PASCO, Wash. — CBC received more than $470,000 for its agriculture programs. The programs have received more than $1.5 million since starting up.
This grant, from the Washington State Board for Community and Technical Colleges (SBCTC), is going towards a precision needle seeder, a multi-crop berry harvester and a rough terrain forklift.
“Whenever you produce a student in a workforce program, you want to produce students that are ready to go right into the workforce, hit the ground running,” said Rod Taylor, the Dean for Math, Science and Engineering at Columbia Basin College.
All of this is going towards making ag students more adept with modern and precision agriculture.
“We chose the one which has more technology because we will be the first people to use the berry harvester, as far as I know, in the state,” said Director for Agriculture Education, Research and Development, Sandya Kesoju.
“The state seems to really like our program. So, we wrote the grant to them, and this is actually our second grant,” Taylor explained. The first grant from the SBCTC brought them drones, a new research harvester and a lot of hydroponics equipment.
Agricultural education not found elsewhere in the state
According to Kesoju, CBC is the only community college in the state where you can find this education.
“When you compare with other community colleges, the AA degree in agricultural production is only present at CBC,” said Kesoju.
She said the only other agricultural programs exist in universities throughout the state.
It’s also serving a hometown-need for the Tri-Cities’ abundance in agriculture.
“We are basically addressing the local needs and then serving the community by providing those students which have those skills, so they can work in the workforce,” said Kesoju.
“There was a number of proposals, and for us to get that much equipment shows the value that the state sees in our program and what we produce, so we’re really happy to receive it and we’re looking forward to watching students utilize it,” said Taylor.
Taylor said they are in the ordering phases now, and hope to have the new equipment by springtime.
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