2017 Scholarship Recipients
NICCA Awards Scholarships to Four Students
The Nebraska Independent Crop Consultant Association (NICCA) annually awards scholarships to qualifying students that have worked for NICCA members as Summer Interns. The Membership of NICCA approved a motion to award a $400.00 scholarship to each of the following students:
Mike Breight (University of Nebraska – Kearney)
NICCA Member Employer: Stephen Breight
Ty Hadwiger (University of Nebraska – Lincoln)
NICCA Member Employer: Mark Kottmeyer
Bryce E. James (University of Nebraska – Lincoln)
NICCA Member Employer: Mark Kottmeyer
Jack Spilker (University of Nebraska – Lincoln)
NICCA Member Employer: Bill Dunavan
Special thanks goes to Regan Kucera for putting together the Annual Meeting in Norfolk, Nebraska. Plus thanks to all the Friends of NICCA for all their continued support. If you are a NICCA member please click the following link and request to join the NICCA Facebook group. There you can find more information and photos and you can also interact with your NICCA colleagues.
Thanks also go out to outgoing officers Tim Hodge (President), James Geis (Executive Board), Mark Debban (Executive Board) and Dustin Rohde (Executive Board) for their service to the association in 2017. NICCA would also like to extend it's appreciation to the members who served on committees in 2017.
To see the new officers and committee chairmen check out the 2018 election results on the officers page.
NICCA members can now use online forms to update their contact information and register for meetings. Prospective members, member companies and students can now apply for new member applications, Friends of NICCA applications and NICCA scholarships.
New member application
Friends of NICCA Application
Scholarship application form (being updated)
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Agriculture Schools Spruce Up Their Image
Agriculture schools in California and throughout the nation are hoping fresh slogans will cultivate interest among high school graduates who don’t know wheat from Wheaties.
The same universities that a generation ago churned out legions of agriculture professionals today largely struggle to woo students. And many students who are studying agriculture are clamoring for cheese class and wine-making seminars, shunning traditional fields such as soil science and crop production. Even the Midwestern states have felt the pinch.
Many schools are wrestling with declining enrollment, as a large portion of the agricultural work force is nearing retirement.
In California, one-third of the public and private plant doctors who monitor the health of the state’s $32-billion agriculture industry will retire in 10 years or less. One-third of the state’s county agricultural commissioners, whose inspections help keep out voracious foreign pests like the Mediterranean fruit fly, will retire in the next five years. Yet enrollment in horticulture programs at the state’s top agriculture schools has dropped as much as 40 percent in the last five years.
“Behind every farmer in the field, there’s a whole line of merchants and scientists that support that farmer,” said Fred Roth , a professor of plant pathology at California State Polytechnic University , Pomona. “But we’re aging out, and there isn’t a group of people coming up to take our places.”
The looming work force gap has industry experts and agriculture school officials hiring marketing companies to spruce up their image. It’s a tall order: How do you make farming hip?
University administrators peg the problem to agriculture’s outdated “cows and plows” public image. Urbanization of many of California’s historic farming plains has decimated the ranks of high school graduates exposed to horticulture or husbandry.
Many colleges have changed their names to broaden their appeal, de-emphasizing agriculture and tacking on terms such as “environmental sciences” or “natural resources.”
In June, Iowa State University officials broke with nearly 50 years of tradition and added “life sciences” to their agriculture school’s name -a move designed to attract more students after enrollment dipped from 2,807 students in 2001 to 2,448 students in 2005.
Even the flagship organization of youth in agriculture, the Future Farmers of America, dropped the word “farmers” in 1988 , preferring instead to be known as the National FFA Organization. Other universities have hired marketing companies to boost their profiles.
Purdue University in Indiana spent $60,000 in 2003 on slick mailers and recruiting visits to high schools to show prospective applicants the range of job opportunities available to agriculture majors.
At Cal Poly Pomona, a 20 percent decline in plant sciences majors over the last five years spurred administrators earlier this year to hire a marketing company to give the agriculture school an image makeover.
A glossy mock-up advertisement poster dares students to “Get a Job as a Superhero,” fighting a fierce crop-destroying black bug, or “Delve Into DNA” to breed world-class Arabian horses.
Even U.S. Department of Agriculture boosters are reaching for catchy slogans. At local fairs, volunteers hand out bright red book covers with cows wearing sunglasses under the words “Agricultural Research is UDDERLY Awesome.”
About 47 percent of the agency’s work force is over 50 years old, said Gilbert Smith , deputy assistant secretary for departmental administration at the USDA.
At a recent career night at Cal Poly Pomona, a dozen recruiters competed for the attention of about 30 students, offering jobs, internships and scholarships.
“It’s sad standing there and only having one potential job candidate in the room, when I’m looking for at least three or four people,” said Bert Lopez, a recruiter for Univar USA , a large fertilizer and pesticide distributor.
In California, an entry-level county agricultural inspector makes $32,000 annually. But with at least two years of extra study, they could become certified as senior inspectors and earn $70,000, said Earl McPhail , president of the California Agricultural Commissioners and Sealers Association .
When Patrick Dosier, 22, tells friends back home in Placentia, Calif ., that he’s majoring in agronomy at Cal Poly Pomona, they assume he wants to be a gardener. But Dosier plans to become a crop adviser and help growers find more efficient ways to use their water and their land.
“I think you get to enjoy plants more when you eat them,” said Dosier, who helps run the student farm at the university. “I do farmers markets too, and it’s fun to pitch people on the food.”
He likes working with his hands and being outdoors. After watching his father and grandfather’s circuit manufacturing company lose business to China, Dosier chose an industry that won’t get outsourced -he hopes -any time soon.
Some say the industry needs to enlist Hollywood’s help -perhaps a crime show with detectives hot on the trail of hoof-and-mouth disease or E. coli.
Others think the state’s agriculture colleges need to cooperate on television commercials like the California Milk Advisory Board’s “Happy Cows” campaign promoting California cheese.
At the University of California , Riverside, professors try to draw in students by talking about how insects have shaped human history as disease carriers. The teachers humanize plant diseases by showing students that insects attack trees and vines in the same way salmonella harms people. Educators and agricultural experts estimate that the industry has five years to turn the tide.
Still, the work seems to draw a certain kind of soul.
Bob Gaddie, a 62-year-old Bakersfield, Calif ., plant doctor, is the third generation and last of his family to work in agriculture. His grandfather owned citrus groves in Corona, Calif ., and his father was a ranch foreman.
Gaddie is a consultant, hired by farmers to be their first line of defense against wily menaces like spotted spider mites, which suck the moisture out of leaves and strip a grape vine bare within weeks.
He monitors 7,000 acres of almonds, pistachios, grapes and citrus for a dozen growers. He wakes up at 4:30 a.m. six days a week and is walking in the fields at sunrise .
On a recent Wednesday morning, Gaddie stopped his blue Ford pickup outside a grove of almond trees and ambled down a row, ducking low-hanging branches heavy with nuts. He wore jeans, a starched blue shirt with long sleeves and a pair of well-worn, dusty brown cowboy boots. He snapped a leaf off the tree and searched it for bugs with a magnifying lens that hung by a string around his neck. He repeats the same exercise 10 times in each field he visits, using an index card to track the number and kinds of bugs he sees.
Gaddie knows that the industry is headed for a rough spot. Most of his colleagues will probably retire in the next decade and he plans to retires in two or three years, leaving farmers he works with hard-pressed to find a replacement. “There are plenty of opportunities, but kids just are not into it,” Gaddie said. “It’s not a glitzy profession.”
Friends Of NICCA
Established in 2003, the Friends of NICCA program was designed to provide ongoing financial support for the association by allowing Nebraska Independent Crop Consultant Association commercial members to support the organization with an annual financial sponsorship. Prior to the implementation of the Friends program, commercial members were routinely asked to sponsor various aspects of the association's activities including meals at conventions, conference speakers, social event activities and more. Many commercial members felt this process was burdensome and hard to budget for on a regular basis. The Friends program was created with the understanding that NICCA commercial members would make an annual sponsorship to NICCA and not be asked to support the organization for other activities. The program has been very well received.
To see a list of our current Friends of NICCA visit the Friends of NICCA page.
If you are interested in becoming a friend of NICCA please download the application here and mail it to NICCA, PO BOX 412, Kearney NE 68848-0412
Your Friends of NICCA Sponsorship…..
Is a minimum of $500 annually, but your annual commitment is based on the value you place on NICCA to your business operation. Many commercial members have sponsorships exceeding $500 annually with upwards to $1,500.
As a regular “Friend of NICCA” your business will receive:
One 8' x 10' exhibit space at the association's December annual meeting
One registration for the association's December annual meeting
One 8'x 10' exhibit space at the association's spring meeting
One registration for the association's spring meeting
One registration for the association's Fall Roundtable.
Recognition at all NICCA events with your business logo placed on a large sign displayed prominently at all events
Additional recognition through regular announcements at NICCA events
Recognition in the NICCA roster
Recognition on the NICCA website
A Friend of NICCA sponsorship does not include annual association membership dues.
If you are a member of NICCA and would like an Excel file containing contact information of the NICCA membership please drop an email to [email protected] and we will send that out to you. Please specify which membership categories you would like to have sent to you. For more information on the membership categories go to our Profile page. You can create mailing labels or mail merge a business letter with this data.
The National Alliance of Independent Crop Consultants, NAICC is a strong force at the national level, actively being sought by the EPA, USDA, and various agricultural industry and commodity organizations. NAICC has achieved this important status at the national level because of the enormous personal sacrifice and foresight of many people, and by the support of a dedicated staff all of whom made our association stronger, our profession brighter, and our lives better. Please take this opportunity to join right away and participate actively in the national affairs enabling a better future for our crop consultant profession.
To apply follow this link. How To Join
The Nebraska Independent Crop Consultant Association, NICCA is being viewed among the nation's consultants as very progressive and forward looking. We are the only state association in the nation with a certification program of its own. Nebraska will also have the distinction of being the first state to send both president and president-elect to the NAICC annual meeting in order to give them an exposure to the national issues, allow them to network with other consultants and to help improve their leadership qualities.
Nebraska Independent Crop Consultant Association
PO BOX 412
KEARNEY NE 68848-0412