FRC student grooms horse during class in the Equine & Ranch Management Program. Thanks to new legislation, it is now part of a permanent bachelor's degree offering. Photo submitted

FRC’s equine bachelor’s program here to stay

Thanks to the efforts of those in support of Assembly Bill 927, the Feather River College Equine and Ranch Management bachelor degree is now a permanent option.

This unique degree combines scientific agricultural ranch management courses with hands-on livestock related disciplines. It also paves the way for the college to offer other bachelor’s options in the future such as forest management and watershed restoration.

“The FRC Equine and Ranch Management Program has given me the tools to work in the large animal field and the tools to manage a business,” said Allante Coleman, a 2020 graduate who went to work for Mountain View Veterinary Services.

California joins 24 other states that authorize their community colleges to offer the baccalaureate options. This aids in recognizing that the associate degree alone in a number of workforce related fields is becoming, or has become, obsolete as employers and professional associations increasingly require bachelor’s-level training.

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Ambria Holm, a 2018 graduate, worked for a state agricultural experiment station upon graduation and later moved to managing a large, professional ranch. When asked about the program, she said, “Feather River College’s Equine and Ranch Management Bachelor’s Degree Program helped me outsource and narrow down the field that I wanted to be in. (My classes) introduced me to be a part of communities that are doing things right in the industry.”

Dr. Constance M. Carroll, President and CEO of the California Community College Baccalaureate Association (CCCBA), had this to say in her statewide announcement, “Since workforce education is one of the top community college missions, filling this gap is both practical and appropriate within the existing mission. Moreover, most community college students are unable to leave their local communities to pursue educational opportunities elsewhere in the state or nationally.”

This is especially true for rural California Community Colleges such as Feather River College. This new bill paves the way for new and innovative workforce-related programs to take shape at FRC, the College is committed to developing bachelor degree programs that serve community and workforce needs.

”FRC was a pioneer in offering the only agricultural community college bachelor’s degree among 15 original pilot programs statewide. Through our demonstrated student job-placement and career advancement success over the past five years, we can build upon these achievements to further develop the Equine and Ranch Management Program. FRC will also investigate additional degrees that take advantage of our unique strengths in areas such as watershed protection and restoration and healthy forest management,” stated Dr. Kevin Trutna, FRC Superintendent/President.

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Just as with the revolutionary Equine & Ranch Management program, Plumas County residents will benefit by the signing of AB 927. This allows FRC to continue its hands-on approach to learning through the expansion of more 4-year degree programs, some of which are already in the works. In addition, this legislation most certainly aids in the ability for FRC to continue its mission of serving the rural population while also being a front-runner in the development of more bachelor degree programs. This legislation, coupled with FRC’s leadership, presents a huge benefit to not only the local students here in Plumas County, but the regional workforce as well.

Learn more about the Equine and Ranch Management Bachelor Degree Program on the FRC website: https://www.frc.edu/agriculture-equine-studies/bachelor-degree

Take a look at the opportunities this program afforded a local Plumas County student here: