Reedley College students live on the farm

FRESNO COUNTY, Calif. (KFSN) -- Most college students who live on campus are headed back to their cramped dorm rooms after winter break. But, four students at Reedley College are getting an education while living large, on the farm.

Offering tender care for a mother and her three newborn lambs is just part of Ryan Oxfords job and education as a student at Reedley College.

Ryan said, "We are here to take care of all the animals, it's really nice to able to live right here on campus with the animals."

In exchange for caring for the animals, and helping to maintain the 300 acre campus farm Ryan, and three other students get a free place to live. And unlike most dorms, they each get their own private rooms in a brand new and dormitory. College President Sandra Caldwell says it works for the students and the school.

Caldwell explained, "Having this housing on campus allows us to have four students, who in exchange for working on the campus get their housing, and then it provides them with a living learning opportunity for working on an active working farm and it helps provide a level of security on this large farm operation here."

Students pledge at least 12 hours a week of farm work but, listening to student Gwen Alexander it sounds like much more.

Gwen explained, "So 7am clean, feed check on everything, we actually all have an 8am class so then hurry up go to class then come back and then throughout the day we constantly are checking on the animals making sure everything's okay. Then about 6:30 feed again and then again at night feed and check on everything before we go to bed."

The cost of living in a regular dorm is nearly $5,000 a year. But student Kasey Verreras says living here is more than just about saving money.

Kasey said, "I was living in Squaw Valley and a lot of times I'd get done with class then we'd have a pig, farrowing giving birth and I would literally get home Ryan would give me a call. For me it was bye mom, get my pajamas, stay at someone else's house for the night and stay up till 12 in the morning delivering piglets so it really is worth it."

Not all of these students grew up on a farm but all were involved with 4H and FFA projects, so student Jacob Crossling says actually living and working on a farm is providing real career training.

Jacob added, "It's not just day to day things we have to deal with it is also taking care of the animals injuries and upkeep of different things that tend to break."
All four hope to transfer over to Fresno State and make a career in agriculture.

Gwen added, "It's a big industry and a very important industry to everybody everyone eats, lives, everyone needs its I think we are all really proud to be ag majors and then hopefully going into the agriculture field when we graduate."

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