Submitted by Craig McEnany 2022
The Agribusiness program was established in the fall of 1968. The first classes were held in the Ankeny United Methodist Church education unit. The program moved to the Ankeny Campus in the spring of 1971 where classrooms and labs were dedicated to the program. The initial focus of the program was on business operations related to feed and fertilizer. The primary job outcome was as a worker in an elevator or agriculture related business. It was initially a two-year program (7 quarters). The initial enrollment was approximately 24 students.
The program included internships that allowed both "hands on" experience as well as the opportunity for potential employers to get to know prospective program graduates. The placement rate was high from the first graduating class. An important aspect of the program was an annual several-day field trip to grain marketing facilities along the Mississippi River, primarily St. Louis and New Orleans.
An active advisory committee, including Robert Lounsberry, Iowa Secretary of Agriculture, and Lewis Bair, who operated an elevator in Waukee, assisted in development of the curriculum and assisted with student placement.
The program has evolved to a level where it continues to offer an Associate in Applied Science (AAS) degree in Agribusiness with certificates of specialization in Agronomy, Animal Science, Farm Management, Sustainable Agriculture and Sales/Service. Through collaborative efforts, concurrent enrollment opportunities exist with area high schools and the program is transferrable to Iowa State University. Approximately 50 of the graduates from 2009 - 2011 transferred onto a four-year institution.
Faculty Members (years with the program)
- Edward Billings (1967)
- Harold Gamm (1968-1973)
- Lindley Hoyt (1969-1974)
- George Rogers (1970-1973)
- Duane Anderson (1972-1975)
- Rusty Caldwell (1973-1987)
- Rudy Thorsheim (1973-1987)
- Joe Harper (1987-1995)
- Craig McEnany (1988-2017)
- Ole Cleveland (1995-2005)
- Dwayne Faidley (2006-)
- Tim Doud (2011-)
- Daniel “Woody” Wilson Adjunct (2013–2015) (2015-2019)
- Andrea Rouse Adjunct (2016–2017) (2018 - )
- Travis Lautner (2018 - )
Duane Anderson moved from the Agribusiness program in 1975 to serve as instructor and program chair of the Commercial Horticulture program until his retirement in 1994. Joe Harper served as the Farm CAP Director from 1985 - 1987; this statewide program was coordinated at every Iowa community college to offer assistance during the 1980's farm crisis. Tim Doud was an instructor in the horticulture program from 1999 - 2010 when he was reassigned to the Agribusiness program.
- Edward Billings (1967)
- Harold Gamm (1968-1972)
- Lindley Hoyt (1973-1974)
- Rusty Caldwell (1974-1986)
- Rudy Thorsheim (1987)
- Joe Harper (1988-1995)
- Craig McEnany (1995-2017)
- Dwayne Faidley (2018 – 2021)
- Tim Doud (2018- )
- Travis Lautner (2021 - )
- Mason Kolbet (01/2006-06/2007)
- Wade Boehm (01/2008 - 03/2012)
- Craig McEnany (03/2012 – 05/2012)
- Travis Lautner (05/2012 – 08/2018)
- Mike King (08/2018 – 12/2021)
- Jacob Githens (01/2022 - )
DMACC Agribusiness Hall of Fame (est. 2010)
- Dennis Albaugh (2010)
- Gerald Lamers (2010)
- Joseph Harper (2010)
- Carol Schneiders Collins (2010)
The program remained a strong viable program until the 1980's "farm crisis." During the 1986-87 year, the program was placed on review by the College for a student count of 12 total students. In the fall of 1987, the first year starting class was 30 students, removing the program from possible elimination by the College with guidance from Joe Harper who was brought on as a faculty member. He replaced Rusty Caldwell who had retired due to health issues.
At the completion of the 1987 fall semester, Rudy Thorheim who have served as faculty member for 14 years and as a program chair passed away due to a health-related problem from shoveling snow.
The significant lost of the two lead faculty members who had worked and served together for 14 years brought about a major refocus on how to move the program forward.
Significant Achievements for the program since 1988 include:
- An aggressive recruitment plan was established in 1988 to promote the program among potential high agricultural programs using the "Ace in the Hole" campaign. The “farm crisis” of the 1980’s had significantly reduced the number of students who were part of the agricultural business program.
- 1988 – 1994 – The faculty members of the program made annual visits to 60 high schools to recruit students for the program. This outreach continued with annual representation at the Iowa FFA Leadership Conference and the Iowa Association of Agricultural Educators conference.
- 1994 - Fall semester individual student enrollment in program reached an all-time high of 60 students in the combination of first- and second-year students.
- 2000 - Created a partnership with the Dallas County Board of Supervisors to utilize the Dallas County Farm as a learning laboratory for livestock and crop production activities. Students and instructors provided input on activities at the farm with guidance from the Dave Boots, Farm Manager for the Dallas County Care Facilities/Farm.
- 2000 - The Agribusiness program was instrumental in establishing the initial Veterinary Technology curriculum through collaborative efforts with the Des Moines Public School System at the request of President Joseph Borgen. This program was changed to a fully accredited Veterinary Technology program in 2004 with accreditation from the AVMA now located on the DMACC Ankeny Campus.
- 2002 – The Agribusiness program participated in the Iowa Governor’s Charity Steer Show as the sponsor of steer to help raise funds for the Ronald McDonald Houses of Iowa.
- 2004 – DMACC started an annual presence by sponsorship of a recruiting a booth at the National FFA Convention that was annually attended by 50,000 FFA members and advisors. This recruiting effort was maintained for 15 years which gave the program a national presence.
- 2004 - DMACC became a partner in establishing the FFA Enrichment Center on the DMACC Ankeny Campus through the Iowa FFA Foundation Capital Campaign. A significant lead gift of $1.5 million from Dennis Albaugh of Ankeny served to bring significant partners into the 60,000 square foot building project. Mr. Albaugh was the first graduate from the Agribusiness program in 1970 and is the owner of Albaugh, Inc., a formulator/packager of crop protection products distributed in the United States with production facilities located around the world.
- 2005 - On July 1st, the Agribusiness program signed a formal rental agreement with the Dallas County Board of Supervisors to operate a livestock and crop operation at the Dallas County Farm, located north of Adel. The rental of 325 acres of crop ground and pasture allowed the program to incorporate more management opportunities for the students in running a cow/calf herd, a small swine farrow-to-finish operation and a complete crop program. Niche marketing opportunities have been incorporated into the operation with the selling of DMACC beef and pork.
- 2010 - The Agribusiness program moved into the new FFA Enrichment Center building with access to 6 classrooms, 2 science labs, computer lab and faculty offices located on the second floor.
- 2011 - The program reached another enrollment milestone with an individual student program count of 123.
- 2011 - The program reached another milestone with the addition of a third full-time instructor added to the faculty with the increase student growth with individual and credit count. Tim Doud who had been an instructor will the Horticulture program since 1999 started teaching full-time in the Agribusiness program in the spring semester 2011.
- 2013 – The Agribusiness program was recognized by the National Association of Agricultural Educators as the Region III NAAE Outstanding Postsecondary Agricultural Education program. This honor highlighted the top six regional programs for the year.
- 2015 - The program sponsored Iowa Governor Charity Steer Show entry raided by Dan Eslick of Dayton and shown by President Rob Denson was selected as the Grand Champion Judge’s Choice steer at the Iowa State Fair. The $31,000 sale price set a new sale record as of that show.
- 2016 – The Mark Pearson FFA Leadership Scholarship was established in April to recognized students who have served as chapter presidents from Iowa high schools that offered FFA as part of their intra-curricular program with agricultural education classes. The first class of scholarship recipients was represented by 78 individuals who were provided with two years of tuition to attend DMACC.
- 2016 – The program reached another milestone with an all-time enrollment of 215 individual students within the program.
- 2017 - The retirement of Craig McEnany in December of 2017 acknowledged the retirement of the longest serving faculty member in the program since its inception with 29.5 years of classroom instruction. At that time, he became the longest serving program chair associated with the department at 22 years.
- 2019 - The Dallas County Board of Supervisors gave approval to a plan by the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship (IDALS) and the Des Moines Area Community College (DMACC) Agribusiness Program to construct a five-acre wetland on county farmland rented by DMACC and used as a teaching farm.
- 2020 – The impact of the COVID-19 virus moved a majority of the DMACC classes to a virtual learning format. The Agribusiness program faculty were able to continue offering the experiential learning “hands-on” by managing social distancing requirements for laboratory classes.
All students are members of the Agribusiness Club with affiliation to the Iowa PAS (Postsecondary Agricultural Students) and National PAS organizations. A complete record of student accomplishments is maintained in the office files and the Iowa PAS website. Specific highlights include the election of DMACC students to national officer positions:
- Carol Schneiders, President - 1991
- Shon Florman, Secretary - 1996
- Neil Westrum, Vice President – 2001
- Cori Fitzgerald, Vice President – 2014
- Jamie Pudenz, Vice President – 2015