“The beautiful rolling hills of the Pierce Farm and the white wood fences that divide it from the city mark the San Fernando Valley as a different kind of place in Los Angeles, a place that treasures California’s land. Here city people have fruit trees that produce bountiful citrus crops in the dead of winter, and neighbors knock on the door to offer bags of home-grown zucchini and lemons. The Pierce Farm reminds us that knowledge and effort transform dirt and seeds into food and clothing; and Pierce College is a special place, where the accumulated knowledge of mankind is available to all who make the effort.” –Susan Shelley
“My maternal grandfather was a farm laborer. He worked at a dairy on 92nd street in South Central Los Angeles. This is where my mother was raised. My father was born and raised in East Los Angeles. In 1946, Los Angeles County was the number one agriculture county in the nation. Growing up in Central Los Angeles I was able to see small farmers and ranches, orchards and people who seemed to work very hard to put the food on our plates.
My first milking of a cow was at an Adhore Dairy located on 3rd street and LaCienga in 1961. In 1968, I experienced Pierce College farm for the first time while running cross country for Fairfax High. The following year my family moved to Chatsworth. I have been associated with Pierce College farm ever since that time. I started as a cow milker and a farm tour guide in the summer of 1971. The “Day on the Farm” program (Community Services) brought in 20,000 inner city children to the farm every year. McDonalds and Carnation Co. provided a free lunch for our visitors. We provided a first time opportunity for children to see a working farm, farm animals and a possible vocation when they finished their schooling. Pierce College farm gave me this same opportunity.
In 1976 I was hired as the dairy herdsman and dairy instructor. We, at that time, had 114 head of dairy cattle, 250 sheep, 250 pigs, 320 beef cattle and approximately 6000 chickens. We also had a 15 acre orchard (avocados, citrus, deciduous trees, grapes, a greenhouse, lathe house and floriculture program). We had more acreage on the campus and on the farm than we currently have.
In the past 40 years I have helped teach in excess of 12,000 students. 228 of these students have been accepted into one of more graduate schools of veterinary medicine. I am very proud of them. The attached photo of this young girl on a farm tour summarizes my hope for the future of Pierce College’s Agriculture programs and the farm. I want the farm to continue to inspire the love of life that can only be felt on a farm, the ah of new birth, a growing seedling, the harvesting of fresh hay, the picking of an avocado or an orange from a tree. Pierce College farm needs to survive any economic down fall. Pierce Farm needs to be labeled as a conservancy easement or preserve and an endowment needs to be built to safeguard this irreplaceable jewel.”
With economic downsizing and retirements, the Pierce Farm has seen dramatic reductions in its workforce, down from 11 full time ranch and farm laborer, along with a thousand hours per week of student labor to just three full time workers who must manage 400 acres of farm land, a 15 acre horticulture center, and a 15-acre nature center. Our Agriculture full time faculty has been reduced from 18 to 5. The farm has gone down:
- from 450 cattle to just 12
- from 250 sheep down to 15
- from 250 pigs to one
- from 6,000 chickens to 80
- and 35 goats and two donkeys.
Pierce Agriculture needs continued public and private support to maintain its farm teaching lab and outreach to the community. Pierce farm needs the funding to maintain its aging farm equipment, the pasture fencing, shade trees and husbandry tools. Donations would help support the maintenance of Pierce pastures, irrigation equipment, purchasing of feed, hiring of a food animal veterinarian, an animal science instructor, student labor needed to feed the farm animals and clean their corrals. Our long term goal is to raise $20 million where only the interest will be used to pay for farm expenses. This includes: Employees with benefits costs for upkeep of the farm:
- Animal Science Professor – $100,000 per year.
- Horse Unit – full-time Ag Technician – $70,000 per year.
- Animal Unit – full-time Ag Technician – $70,000 per year.
- Farmer – to plant, harvest, and maintain the fields – $65,000 per year.
- Nature Center and Horticulture facilities maintenance – $60,000 per year.
- 10 part-time student-workers to clean out pens, feed the animals, move the animals to various pastures, set up and take down irrigation pipes – $57,200 a year.
- Veterinarian – $125,000 per year.
- Equestrian Center Director – starting part-time at $30,000 per year and as the position responsibilities grow, full-time at $85,000 per year.
- Chickens – $2,347 per year for all chickens, or $30 per year for one chicken.
- Goat herd – $7,300 per year for the herd, or $174 for one goat.
- Sheep flock – $6,205 per year for the flock, or $353 per sheep.
- Cows feed – $43,800 – $65,700 per year for all cows, or $2930 – $3100 per year for one cow, or $8 per day for one cow.
- Salt blocks for the sheep, cows, and goats cost $350 per year.
- Protein tubs – $560 per year.
- Pastures – $50,000 per year for the first year; $20,000/year after the first year to maintain and reseed.
- The cost to shear the sheep – $400 per year.
- Vaccinations and medicines cost $1,000 per year, or $20.83 per week.
- Repair of the farm fence lines – $50,000.
- Twine Baler – $23,000.
- Side-pull rotary mower – $27,000.
- Gator CX Utility Vehicle with KT Tires – $6,700.
- Disk Mower (6 disks) – $14,000.
- Skip loader – $42,000.
In addition, the farm needs new equipment, such as tractors, trucks, etc. – $300,000. You can help by clicking on the following image to make a contribution to our beautiful farm and agricultural programs. After entering the payment information, click “Review Donation” and continue. Specify the cause of your donation in the “Add Special Instructions to the Seller” box. Please be sure to specify on your donation that the funds will go to The Pierce Agriculture Endowment Fund.
TO VISIT OUR GENERAL AGRICULTURE WEBSITE PLEASE CLICK ON THE IMAGE ABOVE
I had rather be on my farm than be emperor of the world.
TO VISIT OUR PRE-VETERINARY PROGRAM WEBSITE PLEASE CLICK ON THE IMAGE ABOVE
TO VISIT OUR RVT PROGRAM WEBSITE PLEASE CLICK ON THE IMAGE ABOVE
TO VISIT OUR HORTICULTURE WEBSITE PLEASE CLICK ON THE IMAGE ABOVE
TO VISIT OUR EQUINE SCIENCE WEBPAGE PLEASE CLICK ON THE IMAGE ABOVE
We have been honored with a gracious donor that is willing to match up to $20,000 of our donation. You can make a difference today by donating and saving a piece of history for future generations. We hope that by sharing our passion for the animals, the land, and the diverse programs at Pierce College we can continue to share the dream of a great man, Dr. Clarence Pierce. Our goal this year is to not only meet the $20,000, but to educate the community about the Pierce College Farm Experience. Please enjoy this website created to serve as a small journey through our farm, our family, and our programs!
To make a contribution by check, please make check payable to Foundation for Pierce College. REMEMBER to note in memo either “matching fund” or “Agriculture Endowment Fund.”
To make a contribution to our beautiful farm and agricultural programs online please click on the following image. After entering the payment information, click “Review Donation” and continue. Specify the cause of your donation in the “Add Special Instructions to the Seller” box. Please be sure to specify on your donation that the funds will go to The Pierce Agriculture Endowment Fund.
“There seem to be but three ways for a nation to acquire wealth. The first is by war, as the Romans did, in plundering their conquered neighbors. This is robbery. The second by commerce, which is generally cheating. The third by agriculture, the only honest way, wherein man receives a real increase of the seed thrown into the ground, in a kind of continual miracle, wrought by the hand of God in his favor, as a reward for his innocent life and his virtuous industry.”