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Minnesota State College Southeast
A Technical & Community College

Farm Maintenance Certificate - Certificate

Career Area: Business & Management
Program: Sustainable Food and Farming
Campus(es): Winona/Red Wing

If your future is in agriculture, start with a strong foundation in safety and practical skills.

In Southeast Minnesota and nearby Wisconsin, tall limestone bluffs rise above the Mississippi River while creeks and rivers wind their way through steep valleys. This fragile landscape demands special care when used for agriculture, posing unique challenges and opportunities for farmers. That's why Winona, MN, is an exceptional location for studying agriculture and sustainability.

The 16-credit Farm Maintenance Certificate, which is part of the Sustainable Food and Farming program, focuses on proper equipment operation and maintenance. In the Farm Safety course, students will focus on safety issues in a variety of common agricultural situations using many different types of machinery.

The program includes practical, hands-on training in several areas:

  • Construction
  • Diesel Technology
  • DC Electricity
  • Straight Truck Proficiency
  • Welding

With training in all of these areas, you’ll be well equipped to take care of basic farm maintenance and repair – with an understanding that in every situation, safety comes first.

Apply now for admission to MSC Southeast

Download the Program Plan


1) 1100 or higher Liberal Arts and Sciences courses required unless specified
0 crs
Farm Safety
In this course, students will focus on safety as it relates to proper operation of a variety of common agricultural situations, tools, and implements. Students will be provided an overview of the major risks and hazards in the agricultural setting and will explore best practices injuries and accidents. The course will include a strong hands-on component where students will demonstrate proper equipment operation and maintenance, and the course will culminate with students designing a customized farm safety plan. (Prerequisite: None) (2 Credits: 1 lecture/1 lab)

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2 cr
Introduction to Agroecology
This course provides an introduction to the theory of agroecology and the current practices of sustainable agriculture. The components of farm management will be studied within the context of a complex ecosystem. Class time will be spent in lecture, lab, field studies and field trips to integrate concepts in agroecology, with actual practices in sustainable agriculture. (Prerequisite: none) (4 credits: 3 lecture/1 lab)

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4 cr
Emerging Construction Technologies 1
This course provides knowledge of new tools, methods, and equipment being used in the construction industry (Prerequisite: none) (2 credits: 1 lecture/1 lab)

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2 cr
Introduction to Diesel Technology
This course is designed as a prerequisite for all technical diesel courses. This course covers the basics of the diesel industry. It will cover employer expectations as well as common working conditions. (Prerequisite: none) (2 credits: 1 lecture/1 lab)

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2 cr
Introduction to DC Electricity
This course covers the general information, theory, and problem-solving techniques required for an analysis of DC circuits with emphasis on the meter measurements, current flow, and voltage division. (Prerequisite: Proficient in basic math) (2 credits: 1 lecture/1 lab)

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2 cr
Straight Truck Proficiency
The Class "B" license can put you in the driver's seat of a dump truck, a delivery truck, or a van! If you are 18 years of age or older here is an opportunity to operate a straight truck with a gross vehicle weight (GVW) if 26,000 pounds or more. This hands-on course is designed to give you actual driving experience. In the final class, you take the test for your CDL Class B license. Students must have a Class B permit with air brakes to start the class. Students from Wisconsin need a Department of Transportation (DOT) physical before the start of the class. Arrangements can be made to take the Wisconsin test for an additional fee. Enroll early, class size is limited. (2 credits: 1 lecture/1 lab) (Prerequisite: CDL Class B Permit Required)

Download the Course Outline

2 cr
Individualized Welding Skills Lab
This course is a hand-on, open laboratory time available to both the skilled and unskilled welder for the opportunity to improve or develop his/her welding application skills. Students will have access to SMAW (stick), GMAW (MIG), FCAW (flux-cored), and GTAW (TIG) welding processes. Enhancement and/or introduction of all 1G, 2G, 3G, and 4G welding positions will also be encouraged to help broaden the welder's abilities. (Prerequisite: Instructor interview and approval required) (2 credits: 0 lecture/2 lab) (4 hour lab session)

Download the Course Outline

2 cr
16 crs

Total Credits Required for this Major: 16 Credits

Estimated Costs for this Major

Approximate Tuition/Fees:$3,113
Minimum Tool Cost:N/A
Estimated Total:$3,113


Career Opportunities

  • Farm owner or manager
  • Direct marketing of natural, locally grown foods
  • Small business management
  • Natural resources manager

Career Information


Sustainable Food and Farming AAS graduates will be able to:

  • Demonstrate safe and effective use of a variety of agricultural equipment
  • Incorporate principles of soil science, crop science, and animal science into an agricultural system
  • Design small-scale diversified farming systems which account for long-term, short-term, and seasonal production
  • Implement integrated farming practices that promote healthy soil, ecologically sound nutrient management, and sustainability
  • Develop a sound business plan for a family farm or small-scale agricultural operation
  • Understand the economic, social, and environmental impacts of agricultural practices in Southeast Minnesota


  • Developed in cooperation with national and regional experts in the field of Sustainable Agriculture
  • Teaches practical, hands-on skills such as welding, electronics, and truck driving
  • Focuses on a safety first approach to Farm Maintenance


Elizabeth (Liz) Micheel

  • B.S. Biology, University of Wisconsin-La Crosse
  • M.S. Biology, University of Wisconsin-La Crosse

Liz Micheel has been with MSC Southeast since fall 2010. In 2009, Liz left her seasonal position as a wildland firefighter in Idaho to begin a career as a teacher. Now a permanent faculty member at the college, Liz continues to do wildland firefighting in the summer and prescribed burning locally in the spring. She is active in Sustain Winona and is involved in the area equine community as a Therapeutic Riding Instructor. Liz enjoys spending time on her hobby farm with her goats, chickens, horses, and of course, her family.


Other Majors in the Sustainable Food and Farming program

Sustainable Food and Farming AAS



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RED WING CAMPUS | 308 Pioneer Road | Red Wing, MN 55066 | 651-385-6300
WINONA CAMPUS | 1250 Homer Road | Winona, MN 55987 | 507-453-2700

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