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NTCC Ag Program sees enrollment boom

students in canning lab

Beginning Fall 2020 due to recent strategies to include ag classes as science options in core, developing a new method of delivering dual credit courses in our cooperating ISD’s and improving and expanding our on-line offerings- as COVID hit, the Northeast Texas Community College Agriculture department doubled enrollment. Following this substantial increase, every semester showed double digit growth!

This fall, the ag program saw overall enrollment at a whopping 226 students that is a growth of 26% over Fall 21. This is includes a 37%+ increase in dual credit students and those taking online courses.

“We are very excited to serve so many students. Between our dual credit program and developing more online classes, we are making it easier than ever for students with an interest in agriculture to pursue coursework in the field,” René McCracken, Director of Agriculture, said.

NTCC currently offers dual credit ag classes through Beckville ISD, Chapel Hill ISD, Harts Bluff ISD, Mount Pleasant ISD, Mount Vernon ISD, and Pewitt CISD. Some of those are offered on the NTCC farm and others are taught on the high school campuses.

“We have partnered with some wonderful adjunct instructors that are helping us teach a variety of classes on high school campuses. We hope that many of these students will choose to continue their ag studies with us after they graduate,” McCracken said.

students picking muscadines

The program has also seen an increase in the number of non-ag major students choosing to take classes. Agronomy, Horticulture and Introductory Animal Science are all included as science options in NTCC’s core curriculum.

“As humans who consume animal products, fruits, grains, and vegetables, we are all invested in agriculture whether we realize it or not. We are finding that more and more students are choosing to take ag classes for their science credit because they have a genuine interest in where their food comes from. I think it is quite eye-opening for some of them who have had very little exposure to the field of agriculture up until that point,” McCracken said.

NTCC offers three associate degrees and three certificates in agriculture: Agriculture Associate of Science (AS); Agriculture Associate of Applied Science (AAS); Sustainable Agriculture AAS; Farm and Ranch Management Certificate; Sustainable Agriculture Level 1 Certificate; and Sustainable Agriculture Level 2 Certificate.

The Ag program is located across FM 1735 from the main NTCC campus. The state-of-the-art Elizabeth Hoggatt Whatley Ag Complex offers classrooms, a teaching kitchen, a large outdoor covered pavilion and faculty offices. It sits on a 250-acre working farm/ranch that gives students the opportunity to learn in a real-world environment.

goats off to market

“NTCC is one of very few colleges that still has a full-scale working farm for students to learn on. It is one thing to teach students about growing vegetables in a classroom, but when they actually get outside and get their hands in the soil and see the fruits of their labor grow it is transformational,” McCracken said.

To learn more about NTCC Ag, visit or contact McCracken at or 903-434-8267.



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