Alumni Stories

Northeast Iowa Community College (NICC) provides education in Ag Business, Dairy Science, Beef Science and Large Animal Veterinary Technician programs at the world-class facility in Calmar, Iowa known as Iowa's Dairy Center.

Nathan Adams

Waucoma, IA
Adaway Dairy LLC, 240 cows
2003 Graduate

"You learn about the details involved in day to day dairying and get to see a lot of different ways of doing things. I was able to stay close to home as a young farmer and still get a quality education."

Nathan farms in partnership with his family; half of the herd is currently milked by Delaval robots.

Reid Balzer

Owatonna, MN
Lely North America
2012 Graduate

"When looking at the best options for a two-year school, Northeast Iowa Community College topped my list. Right after graduation from NICC I took advantage of the opportunity to join a great company, Lely. Now I'm a feed and barn specialist for Lely and work with many of their other products."

Reid travels across the United States through his job with Lely; his family farm also installed Lely robots in 2015.

Jennifer (Brumm) Bentley

Decorah, IA
ISU Extension and Outreach Dairy Specialist
2000 Graduate

"I was looking for a two-year college in Iowa that would specialize in dairy management. I visited three different schools, but NICC was the only one that had full access to a dairy farm. NICC can help students succeed, whether they are going to school for two years, four years or eight years. NICC is a great stepping stone for anyone's career path."

Jenn works for ISU Extension and Outreach. She and her husband, Noah, have two children, Owen and Addison.

Josh Corcoran

Decorah, IA
Nelson Dairy Consultants
2004 Graduate

"The experience I gained at NICC helped me when I transferred to Iowa State University to complete my studying in animal nutrition. While at NICC I was introduced to Nelson Dairy Consultants and have worked with them since 2006 as a dairy herd nutritionist."

Josh works as a nutritionist with Nelson Dairy Consultants in Decorah, Iowa.

Tom Gavin

Lansing, IA
Gav-N-View Farms Inc., 300 cows
2007 Graduate

"I learned the business side of looking at the future and profitability to make my own operation better. NICC is great no matter who you are. You try to learn as much from your family as possible, but you need to see different things."

The farm is run as a corporation between Tom, his father and uncle. Tom's wife, Alana, is a physical therapist in Waukon, Iowa.

Amanda (Hendrickson) Gillespie

Preston, MN
Roadside Dairy, 120 cows
2010 Graduate

"Northeast Iowa Community College is filled with people of similar interests. I found such satisfaction through the great student/teacher relationship; faculty really push you to be successful. The College offers a quality education in just two years; the Animal Health class taught me a lot about pharmaceuticals and treatment protocols. I felt I learned just as much at NICC as I would have at a four-year college."

Amanda worked for Dairy Lab Services for a year before returning to the family farm in 2014. Her husband, Aaron, farms with his family in a crop, beef and hog operation. Amanda and Aaron have one son, Tucker.

Brady Goetz

Farley, IA
Strief Dairy, 470 cows
2013 Graduate

"I have always had the dream of becoming a veterinarian, and as a student at Northeast Iowa Community College, I had every opportunity to succeed — the facility is incredible. Currently, I am the herdsman for Strief Farms in Farley, Iowa, and numerous industry members have encouraged me to pursue my education to study veterinary medicine, so I am."

In Fall 2016, Brady will be working toward his bachelor's degree with hopes of vet school at Iowa State University.

Adam Hinckley

Chatfield, MN
Hinckley Holsteins, 400 cows
2005 Graduate

"The teachers at Northeast Iowa Community College teach you how to learn, step-by-step, so you could continue to learn outside of the classroom. In my current role from a management perspective, agriculture marketing was one of the big helping points in my career. Camaraderie with other students allowed us to form lasting friendships and network far beyond the walls of the College."

Hinckley Holsteins is home to 400 cows with a 32,058 RHA and 4,000 acres. Adam and his wife Rachel have four boys, Chase, Bentley, Dallas, and Parker and are expecting child number five in June 2017.

Cole & Amy (Humpal) Hoscheit

Caledonia, MN
Hoscheit Dairy Farms, 200 cows
2005 & 2004 Graduates

"NICC kept my education cost down by cutting a year out of my undergrad work before getting into vet school, it was a very hands-on experience. Teachers and staff are very practical and have worked in their field of experience, which is immensely helpful."

"NICC helped with my management skills and taught me to think outside the box to advance my dairy animal care and husbandry."

Amy is a mixed animal veterinarian and Cole owns and operates the family dairy farm.

Chad & Erin (Kuehl) Hunt

Elkader, IA
Hunt-Haven Holsteins, 60 cows
1999 & 2002 Graduates

"NICC is not just a college, but a resource center for informational meetings and continuing education. It's a place where people can get involved."

Chad and Erin have two children, Blake and Kayla. Erin also works for Animal Health International in inside sales.

Tony Kasper

Owatonna, MN
Kasper Dairy, 350 cows
2006 Graduate

"I learned how to manage cows in a large setting; you get to see various ways of doing things on different operations from farm tours. You learn from your instructors and classmates along with alumni."

Tony is the herdsman on his family's dairy farm.

Kyle Koester

Dakota, IL
Koester Dairy, Inc., 300 cows
2006 Graduate

"I believe the courses in the Dairy Science program at Northeast Iowa Community College have applied to my career in the dairy industry. Whether it was herd lab in the barn, ag business, or speech, they apply to dairy farming. Some of my most memorable experiences were being involved with the Dairy Club, being on the dairy judging teams and helping to start the first Dairy Club sale at the College. Attending Postsecondary Agricultural Student (PAS) conferences and competitions were also great experiences."

Together his family manages Koester Dairy Inc., home to 300 registered Holsteins carrying their K-Star prefix with a 36,000lb RHA.

Emily (Miller) Kurtzleben

Orange City, IA
Elanco Animal Health
2004 Graduate

"At NICC, you learned to think outside the box and problem solve on the farm, which taught me responsibility, leadership, and decision making skills. This college is a place where kids can go that have a passion for dairy."

Emily is a dairy sales representative for Elanco Animal Health. She works with herds ranging from 400-15,000 head.

Brian & Heidi Lantzky

Hawkeye, IA
Hei-Bri Jerseys, 175 cows
1992 Graduates

"Our education at NICC was the building block for starting our farm; we formed our partnership by meeting each other there. NICC offers a high quality education for not a lot of money, as well as a good opportunity for continuing education. We most benefited from the breeding and animal health classes. We learned how to manage and treat our own cows, along with learning to read pedigrees; essential to our registered Jersey herd today."

Heidi and Brian met at NICC and went on to form their registered Jersey herd.

Tanner Mashek

Calmar, IA
Hilltop Acres Farm, 400 cows
2015 Graduate

"Northeast Iowa Community College was a great choice for me because the college is close to home, allowing me to continue working with our cows on a daily basis. I also completed an international internship with Swissgenetics in Switzerland; this allowed me to bring back relevant learning experiences to the farm."

Tanner is the seventh generation to operate his family's farm, Hilltop Acres, of registered Brown Swiss.

Kyle & Sara (Marshall) Mathison

Cumberland, WI
Crisly Dairy Farm, 100 cows
2010 Graduates

"With high input costs we learned the knowledge to protect ourselves through marketing. Students come from all over to attend NICC; we think that says a lot for the school."

Kyle and his father own and operate the farm while Sara works for United Ag Services.

Dawn (Stendel) Mausser

Epworth, IA
Agriculture Education Teacher
2001 Graduate

"As an agriculture educator at Maquoketa Valley and Beckman Catholic high schools, I teach and advise more than 100 students annually, and I found Northeast Iowa Community College's Dairy Science program to be the best choice for me. The greatest experiences came from my internships; they helped to shape me into the educator I am today; after I graduated, I knew I was meant to work in industry and with youth."

Dawn has coached several state winning and national qualifying teams in FFA in the areas of Dairy Cattle Evaluation, Milk Quality and Products and National AgriScience Fair. In addition she assists her husband Stephen on their 250 head cow/calf operation.

Alicia Metz

Rushford, MN
Metz's Hart-Land Dairy, Creamery, and Honey, 200 cows
2010 Graduate

"Northeast Iowa Community College was crucial to getting me where I am today, and completing my internship with Accelerated Genetics was an amazing opportunity. My internship really showed me what aspect of the industry I wanted to be involved in. I was even hired on with Accelerated through my second year of school and then after graduation. This was the stepping stone to getting my job with ABS, and this wouldn't have been possible without my NICC internship to point me in the right direction."

In addition to being a herd analyst for ABS Global, Alicia's family farm Metz's Hart-Land Dairy, Creamery, and Honey began processing cheese curds in July 2014 on-farm.

Ryan Moellers

Cresco, IA
KDS Farms, 800 cows
2003 Graduate

"Dave Lawstuen, Dairy Science faculty, is a veteran dairy professional who teaches a lot of details. He instilled in me that a quality cow is achieved through changing genetics. Seeing our herd improve with genetic selection has added to our longevity, type and net merit. I learned a lot of the basics, coupled with PCDART training that gave me a very good handle on managing cows. Formulating diets and determining the costs of ingredients were valuable learning concepts. I never looked at any other school; we have a state of the art set up here."

Ryan duties include managing the dairy, heifers, and employees, along with making cropping decisions and tracking inventories. His wife Meagan works for MiEnergy Cooperative, they have four children — Kenzie, Bryce, Dayne (pictured), and Harkin.

Kate (Kious) Root

Decorah, IA
De-Su Holsteins, 1600 cows
2008 Graduate

"Before I enrolled in the Northeast Iowa Community College Dairy Science program, I learned while working on a dairy farm. I truly enjoyed having the dairy herd at Iowa's Dairy Center to continue my hands-on learning."

Kate is the assistant herd manager for De-Su Holsteins where she manages the reproduction work for the 1,600 cow dairy.

Aaron Schatz

Cresco, IA
Schatz Dairy Farm, LLC, 250 cows
2003 Graduate

"When I was a student at Northeast Iowa Community College, I was able to observe management of cows in a freestall barn, which really is the future of the industry. The Dairy Science faculty and Iowa's Dairy Center opened my eyes to many new ideas and management possibilities. The Dairy Center shows that we're looking out for the next generation and plan on continuing the legacy of farm families."

Along with the dairy, Aaron also owns a custom chopping business. His wife, Melissa, owns and manages Sue-Z-Q's restaurant in Cresco; they have two children — Nolan and Alanna

Jon Schmidt

Owatonna, MN
Schmity Holsteins LLC, 180 cows
2002 Graduate

"What I do on the farm on a day to day basis I learned at NICC. My internship in New York at Welcome Stock Farm was priceless. That really got me into embryos, registering, flushing and merchandising my cattle when I came home. NICC gives young people an educational opportunity in agriculture and dairy with a very hands-on approach."

Jon farms in partnership with his brother Matt for their high genetic herd.

Megan (Kleve) Schoulte

McGregor, IA
Schoulte Dairy, 75 cows
2003 Graduate

"NICC really gave me the basics I needed to know in order to be successful; you really are learning by doing. You are able to get your foot in the door for employment opportunities after your education at NICC; I really enjoyed the hands-on and working on the farm."

Megan farms with her husband, Joshua, and three young children.

Maureen (Kregel) Seevers

Guttenberg, IA
Kregel Farms, 380 cows
2005 Graduate

"The hands-on practical application along with the herd health practices and techniques I learned are very critical to daily on farm protocols. The herd labs were great; I also worked at the college's dairy farm which further built my herd skills. NICC offers a way to preserve the dairy industry and the ability for the future generation to learn the latest and greatest in dairy technology and apply those practices themselves."

Maureen is the herd manager on her family's dairy farm. Her husband Jim works for Three Rivers FS in the precision farming department.

Charlie Uhlenhopp

Westgate, IA
AMPI Field Representative
1999 Graduate

"Northeast Iowa Community College offered me a diverse view of the dairy industry, and the faculty teach innovative ways to increase production. Nutrition was the most beneficial class for me. The Dairy Center continues to grow and become more in-depth based on the demands of the industry."

Charlie has worked for AMPI since his college internship in 1999. He serves 65 farmer clients and is a FARM Program certifier for over 250 farms. Additionally, he still maintains a herd of 40 cows

Brian Uhlenkamp

Edgewood, IA
Uhlenkamp Dairy, 120 cows
1996 Graduate

"Northeast Iowa Community College was the first experience that opened my eyes to other ways of doing things; it showed me that you can be successful in multiple ways. We were exposed to all areas of the dairy. Having a balance between topics was great in order for students to find the area they are passionate about. The Dairy Center has shown a willingness to change and adapt to technology. You can't stop learning if you want to be successful."

Brian milks and manages his 91 cow herd with the help of two Lely robots. He and his wife, Kelli, have adopted three children — Lynn, Nick, and Jaxon and serve as a foster family.

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