Northeast Texas Community College has a new face on campus this month as Rene McCracken began her role as the new Director of Agriculture.
McCracken has worked in agriculture for more than 20 years in various capacities. Most recently, she served as an Extension Agent in Cherokee County for Prairie View A&M University. In this role, she focused heavily on small farm education.
“I’m a born and raised country girl, so I’ve really been working in ag my whole life. I feel that my collective experiences have really led me to this position and I look forward to having the opportunity to lead this progressive program into the future,” McCracken said.
After receiving her bachelor’s degree in Animal Science from Stephen F. Austin State University, McCracken received a full graduate scholarship to attend the University of Arkansas. She was the first graduate from the university to receive a Master of Science degree in Poultry Science with a business specialization. She is a native of Hallsville.
“We are very pleased to welcome Rene to the team at NTCC. We feel that she has the right vision and skills necessary to advance the program in a positive direction,” Kevin Rose, Associate Vice President of Workforce Development, said.
McCracken began her career in management for commercial food companies. She worked for The Campbell Soup Company, ConAgra Foods and General Mills in supervisory roles until 2000, when she decided to leave the corporate world to start a family.
“It was a hard decision to leave my work at General Mills, but my growing family took priority,” McCracken said.
She and her husband, Tim, have three daughters ages 14, 10 and eight. During her career break, the family lived and worked on several large ranches in Texas and Kansas.
“Farming and ranching are a way of life for us. My husband is a cattleman and he does custom hay work. Up until last year we owned a feed store in Henderson, so I definitely have a diverse background in both sustainable and traditional agriculture.”
The family is now taking a leap of faith to relocate to Titus County in time for the upcoming school year. They are in the process of purchasing 40 acres in the Harts Bluff area. They plan to develop their own sustainable farm with goat, cattle and hay production.
“Everything has fallen into place for us to make this move and it really feels like God has led us in this direction. We are looking forward to becoming involved in the community and getting to know everyone here,” she said.
McCracken is currently in the process of settling in at NTCC. In addition to her role as director, she will also be teaching sustainable agriculture courses beginning this fall. She encourages community members to stop by to meet her at the Elizabeth Hogatt Whatley Agriculture Complex or to give her a call at 903-434-8267. There is still time to enroll in ag classes for the upcoming semester. Visit ntcc.edu for more information.
“I am certainly blessed to be at the direction of such an exceptional resource as the Elizabeth Whatley Agriculture Complex. I am thankful for the hard work and vision of those who had the foresight to develop this unique program,” McCracken said.