South Georgia Technical College hosts John Deere Agricultural Technology Open House

Published 4:38 pm Wednesday, January 31, 2024

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By Su Ann Bird


AMERICUS –Approximately 50 high school students, parents and dealers from across the Southeastern United States attended South Georgia Technical College’s John Deere Agricultural Technology Open House held recently in the college’s John Deere Ag Technology lab and classrooms.

The event was sponsored by South Georgia Technical College and John Deere.  John Deere officials and dealers invited prospective students and their parents as well as high school guidance counselors, and agriculture teachers from their service areas to attend the open house.

Officials from John Deere’s corporate team and South Georgia Technical College met with the prospective students to outline the program, discuss admissions and financial aid procedures and demonstrate what students would be exposed to during the program which results in an Associate of Applied Science Degree in Agricultural Technology.

“This is an opportunity – a wonderful opportunity for students,” said Doug Elder from Lasseter Tractor Company, a John Deere dealer.  “And what the dealers are telling you today, is that if you come to school, do what you are told to do, work when you are supposed to work and act like you are trying to learn and display initiative and drive, we are going to offer you a job.  Bottom line is this is an opportunity and what you do with it is up to you.”

Elder continued and said, “if you are the type of individual who says ‘I learn better by doing or I learn better from a book,’ we are meeting you in the middle because you have the best of both worlds with this program.  At the end of the day, if you apply what you are learning here, this can be a real good career,” said Elder, who added that a whole bunch of people making six figures started out in a room just like you are.”

South Georgia Technical College President Dr. John Watford and SGTC Academic Dean David Finley and John Deere officials welcomed the attendees and students to the Open House at South Georgia Tech.  SGTC Vice President of Institutional Advancement Su Ann Bird talked with students about the SGTC Foundation and scholarship opportunities.  SGTC Partnership Coordinator Tami Blount talked with parents and students about the overall process and representatives from admissions, financial aid and housing were also on hand to share with students and parents.


SGTC current John Deere Agricultural Technology students are shown here conducting demonstrations in the John Deere Tech labs at SGTC.
Photo by SGTC

Following the information session, there was an open question and answer session and luncheon. South Georgia Tech’s students, who are currently enrolled in the Agricultural Technology program, provided demonstrations in the John Deere labs and classes to show individuals the types of activities they are involved in learning on a day to day basis.  Prospective students and parents were also given a tour of the overall campus and housing.

To enroll in this program, students must be sponsored by a John Deere Dealer.  The students spend eight weeks on campus in classrooms and labs learning specific objectives, then work with a dealer for eight weeks to put their knowledge to work in a dealer setting.  The students return to the college for another eight weeks and repeat the pattern during the five semester program.

South Georgia Technical College began the first class for the John Deere TECH Agricultural Technology program in August 2014 and has already graduated several classes from the program.

Students can earn a two-year associate of applied science degree in Agricultural Technology while partnering with John Deere agriculture and turf equipment  or timber dealers across the Southeastern portion of the United States for a career as a John Deere technician.

Studies indicate that there is a critical shortage of technicians in this field and the John Deere TECH partnership helps satisfy this need. Students will graduate out of the John Deere TECH program having a detailed understanding of John Deere equipment and bring John Deere certifications in electrical, hydraulic and Service ADVISOR™ with them to the dealership.

Students in the South Georgia Technical College Agricultural Technology program are enrolled in general education courses, but students also train and become John Deere certified in Electrical and Hydraulic systems as well as John Deere’s computer based diagnostic tool, Service ADVISOR™. Students utilize John Deere equipment, training components, and computer diagnostic tools to understand what makes equipment run. Students will also spend time understanding engines, drive trains, and product applications for a variety of agriculture and turf machinery.

The instructors for the program at SGTC are Matthew Burks ( and Wayne Peck ( For more information about the Agricultural Technology program, visit, or call 229.931.2394 or 229.931.2401.