Parkland’s Agricultural Program helps to keep Illinois running
Published: Tuesday, November 8, 2011
Updated: Wednesday, November 9, 2011 12:11
With all the different programs offered at Parkland, it's easy to find one that fits your needs. Several choices are offered by the Business and Agri-Industries department, which features many beneficial courses and student groups to prepare students for jobs in the agriculture industry.
Parkland's agriculture programs feature hands-on instruction in a 42-acre land laboratory, a greenhouse, and modern classroom space in the Tony Noel Ag Technology Applications Center, according to the Parkland Business and Agri-Industries website.
The Program is split into two major areas, which are the transfer degree and two year/career degree programs. In the transfer degree program, a student takes more general education courses, supplemented with four or five agriculture specific classes. In the two year program, the reverse is true. Students take approximately five general education courses and focus the rest of their time on agriculture specific subjects. The Agriculture Program includes the Horticulture and the Equine Management programs as well.
Horticulture is "the art of practicing garden cultivation and management," according to Google Dictionary. Parkland's program covers the basics of horticulture with the landscape design certificate, while the floral design certificate program offers training in fresh and dried flowers, as well as many other specifics.
The Equine Management program covers the management, care and training of horses. Parkland works with many local stable owners who assist the instructors and offer hands-on learning of practical skills in a genuine equine business environment.
Parkland also has its very own Equestrian Team, led by coach Tracy Rexroad. The team has participated in a variety of events throughout the past few years such as the "Parade of Lights" in Champaign in which they displayed horses decorated with lights and ribbons. They also participated last year in the consignment tack sale, hosted by the Champaign County Farm Bureau and will do so again this year. They also provide pony or horse rides to assist fundraisers.
Bruce Henrikson, Business and Agri-Industries department chair, explained benefits of the Business and Agri-Industries program. "We still have a fairly significant part of our district that is, in fact, agriculture oriented," he said. "What we like to think we are doing, is serving the ag community by helping prepare potential employees for ag industries," he continued. He also mentioned that the department tries to get agriculture students involved in the Agriculture Club as well, which provides numerous leadership opportunities.
The program has participated in many events over the past few years. On Sept. 17, a benefit was organized to help cover one student's medical costs after a severe accident. There are also two state officers who are attending a fall conference competition. "As for the ag faculty, one of the things we also do as a part of community service but also as part of the ag industry is that we will host a number of competitions for the high school Agriculture Programs. Specifically the Future Farmers of America," Henrikson said.
There are also several student groups which exist for those interested in Agriculture, including the Agriculture Club and the Illinois Postsecondary Agriculture Student Organization. Some Equine students are involved in the Equestrian team, and several students are involved in P.L.A.N.E.T., the Professional Land Care Network, which hosts both state and national competition annually. Many landscape and other students also helped to build a healing garden at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee during the alternative spring break this past March.
Students entering Parkland unsure about their major might consider the Business and Agri-Industries Program. This program offers an abundance of classes and a number of student groups. The three different areas of study present several opportunities to find an enjoyable and rewarding life long career.