IMPERIAL – Imperial County is known world-wide for its agricultural production, both in quality and quantity, and it is home to many farmers, ranchers, and agriculturalists. Most new farmers follow in the footsteps of their families to enter the agricultural lifestyle, but education for agricultural sciences in Imperial County is limited.
Imperial Valley College (IVC) now offers an agriculture program that offers classes focusing on environmental science, soil science, agricultural economics, and principles of plant science. But students wanting to further their education in agriculture must look beyond IVC, as it is only a two-year school.
Kyle Deol, an agriculture student at the junior college, currently travels from Imperial County to Arizona to attend the University of Arizona in hopes of obtaining a Bachelor’s degree in sustainable plant systems.
Deol explained his experience with the agricultural courses at IVC by saying, “It was challenging at first, because the program was very small and there were only a handful of us in each class. Over the past year, we have promoted the Ag program through the IVC Ag Club. So now, there are many more Ag classes, all of which are at their full capacity of students.”
Due to the efforts of Ag students, club members, and professors, the IVC agricultural program has grown and continues to develop new programs.
Deol said he hopes to see Imperial Valley College eventually offer a Pest Control Advisor’s License, Food Safety Certificates, and for a university to offer a Bachelor’s program through IVC.
Dr. Michael Kanyi, an agricultural professor at IVC, has spent his first year at the college growing the Ag Club and communicating with the community to improve the program.
Kanyi works closely with the Imperial County Farm Bureau, the local John Deere implements shop, and several farmers to provide a well-rounded experience for agricultural students. He also explained IVC’s efforts to offer several transferable courses to the University of Arizona to make students’ transition easier.
Kanyi wants to see more students join the Ag program. He is currently working to bring a certification program for Precision Agriculture Technology and an Ag Mechanic program to IVC.
Kanyi has heard the frustrations and suggestions from students and the community. He said he hopes his efforts to expand and further develop the program will satisfy the students and bring more into the program.
“We can’t change things overnight, but we’re taking those baby steps. I feel that we have potential. We just have to remain focused, and I can honestly say that IVC has given us their full support,” said Kanyi.