With a new building under construction and new educational pathways in development, a new era is dawning for the Blinn College District Agricultural Sciences Program.
With the 20,200-square-foot W.J. “Bill” Rankin Complex serving as its hub, Blinn offers classes in Brenham, Bryan, Schulenburg, and Sealy, and has one of the most active extracurricular programs in the state, including a livestock judging team, Agriculture Club, and Ag Mechanics Club.
Already the state’s largest two-year community college agriculture program, Blinn is preparing to reach even greater heights with a 6,000-square-foot building that will represent the newest addition to the Blinn College District’s Agricultural Sciences Program.
“This new building is a testament to the leadership of our chancellor, Dr. Mary Hensley, and the Blinn Board of Trustees,” said Dr. Marcelo Bussiki, Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs. “When you combine Blinn’s outstanding agricultural curriculum, dedicated faculty, and outstanding facilities, there are no limits to the heights our students can reach.”
The new building will allow additional space for hands-on learning activities while accommodating the continued growth of Blinn’s Agricultural Sciences Program. Scheduled for completion in January 2020, the new building will include a livestock demonstration room, tack room, farrowing house, livestock pens, and a livestock chute.
“We always stress hands-on learning opportunities in our courses, but the new building gives us capabilities we have never had before,” said Bryn Behnke, Assistant Dean for Agricultural Sciences. “We can allow students to work with more animals at a time and cover the material in greater detail. We also can establish new academic lab courses and new technical courses. It transforms the department and adds to the foundation we have built.”
The facility will allow Blinn to introduce new award pathways; offer laboratory courses in animal science, agronomy, and horticulture; and expand space for summer camps and continuing education.
Beginning in spring 2020, Blinn will introduce a new agricultural sciences occupational skills award (OSA) with courses in Forage and Pasture Management and Animal Reproduction as well as either Beef Cattle Production or Sheep and Goat Production. The OSA gives students a strong foundation in basic animal production with an emphasis on reproduction, range management, and production practices, and benefits students interested in working with livestock in any setting, including traditional ranch settings and feed stores.
Beginning in fall 2020 or spring 2021, Blinn plans to introduce a new 60-hour Associate of Applied Science (AAS) degree in Livestock and Range Management. Students on the new AAS degree path will study the agriculture industry, animal science, agronomy, horticulture, agricultural economics, and animal reproduction. As part of the degree plan, students would participate in an internship in animal/livestock husbandry and production.
“The AAS benefits students seeking in-depth knowledge of agriculture with specific courses in range and livestock management,” Behnke said.
Blinn’s Agricultural Sciences Program is approximately four times the size of any other two-year agricultural program in the state. In addition to its excellence in the classroom, Blinn offers extracurricular agricultural activities in the areas of livestock judging, agriculture club, wildlife, agriculture mechanics, horticulture and agriculture sciences. For more information, visit www.blinn.edu/agricultural-sciences.