IVCC Celebrates the Opening of an Ag Facility

IV Leader Staff

Illinois Valley Community College celebrated the opening of its Agriculture Center and the revival of its ag program Sept. 24 in a virtual ceremony that can be viewed at www.ivcc.edu/agriculturecomplex.

The 60 x 100-foot building will house tractors, tillage tools, planters and other high-tech ag equipment to be used by students and faculty on the college’s 150-acre farm.

IVCC President Jerry Corcoran said the program has taken tremendous strides since being rejuvenated by the administration and board.

“Five years ago, we decided to do something about the fact too many high school students were leaving the district to pursue college ag studies elsewhere. With the best data available, we relaunched our agriculture program and have been pleased with the results.”

Corcoran said locating the new building where an old barn stood was intentional.

“We’re standing on the site where the Segaert farm was located. Our goal was to stay connected to that antiquated dairy barn with a new facility that carried on the tradition of farming – but in a new era with state-of-the-art equipment and technology.”

State Sen. Sue Rezin (R-Morris), lauded community colleges for providing the “best value” and for “responding quickly to community needs.

“What an amazing job everyone has done here in a short number of years,” Rezin said.

State Rep. Lance Yednock (D-Ottawa) said, “It’s exciting to be opening up something new in this day and age” and pledged to “continue to fight for the resources you need to educate the next generation of farmers and agri-business professionals.”

Ag program co-coordinator and instructor Willard Mott said the program began with two courses, nine students and one degree and expressed appreciation for the backing the program has received from the administration, board, donors and legislators.

“Thank you for your unprecedented support and enthusiasm for our program.”

Mott’s counterpart, Kathryn Seebruck, said with the addition of animal science and cannabis production, there are now 19 courses and 83 students have taken at least one ag course.

“We will always be progressing and changing – always be forward-looking,” she said.

Ag club president Luke Lovgren of Princeton, now in his third semester, said the program “keeps getting better and better” and credited Seebruck and Mott as “great instructors and sponsors.”

Lovgren added that he feels “well prepared for transfer” to Illinois State University’s ag program in January.

Also attending the ceremony with his family was Brian Michel of Edward Jones in Sugar Grove, financial advisor for ag program donor Barbara Davis of Batavia. Mrs. Davis donated $50,000 to the Ag Center’s construction and each year provides ten $4,500 scholarships to IVCC ag students.

Speaking directly to Mott and Seebruck, IVCC board chair Jane Goetz said trustees “will continue to provide the resources you need to recruit, educate and graduate industry-ready students. We stand with you and believe in your ability to establish a flagship program.”