The Farm and Ranch Business Management program at Mitchell Technical Institute is in the process of expanding the program to reach northeastern South Dakota. With the addition of a fourth instructor and the movement to online-based instruction, the expansion is underway and plans to start enrolling farm families are in process.
Current instructors Roger DeRouchey and Calvin Pietz have been localized to a 90 mile radius of Mitchell until now. Last year Lori Christensen, former agriculture teacher at Madison High School, was added to the Farm and Ranch Business Management team bringing the program to eastern South Dakota including the Madison and Brookings area. With the addition of Dawn Melikant, the program will now be available to farmers and ranchers in the northeastern part of the state. Based in Aberdeen, Melikant will also serve areas surrounding Watertown, Sisseton, and Pierre. If the transition goes as planned, the program will be adding an additional instructor in western South Dakota in July of next year.
This program is the hidden gem of agriculture management in the State. The average net cash income of participants in the program is 35% higher and net cash income per acre is 3% higher than that of those South Dakota producers not participating in the program according to the 2007 USDA/NASS Census. The resources that our instructors provide to individual farm families in helping them achieve success are invaluable. I firmly believe this expansion will be a great asset for the entire state when completed; said MTI President Greg Von Wald.
The Farm and Ranch Business Management program has partnered with Farm Credit Services of America to help with farm family recruitment and the use of office space to work regionally with participants. South Dakota Pork Producers Council, South Dakota Wheat Commission, South Dakota Corn Utilization Council, and the South Dakota Soybean Research and Promotion Council have also partnered with Mitchell Technical Institute to ensure that the expansion is successful.