Property will provide hands-on agricultural experience for local students –
By Patricia Beech –
Members of the Ohio Valley School Board and Superintendent Richard Seas on Monday, Aug. 13 were present for the closing of a real estate deal that adds a working farm to the district’s educational toolbox.
The district purchased the 173-acre farm from Eugene and Velma Vogler, of West Union.
According to Seas, the agreement adopted by the board allows for the purchase of the property and dwellings at a cost of $5,000 per acre.
At closing, the district paid $200,000 with payments of $81,125 per year for eight years, interest free.
“There are so many opportunities on that land,” said board member Judy Campbell. “There’s land for growing crops and keeping livestock, there’s trees for lumber and maple trees for harvesting syrup, there’s a pond, and space for bee hives – we’re all very excited about the possibilities.”
Seas said the purchase of the farm will provide opportunities to strengthen and expand current programming at the Ohio Valley Career and Technical Center (CTC).
“It will allow our staff to be creative in program development, community partnerships, and educational opportunities provided to our students,” he told the Defender in June. “Not many schools have a working farm, and I’m looking forward to the development of the programs associated with the purchase of the property.”
Seas stressed that the property was not purchased with school operating funds.
“The money used to pay for the property is Permanent Improvement Dollars which are used to purchase items with a lifespan of five years or more,” he said, adding, “We’re grateful to the Voglers for providing us the opportunity to purchase the property interest-free.”
According to the Ohio Revised Code, Permanent Improvement dollars cannot be used to pay for salaries in the district.
Vogler, who grew up on a farm in Adams County, says he hopes students will learn to appreciate the value of farming.
“Not many kids today get to spend time on a farm,” he said Monday after the closing. “This farm is a nice layout for the school and it will give kids the opportunity to do that and to learn how important agriculture is to our county and to our lives.”
According to CTC Ag Business instructor Luke Rhonemus, the purchase makes the CTC “one of the most unique agriculture career centers in the state of Ohio”.
“Our students are going to have real-life, hands-on experiences on the farm to prepare them for the thousands of jobs that exist in the agricultural industry,” he said. “They will also be learning skills they can use to own and operate any kind of business.”
Brad White, who teaches Ag Mechanics and Industrial Power at the CTC, says some lessons are better learned hands-on.
“You can only teach a kid so much inside four walls,” he said. “This farm will provide opportunities not only for harvest equipment to be serviced and maintained, but also ground preparation and tillage equipment upkeep. Those are opportunities I can’t create within the four walls of a a class room.”
No school funds will be used to operate the farm, according to Rhonemus.
“We will generate our own dollars in the Ag Business program,” he said. “That’s what’s so beautiful about this opportunity. Farming is about dollars and cents and record keeping, and our students will get first-hand experience doing that – they’ll acquire skills they can apply to lots of different jobs and bus