Capital Press | Ag Education Capital Press Mon, 11 May 2015 21:35:05 -0400 en Capital Press | Ag Education New online master’s degree for the ag industry Thu, 15 May 2014 16:23:44 -0400 Washington State University is launching a new online degree program to meet the growing need for highly skilled field practitioners and managers in today’s technologically advanced agricultural industry.

The Master of Science in Agriculture with emphasis in plant health management (PHM) couples WSU’s plant sciences and plant protection programs with business management courses. The result is a new degree that gives students the ability to go from field to lab to executive boardroom without breaking stride.

The program is accepting applications now for its first cohort this fall and is offering online information sessions for prospective students wishing to learn more.

The new program, offered by the College of Agricultural, Human, and Natural Resource Sciences (CAHNRS), follows another track in this program that was recently launched with great success: Food Science and Management. This purposeful pattern of online course delivery signals a desire to cater to working students. Although the new offering follows traditional asynchronous learning, the program has also included optional research and field opportunities for students living in proximity to one of WSU’s four research and extension centers.

John Stark, director of the Puyallup Research and Extension (R&E) Center, expressed a desire to work with new PHM graduate students. “Students may take their classes online, but we are ready for students near Puyallup to augment their studies at our research farm.”

While the degree waives the traditional thesis requirement, students are expected to complete a capstone research project with their current employer or in a related industry.

High school ag programs flourish across nation Thu, 15 May 2014 16:23:22 -0400 JIM SUHRAP Business Writer ST. LOUIS (AP) — High school agriculture programs sprouting across the nation are teaching teenagers, many of them in urban environments, that careers in the field often have nothing to do with cows and plows.

The curriculum, taking hold as school budgets tighten and the numbers of farms in the U.S. decline, are rich in science and touted as stepping stones for college-bound students considering careers in everything from urban forestry to renewable natural resources and genetic engineering of crops, perhaps for agribusiness giants such as Monsanto, Dow, DuPont and Pioneer.

Ag-minded students are in luck: Tens of thousands of jobs open up each year in the broader agriculture field, and roughly half are filled by college grads with actual ag-related degrees, observers say.

“There’s a shortage of workers in a number of careers, and the numbers of those jobs are staggering,” said Harley Hepner, the Illinois State Board of Education’s chief consultant for ag education. “Schools that understand we can get students in the ag program know they’re going to be taxpaying citizens with good-paying jobs.”

Along with school programs, membership in FFA is up to about 580,000 — nearly double its ranks of the mid-1980s. That spike dispels the notion the national organization is merely a haven for farm kids, given that the number of U.S. farms are on a long-term downward trend, shrinking another 4 percent between 2007 and 2012, according to the latest federal figures available.

Untold numbers of FFA members have little to do with farms, as Rebecca Goodman illustrates.

In Indiana, where corn is king, the 18-year-old junior is her school’s active FFA president but could never be confused for a country girl. Goodman, who’s lived in Indianapolis since she was 3, had never been on a farm, and her experience with animals is limited to cats and dogs.

“The only thing I planted was a small garden, and the only thing that grew out of it were weeds,” she admits.

Yet Goodman aspires to be a conservation officer, crediting tiny Beech Grove schools’ fledgling agricultural sciences program with steering her that way.

Beech Grove’s Applied Life Sciences Academy, unveiled in November 2012, is billed as a place of hands-on, frequently technical exploration of live plants and animals. Educators say it makes a connection, helping students who otherwise may grapple with comprehending concepts and theories in a traditional math or science class.

“We live on the motto that 99 percent of the population doesn’t have anything to do with (farm) production,” said Chris Kaufman, a former state education department ag specialist who helped set up Beech Grove’s program.

Classes include animal science, plant and soil science, separate offerings of advanced animal and plant science, natural resources, and an introductory course. Some of the courses earn the students high school science credits.

Such offerings increasingly have cropped up in many states in recent years in the nation’s breadbasket. Seven Kansas high schools and four in Nebraska joined the fold in the past school year. Over the past three years, Missouri has added seven to bring its statewide total to 331 — up 82 from two decades ago — and Illinois added 10.

Beech Grove’s program, among 13 the state has added since 2010, has two middle school and two high school teachers for nearly 500 students, a number that helps the program pay for itself thanks to a state fund that gives districts a per-student stipend depending on the class. Those payouts range from $375 to $450 per student, accounting for what Kaufman says has funneled $180,000 into Beech Grove’s coffers.

“Beech Grove needed more electives and teachers, and this was a perfect fit that didn’t cost much,” he said. “This is about understanding the environment and the world around you as it relates to animals, plants and food, then going out with those skills to get a good career.”

It’s appeared to connect with Goodman, who remembers “kind of having a hard time with what I wanted to do with my life and was going by the book — be a nurse or something. It kind of made me boxed in, made me feel depressed.”

“Before this (program) came, I was in a dark place,” she said. “It’s helped me find my way back.”

Classmate Alicia Perez, 17, once dismissed learning about agriculture, convinced “this is gonna be for people who wanna be farmers.” Not so, she now submits.

“It’s an amazing program, really life-changing,” the 17-year-old junior said of learning about plants and food, which feed her dreams of becoming a chef. “My heart is in culinary arts, and there are so many different careers you can pursue in agriculture.

“This is definitely something you have to go into to realize it’s so much broader.”

Vineyard, winery technology at Yakima Valley Community College Thu, 15 May 2014 16:22:45 -0400 Yakima Valley Community College In September 2007 Yakima Valley Community College’s (YVCC) Agriculture Department started the Vineyard and Winery Technology Program at both its Yakima and Grandview campuses.

Through this program students obtain an Associates of Applied Science degree or a certificate in Vineyard Technology and/or Winery Technology. At the Grandview Campus is the program’s commercial Teaching Winery, Yakima Valley Vintners. In addition to this 1,400 square foot Teaching Winery, the facility includes traditional classrooms, a science laboratory, tasting room and two start-up winery incubator spaces. Some distinct advantages of the YVCC Vineyard and Winery Technology Program include:

• Industry based advisory committee;

• Evening courses that start after 5 p.m., providing for a flexible work schedule;

• Central location, with classes in Yakima and Grandview;

• Commercial Teaching Winery, with wet chemistry and analytical capabilities;

• Teaching Vineyard, consisting of three Vitis vinifera varieties: Riesling, Cabernet Franc and Lemberger; and

• Tasting room that sells award-winning student crafted wines:

Since receiving a grant from the National Science Foundation in 2010 and becoming part of the VESTA National Center of Excellence in 2011, the YVCC Vineyard and Winery Technology Program is now offering online and hybrid courses year around. Students receive hands-on training in both the vineyard and winery courses by participating in evening and/or weekend workshops on the YVCC Campuses. The offering of online and hybrid courses increases flexibility for students currently employed in the industry who want to pursue a degree or certificate in Vineyard and/or Winery Technology.

Students and graduates of the program work successfully in the Washington grape and wine industry as interns and full-time employees. Examples of careers for graduates include farm manager, vineyard technician, laboratory technician, cellar worker, assistant winemaker, tasting room attendant and manager, owners and entrepreneurs.

To receive more information about course offerings please visit, or contact Trent Ball at (509) 882-7007, Visit Yakima Valley Vintners in September 2014, mention this article and receive 10 percent off your entire purchase.

Walla Walla Community College helps fuel the future Thu, 15 May 2014 16:22:25 -0400 Walla Walla Community College Walla Walla Community College is launching an ambitious mission to fuel the future.

WWCC’s Bioenergy program is a down to earth, nuts and bolts approach where technicians and managers take vegetation sourced materials and turn them into usable, renewable bioenergy. Bioenergy is the fuel of our nation’s future.

WWCC’s new Bioenergy program will be prepare graduates to work as skilled Technicians and Operators managing operations of facilities which generate electricity, heat, transportation fuels, nutrients, soil amendments, reclaimed water, animal feed, chemicals, food and beverage products and other high-value materials.

Bioenergy job positions have an annual salary range from over $30,000 to as much as $122,000 per year. Careers include Refinery Operator, Biofuels Processing Technician, Biomass Plant Technician, Stationary Engineer/Boiler Operator, Manufacturing Production Technician, Biomass Power Plant Manager and Biofuels Technology/Product Development Manager, to name a few.

Your goal may be to go directly to work in the new industry after a 1 year certification or 2 year associate’s degree or to continue on to 4-year institutions such as the University of Washington and Oregon State University. Whatever your goals call (509) 527-3678, email or visit our website at Fuel your future.

Klamath Community College ag program grows Thu, 15 May 2014 16:22:09 -0400 Klamath Community College

JTI Supply takes care of ag Thu, 15 May 2014 16:21:55 -0400 As a youth growing up in Oregon’s Willamette Valley, Joe Richard enjoyed living the rural life. Doing chores was certainly not the highlight of his day, but spending his time and energies with his animals and the land were always rewarding. And thanks to local organizations and leaders, he learned the values of hard work and treating people right.

Today, as owner and operator of JTI Supply, Inc., giving back to FFA and 4H is special to Joe.

“It is rewarding to return some of JTI Supply’s success to the organizations that are developing our young farmers and ranchers. The kids are so great to work with. They work so hard, and they are so polite and respectful. Our agriculture industry will be in good hands,” said Richard.

JTI Supply, Inc., is a primary supplier of storage tanks for agricultural, industrial and residential purposes. JTI Supply, Inc., has a tremendous range of sizes in polyethylene and plastic tanks, steel and chemical tanks, on-site septic tanks and rain barrels. And with extensive product knowledge and commitment to serving their customers, you will be assured of the having the right tank for your needs.

You know you are getting the best tanks, sprayers and parts because JTI Supply, Inc., carries only the industry’s most reliable makers — Snyder Industries tank systems, Norwesco molded poly tanks, Den Hartog Industries plastics and metals, PBM custom equipment, Banjo Corp. glass reinforced poly tanks, TeeJet Technologies application products, Hypro spray pumps and many others.

JTI Supply, Inc., is at 34020 Holiday St., Albany, Ore., easy to locate on Highway 34, about a half-mile west of the railroad tracks. You can reach Joe toll-free at 1-800-982-1099, 541-928-2937, or email You can also check out their entire product line on their website,

How to reduce the cost of college Thu, 15 May 2014 16:21:20 -0400 U.S. Department of Education Here are some suggestions on how you might be able to lower the cost of college. For many of these suggestions, you’ll want to follow up with the colleges or career schools you are interested in to get additional details.

• Set a budget and stick to it. Having a budget will help you compare anticipated college or career school expenses against your potential available income and financial aid. You also can use a budget to compare costs between different schools. Learn about budgeting.

• College or career school costs can vary significantly and there are many schools with affordable tuition and generous financial assistance. Make sure to research all schools that may meet your academic and financial needs.

• You may be able to get school credit based on your knowledge or life experiences, and you can manage your course work to reduce costs.

• Ask your school whether it’s possible to “test out of” any classes. If you don’t take a class, you may not have to pay for the credits.

• Some colleges give credit for life experiences, thereby reducing the number of credits needed for graduation.

• Most schools charge a set price for a specific number of credits taken in a semester. If academically possible, take the maximum number of credits allowed. This strategy reduces the amount of time needed to graduate.

• Some schools offer combined degree programs or three-year programs that allow you to take all of the courses needed for graduation in three years, instead of four, thereby eliminating one year’s educational expenses.

• Colleges and career schools may offer discounts on tuition if you are a child of an alumnus, more than one family member is enrolled at the school, you are a student government leader or the editor of the college newspaper or yearbook, you are an older student, your family’s main wage earner is unemployed or you or a member of your family works at the school.

Here are some tips for reducing your housing costs:

• If you go to a college or career school near home, consider living with your parents or other family.

• If you live off-campus, consider sharing a house or apartment with multiple housemates to cut down the cost of rent, and carpool to save on gas and parking.

• Most colleges and universities sponsor resident advisor programs that offer reduced tuition or reduced room and board costs if you work in a residence hall.

You can also work part-time to pay part of your costs. Be sure your work and school schedules don’t conflict and that you have enough time for studying. Here are a couple of options:

• The Federal Work-Study Program provides an opportunity to earn money while going to school. Ask schools if they participate in the program.

• Cooperative education programs allow students to alternate between working full-time and studying full-time.

• Most schools have placement offices that help students find employment and personnel offices that hire students to work on campus.

Have a plan for applying to college Thu, 15 May 2014 16:21:03 -0400 U.S. Department of Education Applying to college, career school or graduate school means more than just filling out forms. For a successful college application, you first need to understand each school’s admission requirements, gather information, meet deadlines and pay any necessary fees.

Plus, each school has different application requirements and deadlines, so it’s important to get organized.

While the application process may seem a little overwhelming, you can use the following information to get ready and figure out your next steps.

There’s no magic number when it comes to how many school applications you submit. One isn’t enough, because that school might not admit you. More than 10 might be too many because applications take a lot of work and you need to do a great job on each one. Also, most schools have application fees, so costs can add up. Many schools waive fees for low-income students.

The bottom line: Applying to a few schools that really interest you is better than applying to as many as you can.

Every college has its own application requirements. Different programs within the same school may even request different items. Learn exactly what a school requires by visiting its website or checking with its admissions office.

Start preparing well before the application deadline and make sure to check and double-check everything before you submit it.

Many U.S. colleges require undergraduate and graduate students to submit standardized test scores as part of their application packages. Learn more about taking required tests.

Careful planning will help make the college application process less stressful. To help you out, we’ve developed several college preparation checklists. They are online at The checklists are for students (of all ages) who are considering college or career school. We also have information for parents. Even if you are getting a late start, we have a checklist for you.

Remember: The financial aid application process is separate from the admissions application process. The financial aid process includes the essential step of completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to apply for federal student aid. You also should consider applying for scholarships and other types of aid.

If you are confident that you are academically prepared and want to get into a particular school, you might want to consider early application programs for undergraduate admissions. When you apply early to a school, you’re speeding up the entire application process. Instead of submitting your application in November or later in your senior year, you usually need to begin the application process in September.

Applying early can sometimes give you an advantage. At some schools, a higher percentage of early applicants are accepted. And if you do get early acceptance, you can skip a couple of months of stress and uncertainty. You also can get a head start preparing for your freshman year.

While procedures at individual colleges may vary, the two most common procedures are early decision and early action. Some schools have both procedures. Another option is called dual enrollment.

If you have a particular school in mind that is your “first choice,” early decision might work well. If you are accepted under early decision, you must attend that school, unless its financial aid package is too low for you to attend. (If you’re not sure whether the school’s financial aid offer will be enough, make sure to submit applications to other schools.) Usually, you can apply to only one school for early decision. You can still apply to other schools at their regular application deadlines.

Early action is similar to early decision, but you aren’t “locked in” to attending a school that accepts you. Some schools allow you to apply for early action at other schools at the same time, but some don’t. Know the rules. In addition, under early action, you can still apply to other schools at their regular application deadlines. Keep in mind that there is less incentive for an early action college to accept you because you aren’t committing to attend the school.

A third option, dual enrollment, is typically for high school juniors who have most of the credits needed for graduation. If this applies to you, then you may want to consider taking college-level courses during your senior year. Then you could continue your college education at that college after you graduate from high school, or you could transfer the credits to another college. Work with your high school guidance counselor to see if this would be a good option for you.

Application tips Thu, 15 May 2014 16:20:45 -0400 Here are some tips for completing college or career school applications:

• Keep it real. Don’t exaggerate accomplishments or claim things that aren’t true.

• Give letter-writers time. If you are asking teachers, coaches, or counselors for letters of recommendation, ask several weeks before the letters are due.

• Beat the deadline. Reduce the chance your application will get lost in the shuffle: Submit it well before the deadline.

• Apply online. It’s easier and faster.

• Emphasize your uniqueness. Colleges like to have students with different viewpoints, backgrounds and experiences. If you can add to that mix, let them know.

• Keep it clean online. Don’t have anything on your social media pages that you wouldn’t want a college admissions officer to see.

• Submit one application for many schools. Some colleges and universities share common online applications. Once you complete the application for one school, you can submit copies of it to other schools. It saves a lot of time.

• Protect your hard work by keeping complete copies of everything you send to each school.

— U.S. Department of Education

How to choose the right college for you Thu, 15 May 2014 16:19:44 -0400 U.S. Department of Education While getting the right education and training will help a student get a better-paying job, going to college or career school is a big investment in time, money and effort. Students should make sure to take the time and research their options, according to the U.S. Department of Education.

There is a wide array of schools available for higher education. Options include two- and four-year colleges and universities, vocational, trade and career schools, online schools and graduate schools.

Remember that financial assistance programs and requirements can vary from school to school. Plus, not all colleges and career schools participate in the federal student aid programs. Always check with your school to find out what financial aid is available there.

Understanding your career goals and options — and their earning potential — will help you find a college or career school that meets your needs. The U.S. Department of Labor’s career search tool online at will help you match your skills and interests with potential careers.

You can use the U.S. Department of Education’s college search tool online at to find colleges and career schools that may fit your needs. You can search for schools by location, degrees offered, programs/majors, tuition and fees, setting, size and much more. The search results for each school will give you a wide range of information, such as:

• General school information;

• Tuition, fees and estimated student expenses;

• Types of financial aid provided;

• Net price;

• Enrollment;

• Admissions requirements;

• Retention and graduation rates;

• Accreditation;

• Campus security statistics; and

• Default rates for students with student loans.

College Navigator allows you to compare schools, save your session and export your results into a spreadsheet.

Choosing the right school involves a variety of factors including your interests, career goals and financial situation, as well as the school’s cost, size and location and admissions requirements.

College fairs give you the chance to talk to representatives from multiple colleges and career schools. You can learn about various schools, and their representatives will answer your questions. If you’re in high school, ask your school counselor about college fairs in your area. You can also go online to find the National Association for College Admission Counseling college fairs or National Scholarship Service college fairs.

To help you narrow down your college or career school options, try the following:

• Check out the school’s website. Lots of colleges and career schools now offer virtual tours, so you can still “see” the campus, even if you can’t visit in person. You also can get information about programs and classes offered at the school, find out if the school participates in federal financial aid and learn about campus life.

• A great way to get a feel for a school is to contact the school and schedule a visit, preferably while classes are in session. Make sure you’re comfortable with the facilities, equipment, teachers and students. Be sure to bring a list of questions to ask.

• Talk with students who currently attend or have attended the school you’re considering to get their opinion of the school. If you are visiting a school in person, ask the campus tour coordinator if you can talk with students who are currently attending the school. If you can’t visit the school in person, contact the admissions office staff to see if they can connect you with current students or alumni.

• If you’re in high school, ask your school counselor what information he or she has about the schools that interest you.