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Three Rivers College and Central Methodist University have expanded their partnership to offer a four-year Agribusiness degree and a four-year rodeo team, available to students beginning Fall 2019.

“The idea really started with the students,” said Dr. Wesley Payne, President of Three Rivers College.

“Central Methodist and Three Rivers are wonderful partners,” said Dr. Rita Gulstad, Provost of Central Methodist University. “We enjoy working with Dr. Payne, and the opportunity to collaborate with Three Rivers on rodeo was another great example of how, together, Three Rivers and CMU help young people succeed in the world and realize their dreams.”

For the new Agribusiness program, students will complete coursework through Three Rivers for three years, earning an Associate of Applied Science in Agribusiness as well as an Associate of Arts in Agriculture before beginning their fourth year with Central Methodist. All courses will be available at the Three Rivers Poplar Bluff campus and will have components utilizing the Three Rivers College farm.

“We have a responsibility to ensure Three Rivers College continues to prepare students to fulfill the needs of our community. Agriculture plays an important part in our regional economy, and, with this partnership, students will be prepared to enter careers benefitting this industry,” said Dr. Melissa Davis, TRC Department Chair of Languages, Communication, Fine Arts, and Agriculture.

Three Rivers and Central Methodist have also partnered on a rodeo team. Students on the Three Rivers rodeo team will now have the opportunity to compete with the newly formed Central Methodist rodeo team after they transfer from TRC to CMU.

“We had students on our rodeo team who wanted the chance to complete their education here at Three Rivers and continue in rodeo—now they can,” said Payne.

The CMU rodeo team will be based in Poplar Bluff and share the arena at the Three Rivers College farm for practices and training. “Partnering with CMU on these programs makes a lot more things possible for our students,” said Payne.

One of the benefits of partnering with CMU on the rodeo program is that it allows the rodeo teams to mutually recruit students and offer them a four-year rodeo experience. Several students have made a verbal commitment to the new rodeo team and others have expressed interest.

Central Methodist hired Amanda Phipps as its team’s head coach. Phipps, an accomplished barrel racer, has experience working with the Three Rivers team and is looking forward to building the CMU rodeo team. “I’m very excited and grateful for the opportunity,” said Phipps.

The TRC and CMU teams will compete in the National Intercollegiate Rodeo Association, Ozark Region.

For more information about the Central Methodist rodeo team, contact Amanda Phipps at 706-897-8177. To learn more about the new four-year Agribusiness degree program with Three Rivers and Central Methodist, call 573-840-9605 or visit Three Rivers College is committed to contributing to the quality of life in Southeast Missouri with quality, affordable higher education opportunities and community services that support and encourage the economic, civic, and cultural vitality of the region. For more information about college and workforce programs and upcoming events, visit

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