Cheyanne Blanchard, left, and Calvin Basham

North Central Missouri College students Cheyanne Blanchard, left, and Calvin Basham take ag classes at the college’s Barton Farm Campus. 

TRENTON, Mo. — On another busy day at North Central Missouri College’s Barton Farm Campus, Cheyanne Blanchard and Calvin Basham were at work mowing. The students are this year’s Barton Mentors, students hired to do work around the college’s farm campus, which is located just outside of Trenton. The college’s main campus is in town.

Blanchard, who graduated from Newtown-Harris High School this spring, says she is interested in working with cattle and horses, and NCMC had a few factors that drew her.

“I just wanted the small classes,” she says. “We have a lot of hands-on learning here, too.”

Blanchard is interested in a career in ag business and working with livestock, maybe as a feed manager. Whatever she decides, she appreciates the opportunity to learn more about farming.

“I’m an ag kid,” she says.

Basham, who is from Cowgill, Missouri, and graduated from Braymer High School this year, also comes from a farm background. He plans to transfer to Northwest Missouri State University in Maryville after completing his studies of agronomy and crop science at NCMC.

He likes the opportunity to learn by doing.

“I like coming out to the campus,” he says. “I’ve always enjoyed working with cows. I want to go into agronomy because I enjoy soil testing and how to think about how you’re going to increase yields.”

Rustin Jumps, ag instructor at NCMC, says the Barton Farm Campus gives students a chance to prepare for a variety of careers, whether it is production agriculture or ag business. The farm campus has a lab and classrooms, a livestock building, a shop, a greenhouse and several crop test plots. There are also grazing paddocks for the livestock.

“Some are going back to the family farm or going into ag industry,” Jumps says.

Jumps say students have a variety of degree options and emphasis areas, depending on what their goals are and whether they want to transfer to a four-year institution. Some of the emphasis areas include crop production, livestock management, ag business and equine.

“If they want to get involved in crop production on a large scale, they can get a crop production emphasis,” he says.

A lot of the learning involves doing — such as conducting yield estimates on corn and soybean plots, for example.

“They get a lot of hands-on type activities,” Jumps says.

The students come to the farm campus with a variety of experience in agriculture.

“We have some students who come in who don’t have a lot of experience with production agriculture,” Jumps says.

He says the college is also working on partnerships with local businesses to give students opportunities for internships that can lead to full-time employment.

Jumps says the college has various clubs and activities.

“It just gives students an opportunity to get involved, to network with other students,” he says.

Jumps enjoys the chance to work with students and help them prepare for careers in farming and agriculture.

“I really enjoy seeing students fulfill their goals as they’re going through the program,” he says.

Blanchard says she enjoys working in agriculture and that way of life.

“I’ve grown ups with it ever since I was a little kid,” she says. “I love working with horses, seeing all the hard work pay off.”

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Ben Herrold is Missouri field editor, writing for Missouri Farmer Today, Iowa Farmer Today and Illinois Farmer Today.