LINCOLN, NE (AP) — The Nebraska College of Technical Agriculture has signed a cooperation agreement with Mississippi State University to train students for careers in the poultry industry.

The new program includes three semesters at the Nebraska college in Curtis and a semester at MSU's College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, The Lincoln Journal Star reported.

Students enrolled in the program will earn an associate's degree in applied animal science with a concentration in poultry science.

The program is expected to begin next fall.

Ron Rosati, dean of the Nebraska College of Technical Agriculture, said he chose to partner with the Mississippi university's poultry science department because of its reputation for training leaders in agriculture.

"The quality of the teaching, research and extension programs in poultry science at Mississippi State are well known throughout the country," Rosati said. "The MSU program offers hands-on learning in facilities that are similar to those found in a commercial setting. This partnership will give our students the tools they need to succeed in Nebraska's growing poultry industry."

Mary Beck, the poultry science department head at Mississippi State, spent 25 years as a faculty member at the University of Nebraska. She said her relationship with Nebraska College of Technical Agriculture helped facilitate the agreement.

"It is exciting to be able to partner with a college in Nebraska to help train the state's workforce in poultry and expand agriculture in a place where I spent much of my career," Beck said. "This is a unique partnership that should be mutually beneficial to our two institutions and states."

MSU's program is one of six nationwide that offers undergraduate and graduate degrees in poultry science.

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