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Donations take district farm one step closer to reality
ag farm pic
A 10-acre parcel off of Taylor Road will soon be home to the Turlock Unified School District Ag Farm. - photo by KRISTINA HACKER / The Journal

Although the future home of the Turlock Unified School District Agricultural Farm may not look like it now, it will soon be host to orchards, gardens and livestock—thanks to the financial help of recent donors.

TUSD recently accepted a number of donations for the district ag farm, including $12,279.98 from North American Pipe, $17,325 for architectural services from FF & J Architects, $3,341.37 for electrical labor from Darrale Patrias Electrical, $2,400 for plumbing labor from Stanislaus Plumbing, and $500 from A.L. Gilbert & Company.

 “I know the district and everyone here very much appreciates the generosity of our community and continued generosity of our community,” said Board President Frank Lima.

Despite the donations formally acknowledged during TUSD’s Tuesday Board meeting, assistant superintendent of business services Mike Trainor assures that these were not the first and certainly not the last.

“We have received many donations from various people. We are looking forward to the day when we will be able to formally thank them for their support,” said Trainor.

According to Trainor, the district is planning to formally thank all donors at a TUSD Board meeting in the near future.

For now, agricultural farm consultant Mark Bender is out in the community raising awareness about the district ag farm, as well as asking for donations.

“This really is going to serve these students real-world, industry skill building activities,” said Bender in a presentation to the Turlock Irrigation District Board of Trustees on Tuesday.

The 10-acre parcel off of Taylor Road will be a place for Pitman High School and Turlock High School students to house their animals for the Stanislaus County Fair, and include various animal facilities, miscellaneous fruit and nut orchards, open pastures and a garden area that will serve all TUSD students.

Trainor reports that so far the farm has received a considerable amount of support from the community and both high school ag programs in the form of several work days. All volunteers worked to clean up the property by demolishing older structures, removing dead trees and clearing unsafe concrete.

In addition to undergoing a roof replacement, the farm’s house has also had its interior stripped down to the studs and electrical wiring and plumbing has been installed.

“We started this project with the idea that community involvement would be integral,” said Trainor. “We are far from being completed, however, we have seen a tremendous amount of support from the community and we’re getting closer.”

With a price tag of approximately $1 million, Bender reports that the continued success of the future district ag farm is extremely dependent on donations from the community.

“The district basically spent its budget buying this property, so if this is to be built, it must be built using almost 100 percent donations,” said Bender.