MIAMI, Okla. (AP) — Northeastern Oklahoman A&M College is set to lease about 1,600 acres of land in the Neosho River Bottom from the Grand River Dam Authority as part of an educational and business partnership.
The partnership was announced Tuesday, according to The Tulsa World (http://bit.ly/2aDGqG6 ).
College officials say the plan is to sublease the property, located west of Miami and east of the Neosho River, for pecan orchards and livestock grazing.
Officials say it will strengthen the school's agricultural studies department and create a revenue stream for the school.
The college's agriculture department chair, McKenzie Nygren, said the first pecan harvest is expected this fall. According to Nygren, six to eight subleases are in the planning stages and would be a part of a pecan profit-sharing agreement based on the harvest.
School president Jeff Hale says local pecan producers played a key role in the development of the agreement between the school and the Grand River authority.
"Private-public partnerships continue to help NEO and other state colleges deal with massive reductions to public education," Hale said of the authority.
One of the project's goals is to meld working outdoor labs with the agricultural curriculum. The school will be able to offer hands-on experience for students in several educational areas, including grassland management, natural resource conservation, crop and cattle production and wildland fire management.
According to Grand River Authority chief executive officer Dan Sullivan, another 1,500 acres south of the Neosho River are being looked at for the development of a wetland project.