AMHERST, Mass. (WWLP) - UMass broke ground on a new working farm on campus Thursday. It's a project educators say will be instrumental in shaping the future of farming in the Pioneer Valley.
Dozens attended the groundbreaking of the 50-acre-field on North Pleasant Street in Amherst Thursday.
College of Natural Sciences Dean Steve Goodwin said students will plow and plant the crops at the new Agricultural Learning Center . Aside from being an outdoor classroom, the working farm will be the new home to the last remaining horse barn on campus.
The Associate Dean to the School of Agriculture, Dr. Stephen Herbert, told 22News the farm is important to the future of farming. "Food, water and energy are the important things societal wise. If we don't train people to be the next farmers, our farmer population is about 57 years old, the average age, and we need new farmers."
Dr. Herbert says the expansion of their program is due to the continued interest in farming. In the last 10 years, enrollment in the Stockbridge School of Agriculture has gone up from 5 to 80 students.