The Barn Next Door

The Mt. SAC agricultural sciences program includes an animal farm and hospital that you never knew about


Photo courtesy of Mt. SAC.

A student walking towards her morning class, disheveled from a late-night studying, adjusts her backpack strap as she cycles through the vocabulary words she had been cramming in her head all night long. She begins to tell herself that she has what it takes to pass the daunting exam, the only barrier that stands between her and the abyss known as her future.

She approaches the classroom and puts her hand on the cold aluminum of the door handle and takes a deep breath. To her utter surprise, the scent of fresh manure wafts furiously up her nose and into her lungs, immediately making her wonder if this is a sign of what is to be.

Many students at Mt. SAC are unaware of the agricultural sciences program that is offered on campus. Located on the north west of the campus, the animal sciences facilities have an animal hospital equipped with radiography and surgical tools. Additionally, veterinarians at the hospital also spay and neuter cats and dogs. The facility is meant to give as much experience to students who are looking to become animal nurses.

A main barn is also located on the college farm, which houses livestock such as 45 Suffolk and Hampshire sheep and cows. Nearby units also house swine and horses which are taken to competitions where they are showcased.

The college farm is the classroom for students who are looking to get certification in a number of different areas of concentration, including horse ranch management and agriculture management. The program currently has 900 students enrolled, most of which are working to become registered veterinary technicians. Veterinary technicians are responsible for the well-being of livestock. They accomplish this by taking blood and urine samples then testing them in a lab, among other techniques used to determine the health of an animal.

Support staff member Darlene Vale said, “There are people who have worked 10 years [at Mt. SAC] and they say, ‘what farm?’”

Although currently an impacted field according to Darlene, most students on campus are unaware that they have a fully functioning college farm housing all manner of livestock that is open to students for visitation.