Visitors in Ag Mechanics

A representative from John Deere talks to students about the John Deere Tech program at the North Dakota State College of Science in Wahpeton. (Courtesy Photo)

On Wednesday of last week, John Huizinga, a John Deere representative, came in and talked to our class about the John Deere Tech Program. He explained to us what the program entails.

Ag Mechanics Class Reporter

It is a two-year associates degree at NDSCS in Wahpeton, N.D. The classes are 20 percent in the classroom and 80 percent in the shop. The program teaches you how to troubleshoot, service, repair, and rebuild equipment. This program costs a total of $29,000. After a person is successfully enrolled, they receive a John Deere tool kit valued at $1,760. The best part is that after a person finishes school, he or she automatically gets a full-time job with full pay and benefits at a John Deere dealer. These students also get reimbursed $12,500 of their tuition over the next four years. John Deere is the global leader in agriculture equipment; however, there is a shortage of technicians, so it is a great program for students to look at. It should never get boring, because a employees can work their way up to become specialized workers, and on their way, they will have a variety of different jobs.
Then, on Friday, we went out to a Post Conservation Reserve Program field with Dr. Ben Geaumont, a Research Range Scientist and Wildlife Biologist. He explained the Patch-Burn Grazing System research project. He is in the second year of an eight-year project. First, he explained to us what CRP is: the land that a federal program pays to put into permanent crop cover. The program encourages land owners to plant these acres to grass. This land is not to be hayed very often. These CRP plots provide cover and a habitat for much of the wildlife. They also provide for less soil erosion. To keep these areas under control, the research centers use a technique called patch-burn grazing. They will take a quarter of the plot and start a controlled burn. This will bring the protein levels up in the grass and allow carbon back into the soil. The fire kills off all the dead, brown grass and the grass then grows back greener than it was before. The new green grass attracts more animals for grazing. From the research Geaumont has conducted, he has seen that the sheep and cattle graze 85 percent of the time on the burned patch. Some people see many positives to this, and others see many negatives; however, research is trying to see what helps in an area like the Dakotas.

Students learn about CRP land. (Courtesy Photo)