Putting knowledge into practice

I probably personally delivered about 25 lambs and kids—sometimes I was there until 1:30 in the morning.

“I had no idea I’d spend so much time delivering babies,” laughs Shelby West.  

The agriculture education student spent much of her spring semester helping her charges at the Sheep and Goat Unit on the University Farm through the birthing season. She untangled stuck babies and even cradled two abandoned kids on her lap for a night of bottle feeding.

“I probably personally delivered about 25 lambs and kids—sometimes I was there until 1:30 in the morning,” says Shelby.  

The former “city girl” discovered her love of agriculture in high school FFA (Future Farmers of America) classes in Turlock. She chose Chico State because she wanted to go to a good ag school, she says, and because she loves Chico itself.

“This town is amazing. You drive into town from the valley, and there is this calm, laidback feeling.”

Shelby is preparing for a career as a FFA high school teacher. “I love everything about agriculture,” she adds. “The animals, plants, science, business … With a teaching career I can put them all together—which is the best part.”

While working on her degree, she organizes leadership camps and other events for FFA students.

“FFA was such an awesome experience. As an inner city kid, I thought I would never be able to partake in something like that. I want to be able to do the same for kids—introduce them to agriculture,” she says.

While the University Farm is the only place on campus where you can find goats, it isn’t the only place in-class learning is meeting real-world applications. Students are putting their knowledge into practice in every major—in science labs, in music and art studios, and in engineering, construction, and business competitions.

Read more about the many opportunities for women in agriculture in Chico Statements magazine.

The 800-acre University Farm gives agriculture students the chance to practice everything from driving a tractor and processing meat to field yield data analysis and agricultural marketing. Photo by Brian Miller.
The 800-acre University Farm gives agriculture students the chance to practice everything from driving a tractor and processing meat to field yield data analysis and agricultural marketing. Photo by Brian Miller.