Chemeketa Community College has received a $200,000 gift from Northwest Farm Credit Services to build a greenhouse in the new Agricultural Hub, which is slated to open on the Salem Campus in the coming weeks. This new hub will serve the local agricultural community and industry with classroom and community meeting space, garden/farm demonstration fields, a woody ornamental lab, and beneficial insectary. The complex includes new indoor and outdoor facilities for Chemeketa’s Agriculture and Horticulture programs, space for industry consortia and commodity groups, learning gardens connected to local high school and FFA curriculum, and is located adjacent to the Marion Polk Food Share youth farm.
Though a greenhouse was in the original plans for the Agricultural Hub, construction costs prohibited the college from moving forward with this endeavor. When Northwest Farm Credit Services heard of the college’s difficult decision to cut the greenhouse from the plans, they surprised college officials with their generous gift.
“Northwest FCS makes long-term investments in education and research, as part of our ongoing commitment to improve lives in the industries and communities we serve,” said Brent Fetch, Oregon President, Northwest Farm Credit Services. “We are pleased to support Chemeketa Community College’s Agricultural Hub because we believe this program will yield the next generation of Oregon’s agricultural talent, which is vital to the industry’s long-term success.”
Chemeketa’s Agricultural Hub will provide students with education and training in agri-business, agri-technology, agri-science, and agri-logistics. Sean Kolb, Relationship Manager of Northwest Farm Credit Services mentioned his personal connection to community colleges and how important they are. “As a community college alumni and member of the Ag Business Management Advisory Committee, I’m delighted Northwest FCS is investing in our region’s ag industry through Chemeketa Community College’s Agricultural Hub,” Kolb stated. “The college provides critical education support to meet the workforce needs of our agriculture community.”
Northwest Farm Credit Services announced the gift during a virtual meeting with college administrators. Holly Nelson, Dean of Regional Education and Academic Development who has been at the core of the Agricultural Hub’s development stated, “Chemeketa is extraordinarily grateful for the significant investment gift by Northwest Farm Credit Services in Chemeketa’s Agricultural Hub. This sizable donation shows their true commitment in supporting the local community and creating a vibrant agricultural industry in the mid-Willamette valley.”
College President Jessica Howard echoed that sentiment, “We cannot thank Northwest Farm Credit Services enough for their trust in Chemeketa, and we look forward to serving the agricultural industry with greater workforce training opportunities, a gathering place for the agricultural community, and robust opportunities for students for years to come.”
For more than 50 years, Chemeketa Community College has committed itself to transforming lives and our community through exceptional learning experiences in the Mid-Willamette Valley. As the second multi-campus district in Oregon, Chemeketa serves 30,000 students annually at its Salem and Yamhill Valley campuses, as well as Brooks, Eola, Winema, Dallas, Woodburn and Chemeketa Center for Business and Industry (CCBI).
Chemeketa Community College is an equal opportunity/affirmative action employer and educational institution.