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Starting soon, there will no longer be an opportunity for those wishing to pursue a Hort/Crop degree at Linn Benton CC here in Albany OR.

There will be no transfer degrees. Nope....

Due to budget issues, LBCC has decided that axing these programs and actually the entire department was the best thing they could do along with cutting other departments and hiring on 4 additional new Deans. :headscratch: Kind of a kick in the face to the agriculture that tends to happen around here in the middle of the Willamette Valley.

See below for the letter I penned to the reps and senators in Oregon urging them to come and support these programs as they are vital to the local community.

Their 3 reasons:
  1. Low value degree (Who eats? Obviously nobody eats so we don't need this)
  2. Low graduation rate (LBCC boasts an impressive 14% graduation w/ degree rate - doesn't take into consideration transfers and invidual class takers)
  3. Low Enrollment (Good times means less people go to to school for careers, hard times show increased numbers for colleges)

Dyjital said:
Dear Representative/Senator XYZ,

I write to you in hopes that I may have a few minutes of your time to share with you something that has recently come to my attention at Linn Benton Community College in Albany. As an elected representative of our state and local area I find it important that you know what is going on at our community colleges and the impact that this notice will have on these communities.

We pride ourselves in Oregon as being one large community and nowhere is that as evident as it is in the Willamette Valley. We have many small farms and communities that are dependent upon these farms for their livelihood and the stability of those around them. It came to my attention on Thursday, March 14, 2019 that this community has come under attack and a direct threat to the future of these farms and communities has surfaced. I’m not talking about regulations, invading countries or any external force. I am referencing the loss of two programs at LBCC that will have a direct impact on the livelihood of these family farms and communities. The news hit the students and faculty like a slap to the face, the news was simple; LBCC was cutting their budget and because of this the entire Horticulture and Crop Production programs will be removed from the LBCC curriculum. The two programs will cease to exist after the spring term in 2020.

The Horticulture and Crop Production programs at LBCC have been a shining example of what these types of programs should look like in a community college. Stefan Seiter, the advisor, developer and driving force behind the current program at LBCC, has been working diligently and has brought to the Willamette Valley new programs, new ideas and techniques which have continued on the 40+ year history of the programs at LBCC to ensure the program’s success inside the classroom and outside the classroom.

LBCC quotes a few reasons for making the cuts such as: low graduation rate, low enrollment, and a low value of degree in the job market. LBCC offers thorough transfer degrees and working hand in hand with OSU has developed a very efficient transfer program where students can start classes at LBCC and finish through OSU for their master’s or bachelor’s degrees. These transfers have a lot to do with the local area and the support within our communities, many students who transfer from LBCC to OSU are working towards being the operator of the family farms and in many cases, they are still working while pursuing their education. The flexibility of Horticulture & Crop Production classes at LBCC has enabled this type of relationship with the surrounding areas and has led to LBCC being a major stepping stone for the community. Without this option in the community we will see less degrees at OSU due to the large difference in tuition rates between the community college and the university.

Low enrollment is cited as well for a reason that the program in its entirety will be cut, it is true that right now there are around 50 students currently enrolled in the Horticulture and Crop Production programs. There is a natural ebb and flow to the enrollment numbers in colleges and we see that during high economic times the levels naturally go down as there is more work available and the inverse is seen that during harder economic times, more people are pursuing greater levels of education for economic stability in their careers. We often do not think about Horticulture and Crop Production as being a major source in numbers for a school but the impact that these small farms have on the communities and surrounding areas can have a much larger impact than other degrees as the money earned in these fields is returned right here in the Willamette Valley in various ways.

This leads to the last reason that was given to cut the entire Horticulture and Crop Production degrees; low value of degree. Oregon is an agrarian based economy; it always will be. We have fertile farmland and are blessed due to the rainfall that we receive every year with naturally productive soil. The base of every nation is its ability to produce food for its citizens. Although Oregon does produce a large amount of produce viable for consumption, in the heart of the Willamette Valley we produce grass seed. I work for a seed wholesaler and we sell our Oregon grown seed across the nation. The seed grown here feeds animals from Georgia to Maine and from Utah to Virginia. Oregon is a major producer of cover crops that are being used to reduce the amount of chemical fertilizers that are used on farms across the nation. We have an issue right now with the excessive use of these fertilizers and Oregon is helping to reduce these on a massive level. Oregonians pride themselves with being green and eco-friendly and that is exactly what the farms in the Willamette Valley are doing, helping this nation change direction towards more natural and sustainable farming methods. LBCC has not taken into consideration the job market and has admitted they have not made any job outlook research prior to their decision. When we lose small farms to larger companies, they never go back to small farms owned by a family. That heritage is lost and the biggest value is to keep these farms running, to bring the next generation of farmers to understand the need to bring in new methods, new ideas and new ways to farm that have less of an impact on our soil.

LBCC has not accounted for the transfer students and students who receive work-relevant education when only looking at the degree completion rates in the program. These numbers are held against these programs because any student that does not successfully graduate with a degree is counted against and not for the program. There are approximately 2/3rds of the students in these programs who are set up for transfer degrees. This is counted against the completion rate. Although it shows as a low completion rate, we have to look outside of the box and figure out why; the programs are so effective that any student who begins their transfer is so well suited for the master’s or bachelor’s degree that they end up with low incentive to return to LBCC and complete their associates. Students who transfer to OSU are highly regarded as having a “solid technical foundation” and it shows their “commitment and passion for the field of agriculture.”

Currently there are three campuses in Oregon that offer a Horticulture degree; LBCC, Chemeketa CC and Clackamas CC. With the elimination of the programs from LBCC, there will be only one direct transfer program to OSU through Clackamas CC. Currently there are only three locations that offer Agriculture Crop Production degrees: LBCC, Blue Mountain CC in Pendleton OR and Treasure Valley CC in Ontario OR of which only LBCC offers a direct transfer to OSU. There will no longer be any crop production degrees available in the Willamette Valley at the community college level.

LBCC is attempting to take the word community out of Linn Benton Community College and this is shown by the quick and nearsighted decision to eliminate these two programs. The Horticulture & Crop Production students who spend time at the campus learning about small farms, their operations, cover crops, greenhouse management, natural pest control and many other organic and sustainable methods of production put in a lot of hands-on work at the farm that is on campus. It is not well known to many outside of the programs but there is an impressive amount of produce given out to the community and the outreach to the community has been a top priority. It is the goal of these programs to enrich the lives of the communities in and around the campus. Below are a few things that these programs do within the community:

  • Initiated a new partnership with Linn-Benton Food Share for volunteer and education opportunities for the Community Services Consortium Youth farmers. They will work at the LBCC Farm during the upcoming growing season to learn from our students and staff and to significantly increase the fresh vegetable donations for the Food Share - Winter 2019
  • Organized an Oregon State Extension Master Gardener presentation series a the LBCC Veterans Garden. A large group of Albany and Corvallis community members learn from OSU Extension and LBHC staff about small scale food production - Summer 2018
  • Created a Veterans Garden and Veteran Garden Program, in which LBCC veterans have an opportunity to hone their gardening and farming skill - ongoing since Fall 2017
Growing new lives

  • Created a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture - subscription veggie box) program for LBCC employees - Summer 2016.
LBCC farm adds CSA program

  • Created summer farmer’s market program on the LBCC campus - Ongoing since Summer 2012.

LBCC class covers all the food bases

  • Organized/facilitated countless community service events in Albany and Corvallis for the Horticulture Club including clean up and planting of public spaces - ongoing since Fall 2003
Teaming up to clean up cemetery (and homeless camp)

  • Continuously increased size of a yearly Mother’s Day plant sale on campus - ongoing since 30+ years.

As noted above, this is not a small program that is isolated and is solely focused on what it can do on its own, this is an integrated community-centered program that reaches out beyond the borders of the classroom and heavily invests and plants seeds of hope to inspire others.

My personal story is not that unlike many who come to a community college looking for direction in their lives. I came to LBCC at the age of 36 looking for information about classes I wanted to take. I knew that I wanted a degree in two areas; horticulture and sustainable farming. I was surprised when sitting down with my advisor Stefan Seiter for the first time and was informed that the Horticulture and Crop Production degrees were rooted in organic and sustainable practices. I was thrilled that I could obtain my goal of two associate degrees at one college and that it would fulfill exactly what I wanted. The dedication that Stefan and the other instructors bring to the classroom is one that cannot be described, it has to be experienced to be fully understood. This is what I wanted, their indescribable devotion to their fields is what made their classes so enjoyable and really helped cement what you learn into practical application. This commitment and enthusiasm for sharing their knowledge in the classroom is the reason that I decided to enroll at LBCC. I knew that this would be the place I could use as a springboard into my future while working in this field.

The world of horticulture and farming is close knit and the sense of community that is built within these classrooms and outside is what makes it so important that these degrees are able to continue. There are students who are preparing to run the family farm, students who are working to build upon the organic food market, those who are preparing to start their own farms just like Camron Ridge Farms.

We need your help! Will you answer the call and give some support to these communities you represent?

How you can help:

1. We need YOU to show up at the at the next board meeting (Wednesday, March 20th at 6 pm in CC-103, Boardroom in Calapooia Center - Albany Campus). We need the voices of everyone in the community, who better to have the ear of the community as those elected to represent them.

2. Please consider writing in your support (we really would love to have the first and second options presented here) by sending an email to:

Greg Hamann (LBCC President): [email protected]

Ann Buchele (LBCC VP for Academics) [email protected]

Jim Merryman (Board Chair): [email protected]

Randy Camp (Vice Chair): [email protected]

Dr. Keith Frome: [email protected]

Dick Running: [email protected]

Kristin Adams: [email protected]

Linda Modrell: [email protected]

Shelly Garrett: [email protected]

3. Express your sentiments by mail to:

6500 Pacific Blvd SW

Calapooia Center 101

Albany, OR 97321​

Democrat Herald recent article regarding the termination of the programs:

LBCC to eliminate horticulture program, staff positions

I heard that this boondoggle of all higher public education has 2 administrators for each professor.
retard much? and fu for asking for more money
One less place for people to learn how to grow weed.

Well, considering that 1 of 50 right now in these degrees is looking at cannabis... and myself as one who is enrolled in both degrees (Hort/Crop Prod. For ministry outreach), I can say the pot market is a very slim part.

More are attending to take over a farm, use Horticulture as therapy for the ill (think MS, autism etc), so lets not throw the baby out with the dishwater.
Well, considering that 1 of 50 right now in these degrees is looking at cannabis... and myself as one who is enrolled in both degrees (Hort/Crop Prod. For ministry outreach), I can say the pot market is a very slim part.

More are attending to take over a farm, use Horticulture as therapy for the ill (think MS, autism etc), so lets not throw the baby out with the dishwater.

Just a joke....
Just a joke....
I figured after I wrote everything and got driving down the road.

So I am home now and was going to retract the statement but.... I’m honest so I’ll mea culpa.

It’s really tragic though that the blue collar worker is being so devalued by the talking heads and ‘management’ of these institutions. If your program doesn’t bring in large donations you are a peasant.
I figured after I wrote everything and got driving down the road.

So I am home now and was going to retract the statement but.... I’m honest so I’ll mea culpa.

It’s really tragic though that the blue collar worker is being so devalued by the talking heads and ‘management’ of these institutions. If your program doesn’t bring in large donations you are a peasant.

What is disappointing is that many schools had identities with these programs. WSU used to have a great ag program. Now its just another liberal arts school. If your degree has you taking all of your classed in 500 seat lecture halls, it can’t be that important. At least not very technical.
Sorry to hear about that! Another example of education as a (corrupt) industry IMO.

Let’s close this entire program, but then hire on some executive administrators over here, oh and make sure the administrators have nothing to to do with actually educating. Makes it easier for no-show, minimal show “jobs”. Graft/pay to play/favors.

Way back when I got my BS, my class was the last. But it made sense, as there were only 4 of us, AND that college was known for its elementary & high school education programs. There were dozens of other similarly affordable schools (at that time) within a reasonable distance with more science focused programs.

To close AG programs connected directly with OSU, in the heart of AG, AND without other options is just simply bogus.

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