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KEEPING THEM DOWN ON THE FARM

Manteca Unified School Farm helps teens explore careers in agriculture

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KEEPING THEM DOWN ON THE FARM

Students who took part in the last AgVenture field trip held at the Manteca Unified School Farm walk past a goat being given a bath by an FFA student from one of the local high schools.

ROSE ALBANO RISSO/The Bulletin


POSTED February 24, 2012 8:57 p.m.

Saturday, March 3, is not just a red-letter day for the Manteca Unified School District School Farm.

It is also a history-making moment for the school district which is playing host to the first ever NorCal Serama Spectacular chicken competition. In addition to its hosting duties, Manteca Unified, through its poultry program, is also sponsoring this event along with the Golden State Serama Council.

With breeders from four Western states – Arizona, Nevada, Oregon, and California – expected to attend the competition and show, the event promises to put The Family City on the map.

While the Serama Spectacular enjoys the unique distinction of placing the school district on the high-visibility radar of successful student-driven campus agricultural programs, the poultry program is hardly the only project that is keeping the school farm thriving all year-round.

On April 14 and 15, the district will also host the 2012 Spring Boer Classic and the Western Regional IBGA (International Boer Goat Association, Inc.) and the Western Regional IBGA shows. The Spring Boer Classic (IBGA and ABGA) will take place Saturday, April 14. The Western Regional IBGA show (IBGA only) will be held Sunday, April 15. A Junior Breeding Showmanship event will be held both days.

Deadline for entries to these weekend spring shows is March 30. Like the Serama Spectacular, this event will be held in the School Farm’s new farm facilities behind the district office at 2271 W. Louise Avenue. Anyone interested in the above goat shows can contact Jaime Sanchez, show manager, at (530-624-4438 for more information or send him an e-mail at jsanchez@musd.net.

The new school farm facilities were completed last school year, thanks to a Career Technical Education Grant that the district secured for the remodeling project.

But there are some aspects of the new farm facilities that were not covered by the grant. These were the handiwork of the FFA students, Superintendent Jason Messer pointed out. He pointed, as an example, the steel fences in the animal buildings. These, he said, were fabricated, built, welded and soldered by the district’s high school FFA students.



School Farm home to students’ livestock projects for fair show


The district’s School Farm is home to a menagerie of animals and birds. The facilities are made available to eligible students who have animals to show and exhibit at the annual San Joaquin County Fair at the Stockton fairgrounds. These include market animals such as sheep, swine, beef, goats, rabbits and turkeys as well as animals for breeding which include dairy heifers, Boer goats, poultry, and dairy goats.

One of the newer projects at the farm is the poultry co-op which is “designed to give students the opportunity to manage and produce several types of upland game birds,” according to the school district web site. “The main goal of the project is to teach marketing concepts to students as they fill the demand of the bird-sporting clubs.”

The school farm serves as a “direct extension of the classroom where students may learn and apply concepts taught in the classroom.” The hope is that the agricultural education taught to the students will prepare them “for successful careers and a lifetime of informed choices in the global agriculture food, fiber, and natural resource systems.”

The district’s ag program, however, relies in great part on the support it gets from the community. This is made possible by the district’s Ag Boosters. There are various ways for individuals and businesses in the community to support the ag program. They can become platinum ($500 for individuals and $1,000 for businesses), gold ($100 - $500), Silver ($50 - $250), and Bronze ($25 - $100) sponsors of the program.

For more information about the Manteca Unified School Farm, log on to www.musd.net or call (209) 825-3200.



— Rose Albano Risso
city editor

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