ATLANTA -- Blue Mountain Community College in Pendleton, Ore., is one of six programs nationwide that received the National Association of Agricultural Educators Outstanding Postsecondary/Adult Agricultural Education Program Award at the NAAE annual convention in Atlanta.
BMCC has one of three post-secondary, two-year agriculture programs in Oregon, appealing to both recent high school graduates and adults seeking higher education.
The agriculture faculty members are Nick Nelson, Preston Winn and Dale Wendt. The program offers three associate degrees as well as two one-year certificates.
"From crops to mechanics and business to animal science, our programs stay on the cutting edge of modern agricultural practices because of the initiative, dedication and pride of our instructors, who take every opportunity to attend courses and conferences to enhance their professional knowledge and skills," said John Turner, president of BMCC, in a press release. "I am proud of the impact the BMCC agriculture program has on our region and on the state."
There are 115 students enrolled in the agriculture program. The agriculture instructional facilities include a 100 acre farm, livestock pavilion, animal nutrition center, farm shop, food processing center and three greenhouses. The resources promote hands-on learning, a primary focus of the program. Students spend much of their class time at the various facilities, tying what they learn in the classroom into production agriculture.
"We feel that it is crucial to maintain applied learning environments in our classes to create hands-on learning that can be retained longer by a student," said Nelson.
The agriculture program at BMCC is constantly working to advance its instructional offerings to keep in step with the agriculture industry. In 2013, the program will offer a one-year veterinary technician course, and the faculty hope to eventually have a two-year veterinary technician/transfer degree as well as an equine science degree available to students. The program also plans to build an equine event and veterinary center.