Administrators from Mississippi State University and the Nebraska College of Technical Agriculture signed a cooperative agreement Feb. 7 designed to train workforce entrants for Nebraska’s burgeoning poultry industry.
The newly developed program includes three semesters in Nebraska and a semester in Mississippi State University’s College of Agriculture & Life Sciences. Upon completion of the program, students will earn an associate of applied science in animal science degree from the Nebraska College of Technical Agriculture, with a concentration in poultry science.
There are currently no academic undergraduate poultry science degree programs in Nebraska, the announcement pointed out. Mississippi State’s program is one of only six nationally that offers undergraduate and graduate degrees in the discipline.
Ron Rosati, dean of the Nebraska two-year college, chose to partner with Mississippi State's department of poultry science because of its reputation for training leaders in agriculture, the announcement said.
“The quality of the teaching, research and extension programs in poultry science at Mississippi State are well known throughout the country,” Rosati said. “The (Mississippi State) program offers hands-on learning in facilities that are similar to those found in a commercial setting. This partnership will give our students the tools they need to succeed in Nebraska’s growing poultry industry.”
Nebraska currently produces about 1 million broilers per year. At full operation, the industry expects that expansion will enable production of more than 100 million broilers per year. In Mississippi, poultry is the number-one commodity, with more than 746 billion broilers produced in 2017 across 1,430 farms.
Mississippi State poultry science department head Mary Beck spent 25 years as a faculty member at the University of Nebraska prior to taking the helm at Mississippi State. Her relationship with Nebraska College of Technical Agriculture -- a campus in the University of Nebraska system -- helped facilitate the agreement.
“It is exciting to be able to partner with a college in Nebraska to help train the state’s workforce in poultry and expand agriculture in a place where I spent much of my career,” Beck said. “This is a unique partnership that should be mutually beneficial to our two institutions and states.”
Upon completion of the associate’s degree, students can enter the workforce in management positions throughout the poultry industry. Students also have the option to further their education at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln animal science department or in Mississippi State’s poultry science department.
Judy Bonner, Mississippi State provost and executive vice president, spoke to the benefits of the unique partnership. “We have developed a number of innovative partnerships with Mississippi community colleges and are excited to partner with the state of Nebraska to help students earn a degree and enter the workforce as leaders in the industry there,” Bonner said.
Information on the new program, which is slated to begin in the fall of 2018, may be found at https://ncta.unl.edu/poultry-program.