The Ottumwa Courier

Education

June 4, 2013

$500,000 donation for sustainable agriculture

The recent announcement of a significant donation from philanthropist Morgan E. Cline is generating more good news for Centerville and Appanoose County.

Cline’s gift of $500,000 to Indian Hills Community College will facilitate the creation of what will be known as the Morgan E. Cline School of Sustainable Agriculture. The new project promises to catapult Indian Hills and the Centerville community to the forefront of food production in the Midwest, drawing attention from around the country.

The complex on the IHCC Centerville Campus will offer new cutting-edge opportunities for students and the community by creating a sustainable greenhouse operation. Once completed, the new complex, which will also include a welcome center, processing center and educational space, will offer a significant range of hands-on experiences and training for those interested in commercial and private food production. It will be a model for food production, becoming a huge asset to the community by generating college utilization and tourism.

Brydon Kaster, director of the new Morgan E. Cline School of Sustainable Agriculture, said, “Mr. Cline’s belief in our program will have an immediate and substantial impact on both our college and on the local community. Indian Hills has a number of academic and athletic programs that garner statewide, national and even international recognition. This project will be no different.

“People will travel to Centerville from around the country and, possibly, from around the world to see how they too might be able to create a sustainable greenhouse production business. And our current and future students will have a more diverse list of agronomy courses to choose from that will offer valuable hands-on experiences,” said Kaster.

IHCC students will be included in all stages of production and management. A student in the program will gain experience growing many different crops that could have a tremendous economic impact in the region. They will also be able to develop business plans for marketing the products that are grown. The facility will drastically change the level of retention for students as they will now have experiences that will directly coincide with the curriculum they are being exposed to.

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