Ag college is far from remote

Nebraska College of Technical Agriculture
Six Aggie students completed their final “exam” over the weekend by riding a colt they trained in the college class. From left, CJ Monheiser, Nathan Burnett, Addy Villwork, instructor Steven Mueller, and Lillyanne Lewis. Not shown are Rose Siebenaler and Abby Andersen. (Photo by Joanna Hergenreder)
April 7, 2020

Lincoln, Neb. —NCTA Dean’s Message

It’s truly been an eventful week in Curtis!

Our Aggie students are making a fine transition to taking their classes off-campus through “remote” learning, online through the internet.

Technology tossed in a few glitches in our first full week of the new learning format.

But, for the most part, all were back in the saddle, literally and figuratively in a few days’ time.

Six students in the Colt Starting class arrived Saturday and Sunday mornings to incredible weather and sunshine at the outdoor arena at Mill Park, owned by the City of Curtis. Each was able to get in the three required rides in front of their instructor, Stephen Mueller, to complete the course requirements.

This turned out to be exactly what we all needed – fresh air and opportunity to physically distance each other for health and safety during this period of the coronavirus pandemic.

We appreciate the partnership that the Nebraska College of Technical Agriculture has with city officials for use of facilities such as the Community Center, Gun Club range near the airport, and Mill Park.

Graduation is online May 7

We’ve been able to go on with our intended date for the NCTA graduation ceremony on Thursday, May 7. Although we are unable to physically gather at this time for the ceremony, we intend to schedule a celebration reception and distribution of regalia, diplomas and other memorabilia in August.

Information was sent to our NCTA students late last week, and also is available at: htps://

Campus services continue

Foodservice is available for the public and campus community through Chandie’s Castle, which is located in the Student Activities Center also known as The Barn.

Cindy Fritsche, food services manager, said due to health and safety concerns for customers, the Castle is closed to walk-in traffic. Orders are placed and distributed for carry-out through window service at the north patio. Food and beverages can be ordered in advance by calling 308-367-5256.

Some faculty and staff continue to work in their offices during business hours, or in the evenings, to ensure physical distancing. The NCTA Student Services Center staff are available by e-mail and telephone for all of the regular student-related business concerns from housing and counseling, to admissions, financial aid and questions about enrolling for the fall semester. Those resources can be found at

NCTA links to FFA

We know students in FFA were disappointed that they could not experience the 2020 State FFA Convention last week in Lincoln. Our Aggie relationship to FFA students in high school continues with the Collegiate FFA club.

All Nebraska FFA chapters and many in surrounding states have recently received a mailing from the Student Services enrollment team at NCTA. We continue to engage and inform the high schools about NCTA’s academic programs, and we are enrolling students now for the fall semester.

Online speech contests

Agriculture Education Professor Doug Smith has coordinated some exciting opportunities for FFA students to share their public speaking skills. In conjunction with Nebraska high school FFA advisors, Dr. Smith and NCTA will be hosting three dates for online contests.

April 22 - FFA Creed; April 23- Junior and Senior Public Speaking; April 24 - Cooperative and Natural Resources Speaking.  FFA students should register through their chapter advisors by Friday, April 10 at 5 p.m. CT.

The contests will follow the rules established by Nebraska FFA, with prizes given from NCTA to the top five students in each contest. This is a practice contest,” Smith says. “It is in no way taking the place of Nebraska State FFA LDE Contest.”

Our intention is to give these hard-working FFA students an opportunity to give their speeches through a Zoom platform. We are proud of FFA in Nebraska and want to support FFA students and their families!

By Interim Dean Kelly Bruns, Ph.D.

NCTA is devoted to a statewide mission of preparing students for successful careers in agriculture, veterinary technology, and related industries. The college provides open access to innovative technical education resulting in associate degrees, certificates, and other credentials.

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