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Ag programs now offered in face-to-face format

September 17, 2015

Heartland’s agriculture program is growing. This fall, HCC will change the existing agriculture curriculum from distance learning to a face-to-face format. The change stems from a need to keep up with the rapid development of the agriculture industry.

Several diverse opportunities in agriculture that don’t just include growing corn

“McLean County is one of the most rural areas in the state” said HCC’s Instructional Chair of Science, Lauren Denofrio-Corrales, “With that comes a lot of job opportunity. Plus, the baby boomers are preparing to retire from the industry which will also provide several opportunities.”

Denofrio-Corrales adds not only are there a lot of job opportunities, but several types of jobs available. This includes soil and crop science research and application, animal science and veterinary services, production management and others.

HCC is determined to “grow the program right”

In the past, HCC exclusively provided seats in a sequence of introductory agricultural science foundation courses taught by University of Illinois professors via an online education tool. With growing interest in the field, HCC answered a need to further develop the program and offer face-to-face courses as well.

 The five face-to-face introductory courses set in place for fall are designed to articulate as transfer credit. The classes are specifically intended to be transferable to Illinois State University should students decide to continue their education right down the road. Eventually, HCC envisions having specialized certificate programs in agriculture, although the current goal is to establish the foundation students need to find their niche at a four-year institution.

Working towards a hands-on program with the McLean County community

Right now the College is focused on “growing it right, not growing it big” says Denofrio-Corrales. However, HCC is hoping that with the support and resources the McLean County community has to offer, it can eventually develop into a larger, more interactive program.

“We want to focus on the building blocks of a strong educational program that emphasizes hands-on learning” said Denofrio-Corrales, “there’s only so much students can learn about agriculture in a classroom. We would like to work with community members so students receive the applied knowledge needed to connect to the discipline.”

Contact information

More information about Heartland’s agriculture program is available at or by contacting Denofrio-Corrales at or (309) 268-8639.

Written by: Olivia Mulvey