Gift and a Promise to the Future of Agriculture: The Kreher Agricultural Center


Sara Mullen, Assistant Editor

The New Kreher Agricultural Center is officially open at the Main campus in Springfield. The center features state-of-the-art laboratories and cutting-edge technologies. 

The tall wooden doors of the main entrance gives a hint to a magnificence within, and opens to a welcoming space. The design is a smooth blend of rustic and modern, where tall windows and thick timbers lining the halls invites the feeling of outside, inside. At every turn, there is a space for congregating with soft, comfy couch-filled lounges, a kitchenette with a microwave, and numerous tables and chairs looking out on a lanai with more tables and chairs, as well as a BBQ grill. 

More than three years ago, Irene Kreher, in her desire to find an appropriate way to memorialize her husband Charles, decided the Ag students at Lincoln Land Community College would carry on the Kreher family legacy of love for community and agriculture. 

Professor of Agronomy Bill Harmon explains the purpose of the $18 million gift during the groundbreaking ceremony. He states, “This support will enable us to meet the needs of our growing and diverse student population and provide relevant, up-to-date curriculum on the latest technology in state-of-the-art facilities and environments. These funds will not replace current support by the college … but rather ‘grow’ the agriculture program, increasing the number of students served, increasing local job opportunities filled with qualified LLCC grads, and improving agricultural literacy in our communities, ultimately designed to make LLCC a center of excellence in agriculture education.”

The building’s design is student-friendly. Its functional design meets ADA standards and allows for meetings of various sizes, from small collaborations to large conference groups. Professor Harmon says the intent is that “we want students not just to be in our class and [then] leave campus, but we want them to be in this building interacting with us and each other.” 

The center already hosted the first of six Ag Expos coming this fall, which serves as a way to introduce high school students of the area to the advanced opportunities at LLCC.

Agriculture Program Specialist Holly Bauman enumerates the many different benefits and new equipment in the Kreher center, from the state-of-the-art drones for practice in precision farming, to tractor, welding, and other simulators, drafting tables and a horticultural lab. Holly explains that these tools “give students a chance to try out different equipment before we put them in the real thing.” 

There is also a computer lab and smaller rooms where students can collaborate, work, and study. 

The Animal Science Lab is a vast open space with a door and area large enough for a planter to fit. In addition, the room allows for presenters to bring in livestock for demonstrations. There is even a rainfall simulator.

After the initial investment for the center, and the move to the new building along with equipment and scholarships, Kreher Farm Perpetual Charitable Trust is still growing, allowing for continued progress and future innovations. To state it plainly, LLCC’s Agriculture program and new Kreher Agricultural Center are the newest and most innovative in the state. The Kreher Family has left a legacy for which we can all be proud. 

For more information, contact Holly Bauman at 217-786-2276 or [email protected], or contact Bill Harmon at 217-786-2573 or [email protected].