SRJC Animal & Equine Science Program Update

Written By: Amy Housman, SRJC Faculty and Program Coordinator
Published: March 4, 2019

2019 brings change, growth, and opportunity to the Animal and Equine Science programs at SRJC.

The Animal Science program was awarded a $250,000 grant to support renovations to the Porter Animal Science Center at Shone Farm. Some of these renovations are maintenance related, but others will involve restructuring the barn to house a more diverse group of animals at Shone Farm. Sonoma County is home to many niche livestock operations. The Animal Science program at SRJC is uniquely positioned to introduce students to the alternative models of small scale livestock production being pioneered in our community.

Managed grazing as well as regenerative agriculture is of increasing interest among students and the local livestock industry. The Animal Science program is excited to pursue partnerships with ranchers and local agriculture organizations to monitor the changes to soil health and the potential to sequester carbon with good grazing practices.

Moving the introductory Animal Science course (ANSCI 20) online has increased enrollment in the program and has introduced Animal Science to a broader range of students (those from 4-year universities who want to test out animal science as a major, students from as far north as Oregon and as far south as Palm Springs, as well as international students who currently reside overseas).
Additional curriculum changes include the addition of two new courses. A Meat Science course will introduce students to the growth and development of animals and poultry for meat as well as basic retail cuts and food safety. A Livestock Reproduction course will teach important aspects of livestock reproduction and the broad range of career paths that students can pursue in the reproductive field. Finally, all students will be required to pursue a hands-on internship or work experience at Shone Farm or with a local livestock or equine operation.

In order to meet the demands of our changing student population, several classes will now be offered in a hybrid format. Classes such as Equine Science 25 have traditionally been offered in 5 hour blocks. However, due to a student population that often works one or more jobs, these five hour classes are often difficult for students to commit to. The hybrid format will allow students to participate in online lectures and activities while only requiring 3 hours of in-person lab attendance.

The Equine Science program and Animal Science program have been combined under a single faculty program coordinator. This change reflects the structure of Animal Science programs at 4-year universities. The Equine Science certificate will merge with the Animal Science certificate to create a single Livestock and Equine Management certificate that will give students the ability to choose a livestock or equine focus. At the core of this certificate will be the classes that make up the Associate’s Degree for Transfer in Animal Science. This way, if students decide at the end of the certificate to pursue a bachelor’s degree they will just need to complete their General Education classes and then be ready to transfer.

In order to make way for barn renovations and pasture revitalization, we temporarily removed the horses and livestock at Shone Farm. We plan to complete the Porter Animal Science Center renovations in 2019 and reintroduce livestock in early 2020. In the interim, partnerships with local ranchers have enabled students to gain experience with beef cattle and sheep. In addition, student workers and interns utilized both species in a rotational grazing program at Shone Farm.

For more information, contact Amy Housman, Animal and Equine Science Program Coordinator at Santa Rosa Junior College.

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