Pierce College’s Working Animal Farm Faces Chopping Block
WOODLAND HILLS (CBS) — Severe budget cuts to California’s higher education may shut down the animal farm at Pierce College.
KNX 1070’s Vytas Safronikas reports this junior college just north of the Ventura (101) Freeway in Woodland Hills is kind of a throwback to a bygone era that is now surrounded by wall-to-wall city.
The school’s landmark working farm, founded in 1947, is where students once cared for 114 head of dairy cattle, 350 head of beef cattle, 250 sheep, 250 pigs and 6,000 poultry, whose eggs were once sold at the school’s farm store, which has since been closed, according to the Los Angeles Times.
Dean Carol Kozeracki, who oversees the agriculture department, said budget cuts have forced the school to make some sacrifices.
“We do raise some money by selling animals, the goats and the sheep and the cattle on occasion, and that revenue goes back to the farm,” said Kozeracki.
The farm’s inventory has shrunk to 20 cattle, 33 does and their fawns, 33 chickens, seven sheep and a ram. The school’s farm also include three donkeys and a potbellied pig.
Feed costs more than $50,000 a year, and expenses include veterinarian services, medicine and the repair of aging equipment. The college has already cut the farm’s supply budgets by 25 percent, amid price hikes for feed of more than 30 percent, the Times reports.
The school’s Farm Walk, an annual event that benefits the farm and helps to keep the animals fed, is expected to attract thousands of visitors to the campus on Sunday, April 22.