Russ Vering co-chair Nexus capital campaign

Russ Vering, one of the co-chairs of the Nexus capital campaign

Developing rural communities is one of the strongest arguments in support of building new agriculture facilities at Northeast Community College in Norfolk, Nebraska.

That’s according to Russ Vering, one of the co-chairs of the Nexus capital campaign for the project.

Vering is co-owner of Central Plains Milling in Howells and Columbus and vice president of nutrition for the newly merged Frontier/Midwest Cooperative. He is a past president of the Nebraska Pork Producers Association and a current member of the National Pork Producers Association Board of Directors.

He and Jeanne Reigle, of Madison, are spearheading the Nexus campaign to raise the funds to relocate the Northeast college farm and build a new veterinary technology clinic and classroom building near the Chuck M. Pohlman Ag Complex.

Vering said that an investment in the Nexus program at Northeast serves local communities.

“The importance of investing in this program really helps build our communities, helps educate our children, brings them back to our communities and helps build our populations in northeast Nebraska,” he said. “It’s going to bring more ideas to the farm; it’s going to bring more ideas back to our businesses.”

Vering has hosted Northeast student interns at Central Plains Milling, and has several Northeast graduates as employees.

“I was so surprised when Northeast staff approached me and asked how they could help my business. They seem to understand the need for more, better trained workers in agriculture and are trying to meet that need,” he said.

Dr. Tracy Kruse, associate vice president for development and external affairs at Northeast and executive director of the Northeast Community College Foundation, said the facilities campaign benefits from its chair people Vering and Reigle.

“They represent different facets of agriculture and agri-business, and understand that the demand for trained employees is a drag on the rural economy,” she said. “With their help in this fundraising effort, Northeast will be better able to meet the need for workers with highly technical skills and a passion for agriculture.”

The support of businesses across the state for the Nexus program demonstrates the need to develop agriculture in Nebraska, according to Vering.

“They realize that there is a need for educated students,” he said. “There’s a need for ag education. There’s a need for row crop education. There’s a need for highly qualified employees in northeast Nebraska.”

Funding for the $23 million Agriculture & Water Center for Excellence is currently being solicited. In addition to the College’s commitment of $10 million, Northeast is seeking at least $13 million in private funds to begin the initial phase of construction, which includes a new farm site with a large animal handling facility and other farm structures for livestock operations, a new veterinary technology clinic and classrooms, and a farm office and storage. The new facilities will be located near the Chuck M. Pohlman Agriculture Complex on E. Benjamin Ave. in Norfolk.

In August, the Acklie Charitable Foundation announced a $5 million lead gift to the Nexus project. The foundation was founded by the late Duane Acklie and Phyllis Acklie, both Madison County natives and graduates of Norfolk Junior College, a predecessor institution of Northeast Community College.

For more information on the Nexus Campaign, contact Kruse, at tracyk@northeast.edu or call 402-844-7056.Online donations may be made through the website agwaternexus.com. Checks may be mailed to: Nexus Campaign, Northeast Community College Foundation, P.O. Box 469, Norfolk, NE 68702-0469.

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