Grace College in Kosciusko County announced it will begin an agriculture degree program this fall. This is the latest in a string of new agriculture programs being offered in the state by non-land-grant colleges. Dr. Jeff Fawcett, head of the Grace School of Business, where the ag program will be housed, says they worked with local ag leaders to develop the program, “We did not realize there was so much going on in agriculture in Kosciusko County. So we got really excited about this and said these are all great places where students can learn.” He noted the Kosciusko County Farm Bureau was especially helpful in developing a curriculum that provided practical skills which students can take back to their farming operations in the area.
The focus of the curriculum will not be production agriculture but management, “We have no desire to compete with Purdue or Ohio State or other land-grant schools,” said Fawcett. “A lot of our students will be coming from small family farms and will already have production skills. What they don’t know is how to keep the books, do the marketing, or do the business management, and that is where we fit in.”
The program will stress practical experience by requiring students to work on a farm or agribusiness. “During an entire production season, so they just don’t get piece of the operation but experience the entire growing season,” noted Fawcett. “It’s also geared to prepare students for an agriculture business career in jobs such as provider, processor, and marketer.” The program will begin this fall with an expected 10 students enrolled.
“We’ve long realized the importance and prominence of agriculture in our county and state; this degree program is our response. We want to prepare the next generation of farm CEOs, CFOs, and independent farmers to amply feed of our state, nation, and world from right here in Kosciusko County,” said Grace College President Bill Katip. The program’s associate degree track will consist of 60 credit hours, with the bachelor degree track taking 120 credit hours to complete. The internships will total seven months as well. Some of the new agribusiness classes being offered include Agricultural Economics, Ag & Commodity Marketing, and Sustaining the Family Business.