Churchill County School Board trustees showed their support for the Churchill County High Schools FFA program at their Thursday night meeting when they approved to continue leasing the Rio Vista property to the program and allow them to sub-lease it for grazing rights during the winter.
Kristina Moore, CCHS teacher and FFA adviser, addressed the trustees about how vital the property is to their program and students.
“The property at Rio Vista is a used by the Agriculture Department as a learning laboratory in which to apply skills and knowledge, learned in the classroom, to real world situations,” Moore said. “The property itself is 53.67 total acres with 47.3 of that being termed as irrigated acres that were originally purchased as a possible future school site as a Capital Investment.”
In order to make good use of the learning lab, the FFA chapter sought to establish a contract for the hay being produced by the property, she said.
“Approximately 12 years ago, there was an agreement reached between Churchill County FFA and Silver State Industries dairy-ranch operation to purchase all of the hay from the property and arrange transportation from Rio Vista to their facilities in Carson City,” Moore said. “In 2012, we harvested 168 total tons of hay in the first season back in alfalfa after having rotated into corn and then rested the field for a year. The market price was $180 per ton and $30,281 was deposited into the ASB Farm account at CCHS. In 2013, we harvested 164 tons of hay for the season. The market price was $215 per ton and $35,241 were deposited into the ASB Farm account at CCHS.”
Moore said in 2014, first cutting was 37 tons of dairy-quality hay with a market value of $280 per ton for $10,421 and second cutting was 62 tons at a value of $245 per ton for $15,234 plus the two blocks of 88 bales each that were taken to Fallon Livestock Exchange.
Students learn how to work for opportunities in the program.
“We try to build and reinforce a strong work ethic in our students and being able to use the property at Rio Vista allows us to give them real-world experience in how good it feels to work for things instead just going through life with their hands out for donations with the expectation that people owe them something without having to earn it,” Moore said. “I firmly believe in the FFA motto, “Learning to Do, Doing to Learn, Earning to Live, Living to Serve,” and I try to reinforce it throughout all that we do in my classroom and in our FFA chapter. Please allow them to continue to learn these lessons in their Agricultural Education Program and FFA activities by allowing them to continue to learn to be stewards of this land in real time and earn the privilege of representing their FFA Chapter.”
After hearing Moore’s report, trustees unanimously supported the proposal for the FFA program.
Trustee Carmen Schank said as long as she is on the board, the program will continue to keep the Rio Vista property.
“I feel very strongly about agriculture,” Schank said. “I think nationally speaking, agriculture is losing support in our country. My husband works in hay and a lot of our production with food is going to foreign countries and soon we will be at the mercy of other countries. I personally feel that we can not stress enough that we feed our own people with the food grown from our country.”
Trustee Clay Hendrix said he remembers the FFA program when he was in high school.
“When I was in high school they started the custom hay bailing program,” Hendrix said. “The high school has now turned that into a small farming operation. I think that’s a lot of the ingenuity and hard work from the FFA and like all the board members, I think, we see FFA as a very good cornerstone for our high school.”
Other items the trustees discussed and/or approved include the following:
Approved policy P4117: Evaluation of CCSD employees.
Postponed resolution 14-08 for the selection of an exclusive broker to list for sale the CCHS construction house located at 462 Discovery Drive.
Approved contract with Phyllys Dowd, director of Business Services.
Approved trustees to tour West End.