Farmers Pride Supports Northeast Community College Ag Project

Farmer’s Pride 2020 Board of Directors: Front row (l-r): Greg Kumm, Travis Gutz, Dennis Kuchar, Derek Zohner. Back row (l-r): Chad Fehringer, Gerry Krueger, Randy Nelson, Scott Lyon, Tim Spatz. Not pictured: Craig Unkel. (Courtesy Photo)

BATTLE CREEK, Neb. – A farm cooperative that serves customers in a 30-county region of northeast Nebraska has pledged its support to the improvements in agriculture facilities currently underway at Northeast Community College in Norfolk.

Farmers Pride, headquartered in Battle Creek, has pledged $50,000 to the Nexus project at Northeast to build a new veterinary technology clinic and classroom building and other facilities on the Acklie Family College Farm.

“Many of our employees and customers have graduated from Northeast,” said Farmers Pride General Manager Dean Thernes. “Having young people trained in the technology and science needed to farm successfully is vital to the success of our co-op.”

Farmers Pride started more than 90 years ago as the Battle Creek creamery cooperative. Today, the company has 125 employees providing service to approximately 9,500 customers in five core areas: grain, feed, agronomy, energy, and transportation. In addition to Battle Creek, Farmers Pride has facilities in O’Neill, Ewing, Neligh/Oakdale, Plainview, Bloomfield, Osmond, Pierce, Laurel, Madison, Newman Grove, Snyder and Oakland.

“Farmers Pride continues to invest in people, facilities, equipment and technology at each of our company locations to ensure we are able to meet the changing needs of our patrons,” Thernes explained. “This commitment to ag education at Northeast is a continuation of that investment.”

“Farmers Pride has been an excellent partner of the Northeast ag department,” said Dr. Tracy Kruse, vice president of development and external affairs and executive director of the Northeast Foundation. “They have been a field partner, working with staff and students on forage projects. In addition, Farmers Pride provides expertise to our students, offers internships to them, and hires many Northeast graduates.”

The new ag facilities currently under construction near the Chuck M. Pohlman Ag Complex, 2301 E. Benjamin Ave., will replace a 100-year-old repurposed dairy barn. Buildings include a veterinary technology clinic and classroom, a farm operations and large animal handling facility, commodity storage and a shelter for small livestock. The project also includes a new feedlot and lagoon. The vet tech building is located west of the Pohlman Complex, while the other structures are located north of the complex.

Construction on the project began in April 2020 and is expected to be completed by fall 2021. Progress can be viewed in real time at northeast.edu/webcams.

The funding for the agriculture facilities will come from the College’s commitment of $10 million, as well as external fundraising to fill the gap. With a total project cost of $22.3 million, the College has raised enough funds for construction; however, fundraising for the Nexus campaign continues, as more is needed for equipment, technology and furnishings.

In August 2019, the Acklie Charitable Foundation (ACF) announced a $5 million lead gift to the Nexus project. ACF was founded by the late Duane Acklie and Phyllis Acklie, both Madison County natives and graduates of Norfolk Junior College, a predecessor institution of Northeast Community College.

For more information on the Nexus Campaign, contact Kruse, at tracyk@northeast.edu, or call (402) 844-7056. Online donations may be made through agwaternexus.com. Checks may also be mailed to Nexus Campaign, Northeast Community College Foundation, P.O. Box 469, Norfolk, NE 68702-0469.