As the Dos Palos/Oro Loma Joint Unified School District embarks on an ambitious plan to upgrade and expand its school farm, they recently received a substantial gift to help with the project.

Yosemite Farm Credit, in partnership with CoBank, presented a check for $20,000 to the Dos Palos High School Agriculture Department to help fund projects that will expand the school’s farm and enhance the local community.

Yosemite Farm Credit, based in Turlock, uses the funds from its “Sharing Success” program to “contribute to lasting projects within our territory that will benefit the future of agriculture,” said Megan Agueda, the credit firm’s marketing director.

Dos Palos High Ag instructor Todd Maddux said that the donation will help in the construction of the new school farm, which will be an extension of the existing farm located just outside the Dos Palos city limits. The new portion of the farm will include a sheep and goat barn as well as a cattle barn and facility.

“It will also include a hay barn, storage building, restrooms, pastures, wash rack, and a parking lot,” Maddux explained.

He added that the new farm will give students an opportunity to expand their Supervised Agriculture Experience.

“Students will have an opportunity to raise beef and dairy projects if they do not have the facilities at home,” said Maddux, who has been teaching at the high school for 17 years. “Sheep and goat students will be treated to pens that relieve the stress of our current pens with four to six lambs per pen. The expansion will also have more of a direct effect on how the animals are fed.”

The wash rack will also greatly improve the opportunity of washing animals.

“But the most important part of the construction is the parking lot,” Maddux said. “This will allow students to park safely, instead of along the road, and using the new walkway, they can access the new barns of the existing farm.”

The plans for the upgrade have been approved by the school board and the district is excited to be able to give students the new opportunities the facility will create.

“The Dos Palos FFA would like to thank all the school board members, the administration, and our Ag Advisory Board for making this happen for our students and community,” said Maddux.

David Borboa