opportunities for both credit and non-credit students and provide continuing education opportunities for professionals in the field.

“Northeast Community College has been a leader in the agriculture industry since 1973, when we began our first agriculture program with three students. Since that time we have grown to more than 300 students in 13 agriculture programs,” said Dr. Tracy Kruse, vice president of development & external affairs. “It is wonderful to be recognized for the partnerships and graduates we provide to the industry that is so critical to our regional economy.”

Accepting the Ag Business Award were Kruse; Tara Smydra, dean of science, technology, agriculture, and math; Jill Heemstra, director of agriculture programs; Jason Hansen, college farm manager; Cori Lamm, director of corporate and foundation relations; and Jim McCarville, workforce development coordinator.

Bruce and Karen Grant, of Meadow Grove, were named 2022 Farm Family of the Year Award recipients during the event. Karen Grant was honored as the AG-ceptional Woman of the Year at Northeast’s 7th Annual Ag-Ceptional Women’s Conference in 2015 for her contributions to agriculture.

Also during the ag banquet, four area students were awarded scholarships to continue their post-secondary education in an agriculture field. Two students of the students, Jacob Cleveland, of Meadow Grove, and Lane Kudera of Clarkson, both currently attend Northeast. The other two recipients are Ritter Oestreich and Amanda Sellin, both of Norfolk.

Scholarships totaling $22,750 have been awarded to 27 area high school seniors and college students over the past six years at the banquet.