The Agricultural Science Center is a farm-like operation composed of about 200 acres of agricultural land and located at 5360 W. Highway 33, which holds in-person classes and labs for students. A former dairy purchased by the BYU-Idaho administration in the ’70s, underwent a massive remodeling four years ago. It now houses an indoor arena, classrooms for instruction, lab space, and various housing structures for animals to live and develop. The center was dedicated in conjunction with the Science and Technology Center. It’s a facility utilized by the Animal and Food Science Department.
The center has one full-time employee, the facility manager, who handles the day-to-day work. The rest of the positions are staffed by student employees. Employment is not exclusive to animal science majors, and students can apply for an opening if they have relevant experience in the job. A student who has no experience can be taught the job if they apply.
The classrooms for lectures are located in the main building along with class lab rooms, courses and events, with a large indoor sand-floored arena for large animal handling. Labs accompany animal health, reproduction and handling courses, providing hands-on experience.
The north side of the main building serves several classroom purposes: the reproductive class, animal health and handling classes. One room holds individual stalls and a horse stock for the animal health courses. The adjacent room stores a hydraulic cattle chute system and breeding boxes for the reproduction course. Students practice and perform various techniques ranging from artificial insemination, embryo collection and determining pregnancies in the reproduction lab.
The structures surrounding the main building house various farm animals.
“The different species are here to show the students the different careers in the animal science world as well as to teach the students different production practices on different species,” said William Twitchell, a Horse Production professor. “All the animals are used in multiple classes.”
Horses and some heifer cows have pens located next to one another, while other heifers rotate through larger pastures to graze and roam. Pigs and chickens have separate buildings for them to grow and develop, while the sheep have housing and a pasture area to graze and roam. In another building, calves are housed and cared for; some of the calves are a result of the reproduction classes.
Anyone is able to participate in some of the courses and labs; however, the higher-level classes have prerequisites that need to be done beforehand.
Horse Production is offered at the center. In lectures, students discuss production practices and the modern horse industry. The course provides a teaching environment to practice real-world production and horsemanship techniques, regardless of if the students have previous experience. Students in the class who have not been around horses before can slowly build their confidence as they progressively learn more and interact with the horses.
“Some people that come to this class have never been on a horse before but are now learning to ride,” said Bailey Provost, a freshman studying animal science.
Boarding is exclusively for students who own horses and are currently enrolled in the Horse Production class until the semester is over. After the class, there are other stables around Rexburg that offer to board horses.
Whether you’re curious about the agricultural science world or looking to expand your experience, the Agricultural Center provides well-rounded experiences and unique classes.