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Whether you want to work the land, raise livestock or help others do it better, NDSCS is a great place to start.

Academic Options

The NDSCS Agriculture department began in 1976 to provide students training in mechanics and farm management. Keeping up with technology and current workforce demands, programs have evolved to include Ag Business, Animal Science, Farm Management, Precision Agronomy, Precision Ag Technician, Ranch Management and a 9-month Meat Processing certificate. These programs are designed to help students gain employment in a the Agriculture industry or to help prepare students to operate a farm or ranch in the future.

Class sizes are kept smaller to allow students to benefit from lab activities, personalized instruction, and classroom interaction. Multiple programs allow for students to choose from a wide array of elective options to reach their career goals. Students who choose to continue their education find their coursework transferable to other institutions.

Ag Business
Ag Business

The Ag Business option focuses on core business concepts such as accounting, sales, management and marketing, while providing a diverse agriculture background.

  • Type: A.A.S. degree (Agriculture degree sub-plan)
  • Locations: Wahpeton
  • Cluster: Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources
  • Green Technology Available

» View Program Information & Admission Requirements 

Animal Science
Animal Science

In the Animal Science option in the Agriculture Department you can choose between careers in diversified crop and livestock production, sales of livestock feed and supplies, and employment in a livestock operation.

  • Type: A.A.S. degree (Agriculture degree sub-plan)
  • Locations: Wahpeton
  • Cluster: Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources
  • Green Technology Available

» View Program Information & Admission Requirements

Farm Management
Farm Management

The Farm Management option focuses on farm management, record keeping and other agricultural topics such as precision agriculture, ag marketing, crop production, computerized records and soil fertility.

  • Type: A.A.S. degree (Agriculture degree sub-plan)
  • Locations: Wahpeton
  • Cluster: Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources
  • Green Technology Available

» View Program Information & Admission Requirements

Meat Processing
Meat Processing

The Meat Processing option is a collaboration offering between NDSCS and NDSU. Students who enroll in the Meat Processing certificate program at NDSCS will have the opportunity to gain skills in a high-demand career field.

  • Type: Certificate (Agriculture degree sub-plan)
  • Locations: Wahpeton, Fargo
  • Cluster: Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources
  • Green Technology Available

» View Program Information & Admission Requirements

Precision Agriculture Technician
Precision Agriculture

Students who enroll in the Precision Agriculture Technician program will seek employment in the agriculture equipment industry. Students will find many challenging courses, including agronomic fundamentals, sales, data analysis, data management, electrical fundamentals, hydraulic systems, and more. 

  • Type: A.A.S. degree
  • Locations: Wahpeton
  • Cluster: Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources
  • Green Technology Available

» View Program Information & Admission Requirements

Precision Agronomy

Students who enroll in Precision Agronomy will seek employment in the agriculture retail industry. Course work is designed to provide instruction in crop production, soils, field crop scouting, precision ag, agriculture sales, and business management. Cutting edge agricultural technology is infused into this curriculum.  

  • Type: A.A.S. degree
  • Locations: Wahpeton
  • Cluster: Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources
  • Green Technology Available

» View Program Information & Admission Requirements

Ranch Management
Ranch Management

The Ranch Management option is designed to provide the student returning to the ranch or diversified livestock operation with the management and production skills necessary to be successful.

  • Type: A.A.S. degree (Agriculture degree sub-plan)
  • Locations: Wahpeton
  • Cluster: Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources
  • Green Technology Available

» View Program Information & Admission Requirements


Right now, there are more great agriculture career options than there are people to fill them, and the same goes for the future.

We’re helping our students jump into outstanding ag careers through hands-on experience with the latest information, advanced technologies and best management practices.

September 2018 - AM 890 AgNews Interviews NDSCS Ag Department Chair Craig Zimprich about land donated to NDSCS for a Land Lab. Click here to listen.

October 2017 - AM 890 AgNews Interviews NDSCS Ag Department Chair Craig Zimprich and NDSCS Associate Professor Dr. Anissa Hoffman about the new Ag Land Lab. Click here to listen.




In 2018, the NDSCS Agriculture department was gifted the lease for the NDSCS Kosel Family Agriculture Land Lab. This is a 90+ acre piece of land on the edge of Wahpeton. The acreage is used to demonstrate different crops, tillage, and management. Several courses in the Agriculture Department utilize this land and the data collected to create applied learning opportunities.

Tour Our Land Lab

Agriculture and Kosel Family Land LabSnap Content


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Agriculture Graduates from 2022-23 Academic Year - Includes Ag Business, Agronomy, Animal Science, Farm Management, Precision Agriculture and Ranch Management
Graduates Registered Avg. Beginning Annual Salary Reported High Annual Salary Placement Rate
44 $40560 $58240 95%

NDSCS Unveils New Precision Agriculture Programs & CHS Foundation Grant

CHS logo

North Dakota State College of Science (NDSCS) is proud to announce the expansion of its Agriculture department with the introduction of new AAS degrees in Precision Agronomy and Precision Agriculture Technician.

These programs are crafted to meet the growing demand for skilled professionals in the agricultural industry and to support the CHS Foundation mission of developing a new generation of ag leaders. CHS and the CHS Foundation recently awarded $96,000 to NDSCS to help reach these goals. That grant will help NDSCS purchase and implement a variety of GPS receivers and field displays; purchase and install John Deere AutoTrac and ActiveYield; and purchase and implement a planter row unit test table.

“The CHS partnership is invaluable to the Precision Agriculture Technician program at NDSCS. The high-tech equipment provided by this grant will provide innovative, real-world training. NDSCS students will now be even better prepared to take on the challenges ahead in their ag careers,” shared Craig Zimprich, Program Director at NDSCS Agriculture.

The new Precision Agriculture Technician program is meticulously designed to train students in the latest technological advances in agriculture equipment. It prepares students for careers where they will sell, troubleshoot, and repair precision equipment, a critical need identified by major precision equipment dealers. The program offers extensive hands-on experience, including a paid internship and the opportunity to operate state-of-the-art machinery at the NDSCS Kosel Family Land Lab.

“Training in precision agriculture and experience with precision agriculture equipment are essential skills for today’s graduates,” says Megan Wolle, president, CHS Foundation. “Through this partnership, NDSCS students will be ready to tackle new precision ag challenges and pursue careers in the agriculture industry.”

NDSCS's commitment to diversity and inclusion is integral to its vision, fostering a respectful and supportive environment that celebrates individual differences and promotes cultural appreciation. Chandra Langseth, a program instructor on the CHS Dakota Plains Ag producer board, exemplifies this commitment, enhancing program development and workforce diversity in collaboration with CHS.

“We are fortunate to have Chandra lead our Precision Agriculture program. She is very talented and provides valuable insight coupled with practical knowledge for the students here at NDSCS,” shared Zimprich.

The college's innovative strategies include interdisciplinary teaching, leveraging expertise from NDSCS's diesel and manufacturing faculty to ensure that graduates possess comprehensive technical skills. The program's success is already anticipated, with the North Dakota Legislature allocating approximately $20 million for facility enhancements to advance precision agriculture education at NDSCS.

The program's SMART goals are ambitious and well-defined, focusing on equipping students with practical skills in data management, equipment calibration, and troubleshooting. The long-term impact is clear: NDSCS aims to be a national leader in precision agriculture training, providing students with the knowledge and practical experience needed for immediate career success.

NDSCS's strategic partnerships and collaborations with industry leaders, including CHS Foundation, ensure that the curriculum remains cutting-edge and relevant. The program is set to be sustainable, with funding strategies involving the reinvestment of proceeds from the NDSCS Kosel Family Agriculture Land Lab and ongoing support from industry partners.

The college plans to promote the program through various channels, including opportunities for high school students and active engagement with FFA organizations in North Dakota, Minnesota, and throughout our region.

Learn more at

North Dakota State College of Science Receives Transformational $500,000 Gift from Linda Kosel Patterson to Enhance Agriculture Program

Linda Kosel Patterson

The NDSCS Alumni Foundation is thrilled to announce a significant donation of $500,000 from Linda Kosel Patterson, demonstrating her unwavering commitment to the advancement of agricultural education in the region. This substantial contribution is set to revolutionize the NDSCS agriculture program, establishing a state-of-the-art ag technology experience for current and future students.

Kim Nelson, Executive Director of the NDSCS Alumni Foundation, expressed profound gratitude, stating, “Linda’s gift towards the Kosel Family Agriculture Lab will have a positive, significant impact on farming families across the tri-state area for generations. Her generosity is a testament to her dedication to NDSCS and our students, equipping them with advanced tools, equipment, and technologies essential for innovative and comprehensive agricultural education.”

This donation follows a significant contribution from the Yaggie family in December, which enabled major enhancements to the NDSCS agricultural center, now known as the “Yaggie Family Agriculture Center.” The new “Kosel Family Agriculture Lab” will be a fundamental pillar of the remodeled and updated facility.

Linda Kosel’s history of support for NDSCS is longstanding and substantial. In May 2017, along with Mary Kosel, Linda’s mother, they facilitated the use of nearly 95 acres of farmland for the NDSCS Alumni Foundation. This gift created the Kosel Family Agriculture Land Lab used by all NDSCS Agriculture Programs. The land lab has been pivotal in doubling the NDSCS Ag Program’s student enrollment and has enabled the introduction of new associate degrees in Precision Agronomy and Precision Agriculture Technology.

Craig Zimprich, NDSCS Ag Program Director, reflected on the Kosel family’s enduring support: “The Kosel Family's contributions--including this latest donation and the establishment of our Agriculture Land Lab--are invaluable. They provide our students with the opportunity to translate classroom & lab learning into practical skills, using the latest equipment and tools.”


The Kosel Family Legacy

The Kosel family’s legacy in agriculture and education began with Richard and Mary Kosel, who started their farming journey north of Wahpeton in 1947. Their lifelong commitment to agriculture and education, along with their daughter Linda, has played a pivotal role in shaping the future of agricultural education at NDSCS.

The NDSCS community is profoundly grateful for the Kosel family’s continued support and partnership, which significantly enhances the educational experience and opportunities for our students in agriculture.

North Dakota State College of Science Celebrates $1 Million Donation from Yaggie Family to Renovate Agriculture Center

Yaggie family - Jeri, Donald, Richard, Robert

In a grand gesture that underscores a legacy of commitment and generosity, the Yaggie family has contributed a $1 million donation to the North Dakota State College of Science (NDSCS) Foundation. This significant contribution will fund the renovation of the NDSCS Agriculture Center, which will be renamed the “Yaggie Family Agriculture Center” in honor of the family’s longstanding involvement in agriculture and the community.

Robert (Bob), Donald (Don) and Richard Yaggie, along with Jeri Yaggie (in memory and honor of her late husband, David) have made this generous contribution to NDSCS that will benefit our entire region.

This transformative donation comes as a tribute to the family’s deep roots in agriculture and education, with multiple generations of Yaggies having attended NDSCS. “The Yaggie family's gift is a testament to their belief in the future of agriculture and the importance of education in our community,” said Dr. Rod Flanigan, President of NDSCS.

The renovated Yaggie Family Agriculture Center will not only serve as a tribute to the family’s contributions but will also be a cornerstone for future agricultural education and innovation at NDSCS.

NDSCS Director of Facilities, David Cooper, shares details of the renovations made possible by this gift, “These are exciting times for NDSCS, as the Tech Center remodel is in the Architectural design and engineering phases. This will not only create a visible presence for the NDSCS Precision Agriculture program, it will also help the different programs within Precision Ag to grow, providing the latest in today’s student environment and combining hands-on learning with today’s technology. This remodel includes the renovation of all classrooms, shops, and offices to include the relocation of the John Deere Diesel program to make room for Precision Ag equipment training programs. We are working closely with our technology partners to insure all of the spaces provide the best learning environment possible for our students.”

From Otto Yaggie's homestead beginnings to Leo’s visionary expansion into the Red River Valley and the establishment of the Minn-Dak Beet Growers, the Yaggie family has been pivotal in fostering agricultural innovation. Today, the Yaggie farms continue to thrive with a collaborative spirit across four generations. Donald--along with his sons Kevin, Mike, and Jeff—farm in the Breckenridge area, as well as, Thief River Falls, Minnesota. Also, part of the family legacy are Robert (1960 NDSCS alum) and his son, Bruce, Richard and his son, Allen, David (a 1965 NDSCS Alum) who passed away in 2019 and his son, Mark, who passed in 2017. All farm near Breckenridge.

The Yaggie family's involvement extends beyond their farms. They have been active in various community and agricultural organizations, including: the International Flying Farmers; St. Mary’s School and Church; and CHI Hospital--showcasing their commitment to enriching the community and supporting future generations.

“We are deeply grateful for the Yaggie family’s generosity,” said Kim Nelson, Executive Director of the NDSCS Foundation. “This donation will allow us to advance our agricultural programs and continue to serve as a leader in educating the next generation of agricultural professionals.”

In addition to their support of the Yaggie Family Agriculture Center, the family also supports NDSCS through their involvement on the NDSCS Foundation Board, NDSCS Catbackers, the NDSCS Ag Advisory Committee and promoting NDSCS to the entire surrounding community.

(photo caption: left to right — Jeri, Donald, Richard and Robert Yaggie)

NDSCS Agriculture Program Students Excel at NACTA Conference

Ag students with awards

The North Dakota State College of Science (NDSCS) Agriculture Program students had the opportunity to attend the NACTA (North American Colleges and Teachers of Agriculture) Judging Conference in Modesto, California from April 12-15, 2023. While there, the students competed in various competitions, such as Livestock Management, Livestock Judging, Equine Management, Soils, and more.

The NDSCS Agriculture students worked hard to prepare for the competitions, and their efforts paid off as they earned multiple individual and team awards. The students won Second Place, 2-year division in the Knowledge Bowl, Third Place, 2-year division in Crops Team, and Third Place, 2-year division in Ag Mechanics. Andrew Sip was named Third High Individual in the Ag Mechanics Contest, 2-year division.

During the trip, the students also had the chance to enjoy hands-on experiences and explore opportunities in agriculture. They toured Burroughs Family Farms, an organic almond, walnut, olive, and sheep farm that utilizes regenerative practices to restore land and soil health.

By sending teams to competitions like the NACTA Judging Conference, the Agriculture program provides students with an invaluable educational experience. “Trips like this allow students a unique opportunity to learn about Agriculture in different regions of the United States and test their knowledge in the areas they are studying. More importantly, they have the opportunity to expand their professional network.”, noted Craig Zimprich, Agriculture Associate Professor and Department Chair.

The NDSCS students who participated in the competitions included:

  • Andy Sip, Farm Management, Ada, Minn.
  • Cody Morrison, Farm Management, Hunter, N.D.
  • Grace Dinius, Agronomy & Ag Business, New England, N.D.
  • Carston Hamre, Ag Business, Audubon, Minn.
  • Katrina Quick, Farm Management & Agronomy, Borup, Minn.
  • Rose Wendell, Liberal Arts – Agriculture emphasis, Lamoure, N.D.
  • Eli Sorum, Animal Science & Precision Ag, Fergus Falls, Minn.
  • Will Steffes, Farm Management, Arthur, N.D.
  • Hunter Albert, Precision Agriculture Technician, Barnesville, Minn.
  • Gavin Mautz, Ranch Management, Garrison, N.D.

The NDSCS Agriculture Program provides students with a solid foundation of knowledge in the areas of Ag Business, Animal Science, Farm Management, Ranch Management, Precision Agronomy, and Precision Agriculture Technician. It is a hands-on program area that emphasizes practical learning experiences through lab and field activities, internships, and cooperative education experiences. Students also benefit from the college’s close working relationships with regional and national agricultural businesses, organizations, and state and federal agencies.

For more information about the NDSCS Agriculture program, visit

Article written by NDSCS and submitted to external news outlets. 

NDSCS to offer two new Agriculture Degrees

NEW Ag programs available

North Dakota State College of Science will offer Associate in Applied Science degrees in Precision Agronomy and Precision Agriculture Technician starting in the fall of 2023. Approved by the State Board of Higher Education, the new degree programs are aimed at meeting industry needs and the growing demand among students looking to pursue emerging career opportunities in agriculture.

The Precision Agronomy degree is a two-year, 69-credit program that will prepare students to use precision technology to guide agriculture production decisions. “Graduates will have the ability to use technology like mapping to make the best agronomic choices on their farms or when working with a producer through an agronomy center,” said Craig Zimprich, chair of the Agriculture Department. NDSCS developed the program in response to industry demand for employees with expertise in agronomy and precision agriculture. Currently, the NDSCS Agriculture Department offers emphasis options in agronomy and precision agriculture. This new program will merge the options and expand into a standalone associate degree. The curriculum will include courses in plant and soil sciences, agriculture sales, field crop scouting, software, data management and business management. Zimprich believes the expanded curriculum and standalone degree will attract and graduate more students needed to meet the high workforce demand.

The Precision Agriculture Technician degree is a two-year, 69-credit program focused on agriculture equipment. Students will be trained in selling, installing, maintaining, and troubleshooting precision hardware and software on agriculture equipment. NDSCS worked with industry partners and heavy equipment dealerships to develop the program to meet their workforce needs. Zimprich explained that students will gain an agronomic background with a technical understanding of equipment to fill a void between the producer and the dealership. The curriculum will include courses in agronomy, sales and agriculture business, precision agriculture, and heavy equipment electrical and hydraulics. “When we talk to students about this program, their eyes light up because it’s ag and equipment. There’s a lot of students who like that idea,” said Zimprich.

First-year student Hunter Albert of Barnesville, Minn., will be one of the first graduates in the Precision Agriculture Technician degree program. “I’ve always wanted to be on the technology side of farming, working on equipment,” Albert said. “It’s where the future is in farming.” Sponsored by Titan Machinery, Albert plans to complete the degree requirements next spring.

To prepare for successful careers in the rapidly evolving agriculture industry, students in both new programs will receive hands-on training at the NDSCS Kosel Family Agriculture Land Lab, a 90-acre demonstration farm operated by the Agriculture Department, students, and industry partners. Students will also gain professional experience during a 400-hour paid internship between their first and second years of instruction.

In addition to the two new degrees, NDSCS will continue to offer an A.A.S. degree in Agriculture with emphasis options in farm management, ranch management, animal science, and ag business, along with a certificate in meat processing. More information about the degrees can be found online at

Article written by NDSCS and submitted to external news outlets. 

College meat cutting programs start to fill up industry need

Student interview for AgWeek TV

On the first day of their internship at a small town meat locker, Alissa Metzger and Grace Lamberson were breaking down a hog carcass to cut into pork chops, roasts, and other cuts and packaging up orders for customers.

Using the large saw was “a little scary, I’m not going to lie,” Lamberson said. But the experience is the culmination of her other course work in meat processing at the North Dakota State College of Science. "It all adds up and starts making sense,” Lamberson said.

Lamberson and Metzger are a couple of the first students going through the meat cutting program at the college. Meat cutting programs are popping up to help meet the demand for skilled workers in a field that has seen renewed interest, especially after COVID-19 forced shutdowns at major meatpackers, forcing farmers to scramble for help.

Metzger and Lamberson are coming into the program from the culinary side, not the ag side. “I wanted to actually learn, like, how you actually break down those big carcass animals down to what we eat and what is on our plate,” Metzger said.

The North Dakota State College of Science in Wahpeton, and two Minnesota schools — Ridgewater College in Willmar and Central Lakes College in Staples — have new meat cutting programs. Western Dakota Technical College in Rapid City, South Dakota, and Dickinson State University in western North Dakota also are adding programs.

Craig Zimprich, department chairman for agriculture at NDSCS used the term “desperation,” from the meat industry looking for workers. He said he has gotten a lot of calls from employers looking for students. Some of them are local lockers plants hoping looking for someone who might be able to eventually take over the business in a few years Zimprich said the nine-month meat cutting program can turn into “truly a lifelong career.”

Zimprich said he also has gotten calls from livestock farms that are interested in doing more of their own processing and marketing. And if someone already has a degree, just the meat cutting portion of the program could be done in one semester.

Zimprich said the program can be tailored to meet the career of a prospective student.

Metzger is working in a kitchen at an elder care facility and said she already has some job offers but isn’t quite sure yet where she really wants to apply her skills. Her original plan was to open a bakery but “that’s kind of changed now,” she said.

The NDSCS campus is about 50 miles south of the North Dakota State University campus. NDSU already had a meat lab with cutting equipment, so NDSCS and NDSU partnered on a grant to start the nine-month meat cutting program.

Zimprich said the grant also provided some scholarship money, and the North Dakota Beef Council also is paying for two students to go through the program. The program is starting with five students but Zimprich said there is room for about 14.

Building programs

While NDSU already had a meat lab that NDSCS could access, other schools are taking different approaches as their programs get rolling. Central Lakes College is offering a one semester course that is all in-person classes taught in the evenings at the Staples, Minnesota, campus by Jess Feierabend.

The main Central Lakes campus is in Brainerd but Staples is home to the school’s ag program and meat cutting fits into that. “So we try to involve a little bit of agriculture and a little bit of what meat production looks like from start to finish, so from farm to fork,” Feierabend said. “And we understand that a lot of students aren't going to use all of that philosophy but there's different spots within the industry that they will be able to work in.” The college is working with the Minnesota Farmers Union to obtain a mobile slaughter unit and plans to develop a retail module.

Feierabend said the eight students enrolled in the current semester range from an 18-year-old to a person in their 50s looking for a career change. The students were tasked with lining up an internship. In doing so, all of them were offered a job. “So instead of just going to the internship, they're virtually getting hired on the spot to help these guys out,” Feierabend said. “There is a huge demand for it right now.”

Ridgewater College is taking a very different approach. The lecture portion of the classes is all remote learning but again students must line up a business with meat cutting equipment to get the hands-on experience. “So the students can essentially take the classes wherever they are, wherever they want,” said Sophia Thommes, the meat cutting instructor at Ridgewater. With classes being remote, the college can serve students across a wide area. She even has a student in Florida. “Students can come from anywhere in the country that they want,” said Jeff Miller, dean of instruction at Ridgewater College.

Ridgewater currently has eight students but Thommes is expecting 15 to 20 students for the spring semester. Some of the current students already are working in the meat industry in some way but want to add a certificate to their resume. Others are coming in with zero experience. Ridgewater also plans more advanced courses. “This is really one certificate that will stack into a more advanced meat processing that will be coming next year,” Miller said. “And then a third certificate that will be the meat cutting entrepreneur.” First year students learn things such as safety, slaughtering, and ethical treatment of animals. “The student can either enroll in the full certificate or pick the courses that meet their needs,” Miller said. “Our goal is to really meet students where they’re at with this.”

'Dwindled away'

Manock Meats is in Great Bend, North Dakota, population 52, and a short drive from the NDSCS campus.

Steve Manock says he has been in the business since he was about 6 years old, when his dad bought the business. He bought it from his dad when he was 21 and has been running it for about 40 years.

Manock Meats is one of just two meat lockers left in Richland County, butchering livestock that sometimes come from more than 100 miles away. “When I was growing as a kid there was one in every town and they have just dwindled away over the years,” Manock said. “There was nobody to take them over.”

The lack of meat processing means that farmers who used to be able to schedule an animal a week or two in advance now might have to schedule a year or more out, sometimes before the animal is even born.

Manock says he is the only custom processor of poultry left in North Dakota and has butchered up to 450 birds in one day, but says he tries to keep it more manageable at 200 to 250 birds in one day.

But he also likes the variety that comes with processing many different animals.

He encourages other small meat processors into partnering with a college for interns. “They struggled on a few parts but then I said ‘here’s another one’ and by the end of the day they had it down pat already,” Manock said. “I give ‘em a straight A for today.”

Article written by John Beach for AgWeek and Inforum on November 7, 2022. 

Watch the AgweekTV episode here — NDSCS Meat Processing program highlighted at 10:36. 

Meat Processing

NDSCS offering Meat Processing program

North Dakota State College of Science (NDSCS) is accepting applications for students interested in obtaining a certificate in Meat Processing, a new program, beginning Fall 2021.


Agriculture Instruction

NDSCS and Midwest Community College Partners Join Forces with NRCS

The United States Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) is partnering with NDSCS and eight other Midwest community colleges to support hands-on student learning in the field, to develop future conservation-minded farmers and ranchers, and to cultivate more graduates interested in pursuing careers with NRCS.