Norfolk, Neb. — AKRS Equipment, a John Deere dealership with 27 locations in Nebraska and Kansas, has committed $50,000 to the capital campaign to modernize the agriculture education facilities at Northeast Community College in Norfolk.

“We understand the need for modern ag facilities at Northeast,” said Dennis Smydra, AKRS Equipment general sales manager, “and AKRS Equipment is proud to invest in the future of agriculture in this area.”

Smydra serves as a member of the Ag Advisory Committee at Northeast, providing input on programs and curriculum and helping keep ag education at Northeast relevant.

“We have partnered with the Northeast ag department for many years,” he said. “AKRS Equipment has helped Northeast train future farmers and ranchers on cutting edge technology, providing both equipment and staff. We have hired many Northeast students to fill skilled positions at several of our locations.”

AKRS Equipment, which is locally owned, is headquartered in Lincoln. AKRS equipment was recently developed with the merger of Plains Equipment Group, Stutheit Implement and Green Line.

“The Agriculture & Water Center of Excellence at Northeast Community College will provide a 21st century training facility for future farmers and ranchers and agribusiness employees,” said Dr. Tracy Kruse, associate vice president of development and external affairs and executive director of the Northeast Foundation. “These are the young people who will return to the small towns in our 20-county service area to work and raise their families. They will shop on Main Street, send their children to local schools, and keep the communities of northeast Nebraska vital and growing.”

The funding for the new agriculture facilities will come from the College’s commitment of $10 million, as well as external fundraising to fill the gap. With a total project cost of $22.3 million, the College has raised enough funds to begin construction; however, fundraising for the Nexus campaign will continue, as more is needed for equipment, technology and furnishings. Site work on the project began in April and construction on the first phase of construction is expected to be completed by Fall of 2021.

In August 2019, the Acklie Charitable Foundation (ACF) announced a $5 million lead gift to the Nexus project. ACF was founded by the late Duane Acklie and Phyllis Acklie, both Madison County natives and graduates of Norfolk Junior College, a predecessor institution of Northeast Community College.