Plans for an operational farm on campus at Klamath Community College are moving forward, as administrators at the college have dedicated nearly 25 acres to the project. Preliminary work and planting is expected to begin this spring.
Approximately 22 acres of land will be sown with alfalfa, with additional acreage devoted to an orchard. “We will likely start with apple trees, but eventually we hope to grow cherries, plums and pears as well,” said Keith Duren, department chair for Natural Resource Systems at KCC.
According to Duren, the college will also breed cows, a process that is expected to begin later this year. Through the farm, students will have the opportunity for hands-on instruction and experience in a number of classes, including forage production, beef and livestock management, horticulture, and even some courses that are not directly related to agriculture. “The vision is for students in our Agriculture Marketing courses and business students studying entrepreneurship to be able to sell calves and produce,” Duren said. “Additionally, once our culinary program is operating, those students will be able to butcher, process and prepare the beef that we raise.”
With the farm positively impacting curriculum and offering hands-on learning opportunities in multiple courses and programs, KCC President Dr. Roberto Gutierrez is confident that the addition will provide great benefits. “Agriculture is a major component of our community and our region, and we are confident that this program will not only benefit the college and our students, but the entire community as well.” The property that will be developed for the farm is already owned by the college.
The farm will give students the opportunity to experience hands-on instruction that greatly enhances the learning experience. “Research shows that when you contextualize the curriculum and give students real world experience outside of the classroom, they learn and retain information in greater capacity than by simply reading or listening to a lecture,” Dr. Gutierrez said. “This farm will greatly strengthen our programs and result in KCC graduates being even better prepared to enter the workforce or continue their education once they earn their degree.”
According to Duren, KCC’s agriculture program will be among the best in the state once aspects of farm operations are included in student instruction. “This is the type of hands-on instruction many other colleges simply can’t offer. The fact that the KCC administration had the courage to invest in this vision speaks volumes about the college’s devotion to student learning and student success,” he said.
Preliminary work on development of the farm will begin this spring and farm operations are expected to be incorporated into the curriculum by fall 2013. For more information on KCC’s agriculture program, contact Duren at 541-880-2254 or visit www.klamathcc.edu.