Grown Here at Home: Virginia Western Community College launching new agriculture degree program

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ROANOKE, Va. (WDBJ7) - The farm life is the way of life for so many people across our hometowns and it’s something Virginia Western Community College recognizes.

"As we were talking as faculty members about potential programs, we started to do some research. The 2012 census of agriculture shows us that there are 4,000 working farms in our service region. So we developed a two-year associates degree that can either prepare them to go back to their farms and be more successful in their home businesses and agricultural businesses, or transfer to our local or regional or wherever they want, four-year university," explained Amy White, dean of the School of STEM.

White also says credits will be fully transferable to Ferrum College. Another perk to the program is flexibility.

"There’s enough flexibility in the program that if you don’t want to transfer for instance, in lieu of taking a second math class, you can take welding. So if you want a skill to take back to your working farm that’s an excellent solution for that," said White.

They will also have animal and plant science classes, and there will be plenty of chances to get hands-on experience.

"We will be doing a lot of field trips. We have a lot of community partners that have already come to us with an interest," White said.

Virginia Western Community College will launch its new Ag program with a special event Thursday, March 28, from 3 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. at the Whitman Theater on campus. Virginia Secretary of Agriculture Bettina Ring will be the keynote speaker.

Click here for more information on the agriculture degree program.