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Pierce College budget cuts threaten revered grad program, Farm Walk

A woman holds an owl as people gather to learn about the bird at the Pierce College Farm Walk on Sunday, April 28, 2013.
April 28, 2013 12:00:00 AM PDT
The Farm Walk at Pierce College was more than an opportunity for families to see animals up close on Sunday.

It was also an effort to save the historic farm, and the community college's revered 66-year-old pre-veterinary graduate program. Program director Leland Shapiro fears they'll both close.

"You can see today we probably have an excess of 10,000 people visiting the farm. There's no other place in Los Angeles County where children can come and learn about agriculture the way they do at Pierce College," he said.

Once upon a time, the pasture was covered with animals, including hundreds of cattle. But that's no longer the case. The school was hit hard by state budget cuts.

"When I started here we had 450 head of cattle. I currently have 11 cows left on the campus," Shapiro said.

They had 6,000 poultry; there are 33 now. The animals were sold and slaughtered for profit. School officials told Eyewitness News the farm and vet program are no longer state funded. So all the proceeds generated by the Farm Walk will help keep these animals alive and students in class.

"To me, it's the foundation of our school and I know that every faculty member and the community members who use the farm love it," said school counselor Sunday Salter.

That goes for children too.

"I'd be pretty sad if they close up because this is a really nice part of land," said third grader Everett Nellis.

To learn more about donating to Pierce College, visit the Pierce College Foundation website.


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