Oklahoma Higher Education Campus E-Clips sponsored by the Communicators Council

March 2011

NEO Makes Significant Upgrades to Synar Farm


NEO's New Arena
NEO A&M’s recently renovated indoor arena is an important facility in recruiting new students.

Even with the current state of the economy, Northeastern Oklahoma A&M College (NEO), has taken significant strides to renovate and create a first-rate farm facility that is a key tool in recruiting and retaining NEO students.

“The agriculture department continues to bring national recognition to NEO, positioning our institution among the college elite,” said NEO A&M College President Jeff Hale. “Given the success of the agriculture department, it is imperative to provide first–class facilities to our current and future students.”

Upgrades in the amount of approximately $100k to the NEO farm include the addition of 20 new horse stalls to the original 60, (meaning the NEO farm can now house 80 horses at a given time); signage, a 125-foot round pen for working horses; first – class security measures made to the indoor arena and east stalling barn, (including security cameras and lighting); fencing around the indoor arena and west stalling barn; new drainage added to the exterior; and a brand new roof of the east stalling barn.

Plans to construct a third arena are currently in the works.

Money to renovate the farm came from a variety of different sources including departmental funds, student services, and Hale’s Presidential Partners group.

“The added security gives us peace-of-mind due to the fact that each student who houses a horse on our farm has anywhere between $5-10,000 worth of equipment that is now in a secure environment,” said department head for agriculture Shannon Cunningham. “The facilities are great for student practices, class laboratories and recruiting. The added signage will also add visibility and distinction.”

The NEO agriculture department utilizes the farm to host many events including recruiting rodeos, interscholastic rodeos, (which serves about 1,000 people), judging clinics, jackpots and 4-H rodeos.

Hale said, “Simply stated – better facilities equal students which translates to better teams.”

The arenas are critical and a huge recruiting tool for students, and out of all the two-year colleges in the state of Oklahoma, no other institution’s facilities are comparable to NEO’s, Cunningham added.

The NEO ‘Aggie Days’ are another event hosted at the college farm, and this year marks the 60th anniversary of the event.

“Interscholastic judging contests are a great way for students to learn through application and experience, and each contest is based on agricultural principles that students learn through their 4-H or FFA programs,” Cunningham said. “It is a great way for students to demonstrate decision making and logic skills through different disciplines.”

Our Aggie Day contests are a great recruiting tool for us and a great way to bring a high volume of students to our campus, Cunningham added. There is such a rich sense of tradition and pride involved with Aggie Days.

Listed below are some of the accomplishments received by the NEO Ag department in recent years:
o Named Best New Rodeo and Rodeo of the Year for 2010
o Awarded 14 students the American FFA Degree
o Five-time AQHA World Champions
o All American Quarter Horse Congress Champions
o Four-time APHA Spring Sweepstakes Champions
o AQHA World Reserve Champion Team
o Recipient of the Excellence in Education Award from the Chamber (2008) – Roger Fent

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