DIXON – Sauk Valley Community College has signed off on sharing the school district's Brinton Avenue property to grow agriculture education in the area.
The Sauk Board approved a 5-year intergovernmental agreement Monday to farm 56 acres of the property at 1501 Brinton Ave., which totals about 73.5 acres and was purchased by the school district for $1 million in July.
Developing crops will be part of the college's ag program, which was revived in the fall and doubled its number of students this semester, and the goal is to add high school students into the mix.
"There has been a major resurgence with agriculture education in the area," said Jon Mandrell, Sauk's vice president for academics and student services.
Earlier this month, the school district had an informational meeting on a partnership in the works with Sauk to offer a dual-credit online agriculture course for Dixon High School students starting in the fall.
The district hasn't had an agriculture program for more than 3 decades, and it's not ready to support a full program yet, but sharing resources with Sauk is the first step in that direction, Assistant Superintendent Dan Rick said.
"We're incredibly thankful for Sauk's involvement," he said.
Sauk will be responsible for the seed, supplies and equipment for the crops and will submit a field plan to the school district no later than March 1 each year – revenue from selling the crops will be split between the two.
Sauk President David Hellmich said they were already looking to expand their existing test plots – a handful of acres on campus were set aside for the ag program – and the agreement benefits both of them.
The agreement, which will be going to the school board for a vote at a special meeting Wednesday, shouldn't affect potential future uses of the property, Rick said.
"We want to grow together," he said.
The Sauk Valley Community College Board of Trustees next meets at 6 p.m. March 26 in the third floor board room at the college, 173 state Route 2.