Ag Safety Center at NICC delivers life-saving training programs

National Education Center for Agricultural Safety (NECAS) Director Dan Neenan presented to the Northeast Iowa Community College (NICC) Board of Trustees at its June 19 meeting to provide updates on successful outcomes of its farm safety programming and give an overview of services the center delivers to local, regional, national and Canadian communities. Neenan and his team coordinate a variety of safety training programs for fire departments, Emergency Medical Services, agribusinesses and independent farmers each year. NECAS is the only farm safety training center in the U.S.

“Every training program that NECAS creates can be conducted on-site at the College’s Peosta campus, and they are also designed to be mobile to deliver the training where people live,” Neenan explained. “Our grain engulfment simulator training has achieved nine documented saved lives.” The training and grain bin rescue equipment resulted in four successful rescues in Iowa - in Greeley, La Motte, Littleport and Newton - and five respectively in the states of Idaho, Kansas, Mississippi, Ohio and Wisconsin, Neenan added.

Other simulators train participants in manure pit rescue, confined spaces and technical rescue team training. With the assistance of a $7,795 grant from the Dubuque Racing Association, the center is designing a new anhydrous ammonia response training prop this year.

Neenan reminded community members to attend Progressive Agriculture Safety Days held each summer for children four to 12 years of age and to observe National Farm Safety & Health Week from September 17-25. Nearly 4,000 children have participated in Progressive Agriculture Safety Days. More information is available at

The Trustees heard updates from Wendy Mihm-Herold, Ph.D., vice president of business and community solutions, and Rhonda Seibert, associate vice president of operations. Mihm-Herold described two infrastructure projects planned for the Calmar campus that will be supported by Accelerated Careers in Education (ACE) funding. The first project, at a cost of $80,000, will enhance classroom and lab areas for a Medical Assistant program starting at the Calmar campus next fall. Another $50,000 will be used for a construction project to remodel current classrooms at Iowa’s Dairy Center into a surgery suite for the Large Animal Veterinary Technician students and faculty.

Mihm-Herold outlined the parameters of annual ACE state funding for the Trustees. “The ACE funds must be used to invest in high-demand, high-wage and high-growth occupation programming and can only be used for infrastructure projects and construction of facilities.”

After a closed session, the Trustees approved Fiscal Year 2018 employment agreements with the NICC Higher Education Association, Support Staff Association and for non-bargaining college staff. The president’s contract was extended through June 2020.

The next meeting of NICC's Board of Trustees is July 17 at its Calmar campus.

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