NICC breaks ground on new Beef Science Technology Building

As the beef industry in Iowa continues to expand its share of the state’s economy, Northeast Iowa Community College (NICC) is committed to the vitality of the cattle industry through excellence in postsecondary agriculture education and by developing state-of-the-art facilities.
In September, NICC began preparing a site for the new Beef Science Technology Building at the Calmar campus. The $1.2 million facility, which will be located just north of Iowa’s Dairy Center, replaces an aging building. The new 13,750 sq. ft. mono slope beef shelter will be used primarily by Beef Science Technology program students, as well as students enrolled in all of the college’s ag programs, including Large Animal Veterinary Technician, Agriculture Business and Dairy Science.
The building’s development is a collaborative effort of the college and the Beef Science Technology Advisory Board, and the completed facility will make a tremendous impact on the education, training and career preparedness for students, according to Nate Gebel, NICC agriculture management instructor and advisory board chair.
“One of the greatest benefits of this remarkable facility is that all students enrolled in ag education programs at NICC will benefit,” Gebel expressed. “The students will work with the cattle in a hands-on setting that is a safe and environmentally-sound area for cattle and students.”
Features of the Beef Science Technology Building include six state-of-the-art housing units that hold a combined 100 mature cattle; a cattle chute for individual care of animals, such as physical examinations, A.I. work with heifers, vaccinations and antibiotic treatment, surgeries and branding; and a welcoming center/observation room adjacent to the working facility for producers and consumers to see the dynamics of the beef cattle industry and view demonstrations.
Garth W. Griffin, a cattle farmer and leader in agriculture who farms in rural New Hampton, is a member of the advisory board who assisted in the planning and design of this new facility on campus that will educate local students, producers and consumers. “Young people need to know where their groceries are coming from. Unfortunately, lots of people are not exposed to how agriculture really functions in rural communities; what it takes to get the food to your table every day, whether it’s from the garden, dairy, hogs or beef,” Griffin said. “In today’s culture, using the correct terminology to educate consumers is also essential.”
The facility, which NICC expects to be completed April 1, 2016, offers a unique experiential learning environment for students. “Beef Science Technology students and other NICC students will be able to study the feeding and management of cattle,” Gebel said, who noted that the portable TMR equipment currently used at Iowa’s Dairy Center near campus will be shared for the beef facility’s needs. “I greatly appreciate how the Beef Science Technology Building will enhance the partnership between Northeast Iowa Community College and the Northeast Iowa Dairy Foundation to contribute to the educational experience for students and the community.”
The beginning of construction marks the conclusion of a five-year planning process by the Beef Science Technology Advisory Board, which is comprised of NICC faculty members and industry and community leaders. Local contractors selected for the project include Bacon Concrete of Postville, for site preparation; Upper Iowa Construction of Cresco, for general construction; See Electric of Decorah, for electrical; and Becker Hardware of Ossian, mechanical work.
For additional information on the Beef Science Technology Building, contact Gebel at 563-534-9957, ext. 105 or gebeln@nicc.edu.
 

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