Many can agree that the agriculture industry plays a big part in helping the country run efficiently, and no one understands that better than Northwestern’s instructor in agricultural business, Bob DeHaan. DeHaan’s agricultural expertise helps his students comprehend the importance of farming and using agriculture to become proper stewards of God’s creation.
DeHaan began his teaching career at MOC-Floyd Valley High School, where he was an FFA advisor and agriculture teacher for most of his 40 years of service there. He started teaching agriculture classes for NW 17 years ago while he still taught at MOC-Floyd Valley. When he retired from teaching at the high school level, he decided to devote more time to NW. As a result, NW completely overhauled the agricultural business program.
“When I was recruited for the job, one of the main objectives was that our graduates were going into a wide array of AG occupations,” DeHaan said. “They wanted them to have a strong, basic understanding of AG and to be able to communicate intelligently in the field of agriculture.”
To accomplish the goals of the program, DeHaan teaches four different classes that cover a wide range of topics, including agricultural issues, ethics, technology systems and cost management. In addition, DeHaan oversees the practicum program, serves as an advisor for 15 students and helps organize the Greenhand Camp every fall, which is a leadership session for first year FFA members.
Along with the concepts needed to become successful in the agriculture industry, DeHaan wants his students to understand that they are responsible for taking care of God’s creation.
“Most farmers are excellent stewards of God’s earth and realize we are only caretakers of what we are given for our short lives. We want to leave things the same or better for our children and grandchildren so they can enjoy life to the fullest,” DeHaan said. “My hope is our graduates will practice outstanding stewardship of what we are given with our land, livestock and natural resources.”
DeHaan’s willingness to enable his students to become successful in their careers and as caretakers of the earth stems from his love for his students.
“The most rewarding part about teaching here is the incredible young people that I have encountered and worked with over the years,” DeHaan said. “It is so great to run into them after graduation and see what they are doing with their lives.”
Unsurprisingly, his students feel the same way.
“Professor DeHaan is a wonderful person,” Brody Dauer said, a junior agricultural business major. “He does everything that he can to personalize his classes toward his students and their interests.”
Additionally, DeHaan’s students appreciate the hard work and effort he puts in to ensure that he prepares his students for the real world.
“He makes the AG business program special because he takes what has led to success in the past and tries to apply and prepare his students for what is to come in the future AG industry,” said Blake Sevier, a senior AG business major.
Although NW might not be known for his agriculture program, DeHaan knows that his work fulfills a purpose to his students and the agricultural field as a whole.
“We are small, and we are geared for AG business, but I feel that the total experience here will and does lead to outstanding career possibilities. It is so satisfying to look at what our graduates are doing today,” said DeHaan. “It is rewarding to see their involvement in their communities, serving on boards, committees and volunteering.”
The agricultural business program equips students to take on the challenges faithfully and fearfully in the agriculture industry, and DeHaan deserves a lot of credit for that. As the program continues to grow, students can count on DeHaan working as hard as he can to give them a chance to succeed.