Throwing Bales and Programming Computers: Life on the Farm in the 21st Century


Vendor at Ridgewater Career Fair

Traci Seifert with Land O' Lakes discusses career opportunities with a student at the 2012 Ridgewater Ag Career Fair and Technology Showcase.

What do you think of when you imagine a career as a farmer:  Scooping manure? Mending fences? Throwing bales?  Maybe there’s some of that, but as over 300 hig


h school and college students learned at Ridgewater College on Friday, careers in today’s agriculture industry are more technologically advanced and exciting than ever before.

Ridgewater’s 220 Agriculture program students were joined by over 125 high school students from over 13 Minnesota high schools at Ridgewater’s Willmar campus for an Agriculture Career Fair and Technology Showcase.  The event featured exhibits from around 35 industry employers from across the region, who put on seminars for students, talked with them about career opportunities, and even did some interviewing.

While the Ridgewater Ag department has hosted career fairs for their students in the past, this was the first time all the college ag students participated. It was also the first time that businesses had the opportunity to set up trade-show style exhibits, and the first time high school ag students were invited. 

Many businesses were able to talk to the students about the opportunities in today’s agriculture industry, including precision agriculture, seed genetics, advanced livestock feeding systems, and livestock nutrition just to name a few. 

So while your vision of a career in agriculture may include cleaning barns and riding the hay wagon, most of today’s agriculture employees are considering the impact of yield by switching to the latest hybrid seed, or programming the GPS field mapping software on their tractor.  Indeed, the way look at agriculture has changed, but the future of the industry couldn’t be more exciting!

Interested in knowing more about careers in agriculture?  Simply call us at Ridgewater College and we’ll schedule a visit to campus!

Celebrating 50 Years

This year marks Ridgewater College’s 50th Anniversary of providing higher education in central Minnesota.  The institution, which has seen several name changes, mission changes, and mergers over the past five decades originally opened its doors in 1961 as Willmar Community College.  A few years later, it split into two institutions, one offering general education or transfer courses and the other offering technical programs.  In 1967, Hutchinson Area Vocational Technical Institute was founded.  It merged with the Willmar campuses in the mid-1990’s.

Fifty years is indeed a long time, certainly enough to build a strong reputation and a rich history.  The milestone is most certainly cause for celebration. To that end, we’ve been busy planning parties on each of our two campuses – Willmar on Saturday, September 24, and Hutchinson on Saturday, October 15.

Make no mistake, this is not just a class reunion – although several departments on campus will be hosting their alumni.  We believe that the college is an integral part of the region, and want all in the community to come out to campus and see where we’ve come from over the past fifty years, and where we’re headed as we move into the years to come.

Even if you never attended Ridgewater – or any of is predecessor institutions – it’s likely that you have a relative or fried who has.  Given the fact that we know of over 12,000 alumni living in a 7-county region of central Minnesota, it is highly realistic to believe that you have interactions with Ridgewater alumni every day.

The on-campus celebrations will include something for everyone, so be sure to bring out the whole family.  The little kids will enjoy the bounce house and other inflatables, and the whole family can grab lunch from one of our food vendors on campus and take in some live music! The National Guard will be on hand as well with their climbing wall for those who like a challenge.

When you’re here, be sure to take a look around campus.  There will be campus maps available that indicate department activities and the locations of guestbooks – which is how attendees will register for our many great prizes, including an iPad 2!  For those liking a tour guide, we’ll have our admissions reps giving campus tours leaving at the top and bottom of each hour from noon through 2:30 p.m.

And about those department reunions…Watch for additional blog posts throughout the coming days detailing some department reunion activities.  Some of the departments hosting alumni are Auto Body and Auto Service Technology, Agriculture, Veterinary Technology, Photography, Administrative Support/Business, Cosmetology, Occupational Skills, Electronics, and more!