The pandemic put a halt to many things over the past year. For Nate Rahmig, of Bridgeport, Neb., that was just the start. Over the summer, while enjoying a day at the lake on a stand up jet ski, he injured himself severely enough to require knee surgery. That put his dreams of starting his education in Ag Tech on hold.
The new year has brought good news for him: a full recovery and the ability to start with a new class of fellow students in the John Deere Ag Tech program. He’s enrolled at Southeast Community College in Millford, Neb., where he will be working toward a two-year Associates Degree. To help him achieve his goal, albeit a semester delayed, he’s received a scholarship from the Equipment Dealers Foundation, which is also matched by his hometown dealership 21st Century Equipment in Bridgeport, Neb. “I really appreciate this scholarship,” says Nate. “It’s helped me a lot to pay for tools, tuition and room and board.”
Making It New
While Nate’s parents did not farm, his grandfather, Jerry, had acreage and a custom hay operation. “I grew up around my grandpa and the tractor, and it’s something I really enjoy,” he says. If a machine or tractor broke down, his grandfather would ask him to get a tool, and he’d watch and learn. “I loved taking something that didn’t work and make it new.” His love of working on machinery grew from that experience. And just this past year, Nate took over the hay business from his grandfather, who is now 80.
Deciding to go into the technical side of the business wasn’t just a whim for Nate. He job-shadowed at the dealership during his junior and senior years in high school, which gave him a good feel for if this was something he wanted to do as a career.
He liked what he saw—and experienced—at 21st Century Equipment. It was also a fit for how he views the future. His goal after he finishes school in December of 2022 is to return to the small town where he grew up and to work at the dealership. “I love the small-town feel. It’s where my family is from and where I want to live and someday buy a house and raise a family,” he says.
A Job of the Future
In the meantime, he will work at the 21st Century dealership this summer, as well as the following summer, when it will be an official part of his schoolwork. It’s work he’s looking forward to. “I know the people there and they know me, so there’s that bond—that trust. Plus, it’s a satisfying feeling to be able to fix something and help that person get back to what they need to be doing,” he adds.
As far as others who may be interested in a career as an Ag Technician, Nate says that it’s a good decision. “There is always a need for agriculture, as it’s how we get our food, so there will always be a need for technicians.”
About the Scholarship
The Equipment Dealers Foundation (EDF) was established in 1988 to provide scholarship funding to help meet the industry’s needs for trained individuals. Since then, the EDF has continued to focus on workforce development initiatives that benefit our industry. Most recently it launched Technicians for Tomorrow, an awareness campaign designed to educate parents and teachers about the benefits of a career as an equipment technician for their children and students. EDF also provides temporary assistance for dealerships and its employees affected by natural disasters. Learn more about EDF here.