Cultivating new frontiers in Ag

Blackhawk Technical College is expanding its agricultural program starting next fall by offering interested students the opportunity to earn an associate degree in Agribusiness Science and Technology at its Monroe Campus.

The Agribusiness Science and Technology (AST) program is a natural progression from the current one-year Agribusiness Specialist program, which offers a technical diploma.

“Expanding our Agribusiness program is going to provide our students a greater opportunity to work in one of Wisconsin’s largest industries,” said Dustin Williams, BTC’s agribusiness instructor. “This new program will further support this important workforce.”

AST is programmed to give students the opportunity to merge business and science skills needed to run their own agribusiness operation or assist other agricultural producers become more profitable. It also is intended to expand employment opportunities for successful students in a wide variety of agricultural fields in Wisconsin.

Agriculture generates more than $88 billion to the Wisconsin economy each year and employs more than 400,000 workers.

Registration for the new program begins the week of April 25.

The first year of the program mirrors the current Agribusiness Specialist program in which 25 of 35 credits are devoted to agricultural subjects such as sustainability, emerging technologies, soil and nutrient management, agribusiness and animal science.

In the second year, students will enhance their agricultural studies with nine credits in crop management, livestock nutrition and agriculture technologies. Students also will participate in a three-credit agribusiness internship.

Students will receive training leading to a commercial driver’s license and commercial pesticide applicator’s certification, which are documents required in many agricultural careers. The commercial pesticide applicator exam is administered at BTC in the Pest Management course.

Students will add business oriented courses in each of the second-year semesters that cover marketing and sales principles, and economics that will allow students to apply economic and marketing strategies to an agribusiness related industry as well as develop livestock management, crop management, and agribusiness plans.