Northwest’s John Deere Program hosts expo and open house, opens IDT lab

Melody Skipper (story) and Amanda Wilson (video) are interns in the Office of Communication at Northwest Mississippi Community College from The University of Mississippi.

Northwest Mississippi Community College has an enormous impact on the agricultural industry, reaching everyone from high school students thinking about careers in agriculture to seasoned working professionals. In less than one month, the college’s Agricultural/John Deere Technology program launched a new Integrated Distance Technology (IDT) classroom, hosted an expo for current agricultural professionals and welcomed dozens of prospective students to their open house.

A new IDT lab, launched in February and currently run by Northwest instructors Terry Schuman and Sterling Schmidt, now broadcasts John Deere pro-tech classes globally, affording dealers and their staff the opportunity to learn about the latest products and improvements in John Deere technology. There are nine labs in the U.S. that are utilized as training hubs to broadcast these pro-tech classes into dealerships across the world. According to Luis Duran, Virtual Training Technology Analyst at John Deere, dealers and employees are able to save money in travel and training costs by using this type of state-of-the-art technology.

Lina Pham, Aftermarket Manager at John Deere, hosted an expo at Northwest Mississippi Community College for over 70 dealers, including Wade, Incorporated, Mississippi Ag, Arkansas Ag, Mouse Implement and Tennessee Tractor. Dealers were able to see a preview of the brand’s newest high-speed planter and learned about what parts can be retrofit into to older planters. “This is basically a dealer training to get our customers aware that if they don’t want to spend the money this year or next year, they are still able to upgrade parts for their current machinery,” said Pham. According to Pham, farmers reap the benefits of this new technology by improving efficiency, productivity and daily operations.

The John Deere Open House was held on Friday, Feb. 14 from 10:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Ag-Tech building in Senatobia. Presenters talked about the future of farming, continuing education in John Deere and offered their perspective on skilled technicians.  Zach Goff of Olive Branch is in his second year of the program and assisted in showing prospective students around the facility. “There is always something with John Deere that you can learn—always a new product line. They are the best about educating their techs,” said Goff.

WADE, Incorporated is a John Deere dealer, with 11 locations throughout the state that partners with Northwest in training and recruiting technicians of all ages. Ben Hargett, Human Resources Director at WADE, Inc. works specifically with the Agricultural-Technology program at Northwest, where a large part of their technicians come from. “They are experienced, educated guys who bring a particular skill set that benefits us. It is top-notch quality. We expect nothing but the best from ag-tech and pro-tech training in our partnership with John Deere and Northwest,” said Hargett.

For more information about the Agricultural/John Deere Technology program at Northwest, contact instructor Jeremy Massey at or (662) 560-4185.

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