For many years, the Ozarks Technical Community College Agriculture Program was housed amongst the pavement and concrete of the Springfield campus. Its recent move to the Richwood Valley campus in Christian County brought about a more rural setting, featuring 84 acres of prairie, woods and even a spring. Now, with the donation of five steers and 12 Dorper sheep, the program looks, sounds – and even smells – like a comprehensive agriculture program.
Local farmer and real estate developer Mike Seitz gifted the cattle (valued at approximately $5,000) to OTC. A group of agriculture students and instructors visited Seitz’s farm in Republic, Missouri today, Sept. 10 to bring the steers to their new home at the Richwood Valley campus.
Additionally, Bradley Teague, a Springfield-area farmer and marketing executive, donated $3,000 to purchase 12 Dorper sheep. The 10 ewes and two rams arrived at the campus earlier this week.
“I’d like to thank Mike and Brad for their generous gifts to the college,” said Dr. Cliff Davis, president of the OTC Richwood Valley Campus. “A livestock component like this will further enhance our students’ experiences in the program, which will help set them up for a lifetime of success in the industry.”
In the fall of 2019, OTC’s unveiled its 8,000-square-foot Agriculture Training Center at the OTC Richwood Valley Campus. The new facilities featured classrooms, labs and a 2,400-square-foot greenhouse. The total cost of the project was $2.1 million. OTC Chancellor Hal Higdon says the livestock component is one of many program enhancements made with the additional space and resources available at the new location.
“This move would not have been possible without taxpayers saying ‘yes’ to a tax levy increase in 2018,” said Dr. Higdon. “When we asked for an additional nickel of property tax, we said we would house our agriculture program at the Richwood Valley campus. This livestock component is just one of many ways we’ve expanded the program since its move to Christian County.”
With the livestock donation, the agriculture program plans to establish a farm-to-table operation in conjunction with the college’s culinary arts program. In February, the agriculture program received a $10,000 grant to establish a feeder calf operation. Funds allowed for the purchase of feed, hay, veterinarian supplies, livestock shelters, hay bale feeders, and automatic waterers.
About OTC’s Agriculture Program
Students interested in a career in agriculture can choose from three associate degree options at OTC: general agriculture, plant science and animal science. The college also offers a degree option in turf and landscape management. With the move to the Richwood Valley campus, OTC began offering a certificate in outdoor power and power sports as well, which instructs students in the repair and maintenance of equipment such as chain saws, weed trimmers and utility vehicles.
Graduates of OTC’s agriculture program have many career options, including farm and ranch operations, golf and sport turf management, forestry, landscape construction and maintenance, and employment through a myriad of government agencies. Individuals can learn more about OTC’s Agriculture and Turf and Landscape Management Programs at myotc.in/agturf.