Article posted on UFV Today, Dec 12, 2013 (News release from the Province of British Columbia)
British Columbia’s newest centre of excellence is dedicated to agriculture, with construction progressing at the University of the Fraser Valley on a brand-new barn and greenhouses after an investment of $1 million by government.
“We are planting the seeds of success for students who want to reap an exciting and rewarding career in our province’s vibrant agriculture sector,” said Advanced Education Minister Amrik Virk, who participated in a hard-hat tour of the new facilities. “The new Agriculture Centre of Excellence facilities at UFV are an example of how our flexible and nimble post-secondary education system is adapting to ensure we produce students who can support a strong agricultural sector in B.C.”
The new structures — being built to replace buildings at the former UFV Chilliwack campus on Yale Road — are located at UFV’s Chilliwack campus at Canada Education Park. Facilities will include a demonstration barn and new innovative greenhouses that will provide on-campus venues for students to gain practical hands-on experience, pursue applied research and project opportunities, and perform lab and field exercises, all in a controlled environment.
“The Centre at UFV will help prepare students to succeed as agricultural and business leaders,” said Agriculture Minister Pat Pimm. “Graduates will be well positioned to take advantage of the growing demand for B.C agrifood products locally, nationally and around the world, and contribute to our province’s growing agrifood sector as employees or entrepreneurs.”
In a region well known for its ties to the agriculture sector, UFV is taking a leadership role in developing the Fraser Valley’s economy, including education in the agricultural and agribusiness sectors, and supporting professional functions and trades.
“With the support of government, Chilliwack Economic Partners Corporation, Envision Financial and other community and industry partners, we have made a good start on building our Agriculture Centre of Excellence,” said University of the Fraser Valley president and vice-chancellor Mark Evered. “UFV is pleased to have this opportunity to contribute to the development of our region and province in a way that builds on the strengths of our valley and university and serves the educational and economic goals of B.C.”
UFV has offered agriculture education programs for more than 35 years with courses in subjects ranging from livestock to horticulture, and provides students with skills for careers in a wide variety of in-demand sectors, including agri-business and livestock.
UFV Agriculture Centre of Excellence
The University of the Fraser Valley’s Agriculture Centre of Excellence at its Chilliwack campus at Canada Education Park will include a greenhouse, barn, and associated infrastructure constructed to LEED (Leadership Energy and Environmental Design) standards. Venues for agriculture teaching and innovation include:
- A 250-square-metre demonstration barn to provide a centre for hands-on practical experience, demonstrations, and research opportunities for seven types of animal husbandry.
- A 400-square-metre glass greenhouse to provide a multi-use facility, incorporating features such as growth chambers and laboratories, and enable research partnerships with UFV’s biology and geography departments, and practical research into crop ‘beneficials’ (for example, friendly bugs).
- A controlled and focused environment to conduct field and lab exercises, support research and project activities required for undergraduate courses.
Facilities that meet the requirement of a managed safe bio-secure zone.
- Facilities for new trades and technology programs in agriculture automation and agriculture heavy duty mechanics.
In addition to the greenhouse and barn, the project includes provision of site services for the buildings and purchase of new agriculture automation and farmwright equipment.
Advanced Education Minister Amrik Virk visits with agriculture students.
UFV’s Agriculture Centre of Excellence offers a bachelor of business administration in agriculture management, and six diploma and certificate programs that currently provide specialized training in areas including berry production, integrated pest management and livestock production. The new facility will enhance UFV’s current program offerings and provide opportunities for further growth.
The Ministry of Advanced Education is contributing $1 million in capital funding toward the project.