Agriculture education involves more than just learning the basics of seed production. It provides the opportunity for people to understand agriculture is not just farming--it’s a sustainable way of life.
Pierce College opened its doors in 1947 as the Clarence W. Pierce School of Agriculture. Two hundred and twelve WWII veterans enrolled in the first classes. By the early 1970's the college had 2,000 students taking classes in agriculture. Four hundred and fifty head of cattle (114 dairy cattle), 250 head of sheep, 250 swine and 6,000 poultry made up the livestock portion of the college farm. A fifteen acre orchard, green houses, and fields of alfalfa, oats, pumpkins, melons and various other field crops were used to educate our students.
Pierce College's Agriculture Department is still achieving all three of Dr. Pierce's original goals:
Educate future farmers and ranchers, veterinarians, veterinary technicians, florists, equestrians, horticulturists and others involved with our vast industry
Educate "city folk" on where their food and fiber comes from
Prepare students to transfer to a four year institution or graduate school
Pierce College’s Pre-veterinary program has one of the highest acceptance rates into graduate schools of veterinary medicine. Our farm teaching laboratory, which provides a hands-on approach, is credited for much of this success.
Pierce graduates complete the national and state board exams with high passage rates.
The Pierce College Equine program is unique in that it combines a college-credit program with community recreational opportunities.
The College has recently committed (through bond projects) the following agriculture facilities:
Greenhouse (future construction)
Veterinary teaching clinic
WHY WE NEED YOUR HELP
With economic downsizing and retirements, the Pierce Farm has seen dramatic reductions in its workforce, down from 11 full time ranch and farm laborers, along with a thousand hours per week of student labor, to just three full time workers who must manage 400 acres of farm land, a 15 acre horticulture center, and a 15-acre nature center. Our Agriculture full time faculty has been reduced from 18 to 5.
The farm has gone down:
from 450 heads of cows to just 12
from 250 sheep down to 15
from 250 pigs to one
from 6,000 chickens to 80
and 35 goats and two donkeys.
Pierce Agriculture needs continued public and private support to maintain its farm teaching lab and outreach to the community. Pierce farm needs the funding to maintain its aging farm equipment, the pasture fencing, shade trees and husbandry tools.
Donations would help support the maintenance of Pierce pastures, irrigation equipment, purchasing of feed, hiring of a food animal veterinarian, an animal science instructor, student labor needed to feed the farm animals and clean their corrals.
HOW YOU CAN HELP
Our goal is to raise $20 million where the interest will take care for our farm laboratory for a year.
Employees with benefits costs for upkeep of the farm:
Animal Science Professor - $100,000 per year.
Horse Unit – full-time Ag Technician - $70,000 per year.
Animal Unit – full-time Ag Technician - $70,000 per year.
Farmer - to plant, harvest, and maintain the fields - $65,000 per year.
Nature Center and Horticulture facilities maintenance - $60,000 per year.
10 part-time student-workers to clean out pens, feed the animals, move the animals to various pastures, set up and take down irrigation pipes - $57,200 a year.
Veterinarian - $125,000 per year.
Equestrian Center Director – starting part-time at $30,000 per year and as the position responsibilities grow, full-time at $85,000 per year.
Chickens - $2,347 per year for all chickens, or $30 per year for one chicken.
Goat herd - $7,300 per year for the herd, or $174 for one goat.
Sheep flock - $6,205 per year for the flock, or $353 per sheep.
Cows feed - $43,800 - $65,700 per year for all cows, or $2930 - $3100 per year for one cow, or $8 per day for one cow.
Salt blocks for the sheep, cows, and goats cost $350 per year.
Protein tubs - $560 per year.
Pastures - $50,000 per year for the first year; $20,000/year after the first year to maintain and reseed.
The cost to shear the sheep - $400 per year.
Vaccinations and medicines cost $1,000 per year, or $20.83 per week.
Repair of the farm fence lines - $50,000.
Twine Baler - $23,000.
Side-pull rotary mower - $27,000.
Gator CX Utility Vehicle with KT Tires - $6,700.
Disk Mower (6 disks) - $14,000.
Skip loader - $42,000.
In addition, the farm needs new equipment, such as tractors, trucks, etc. - $300,000.