Tech Tilling: Streamlining career pathways in ag

By Nick Schneider
Fox Valley Technical College
Welding and health care now use robotics, diesel training uses virtual reality and the aviation industry looks to simulation technology to attract a new generation of pilots. Yes, innovation today applies to agriculture as well with the use of drones and GPS-programmed technologies. Farming, however, is also returning to its simple roots to make the sector more appealing.
Enter Fox Valley Technical College (FVTC) — one of the state’s originators of agriculture training, spanning more than 70 years. It’s no stranger to technology, thanks to two newer innovations in bovine birth and combine simulation as well as a longstanding partnership with Case IH/Service Motor Company. That said, for the fall 2018-19 academic year, FVTC has its sights set on simpler and clearer pathways for students in the form of a little restructuring.

The college’s successful Farm Operations technical diploma program is changing from a six-semester offering to four semesters beginning this fall to streamline faster career attainment.
In addition, the program will become more personalized for students by providing them with certain areas of emphasis during their studies. These include herd management, crop scouting, equipment management and maintenance, data assessment and more.
On the associate degree front at FVTC, the Agribusiness, Science, and Technology program now includes an embedded technical diploma in Agribusiness Management for students with formal leadership aspirations.
In order to address other specific interests largely driven through feedback from our employee advisory committees, two other embedded degree options exist as well in new programs this fall.
The Agribusiness, Science, and Technology—Animal Science offering is sure to draw farm animal enthusiasts to the Service Motor Company Agriculture Center in Appleton. That program consists of an embedded technical diploma option by way of the Agribusiness Dairy Technician offering. The other new associate degree in agriculture at FVTC is Agribusiness, Science, and Technology—Agronomy. Here, the Agribusiness Agronomy technical diploma serves as an embedded add-on for this study.
Essentially, with associate degrees in agribusiness from FVTC, students can now more easily double-major to fit their interests. Kudos to our faculty, support staff and instructional leaders at the college for their vision and support of these retooled educational pathways. They promise to best serve the needs of both our students and industry partners.
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Nick Schneider is an agriculture instructor at FVTC in Appleton, Wis.