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Livestock Barn Transforms Iowa School, Enriching Education and Empowering Students
Iowa Ag Connection - 05/25/2023

Central Decatur Community School District in Leon, Iowa, has experienced a remarkable transformation in its educational landscape through the implementation of a Livestock Facility on campus. This innovative project, made possible by grants and community support, has provided students with invaluable hands-on learning opportunities in the field of livestock production.

The journey began with the acquisition of a USDA Farm to School Grant two years ago, which enabled the purchase of a farrowing trailer. This allowed students in the agriculture program to raise the initial litters of pigs off-campus. While this was a valuable experience for a select few, the goal was to expand the program and involve more students in the process.

Motivated by their enthusiasm, the students rallied together to secure permission from the city council and the school administration. Their efforts were rewarded when the Decatur County Development Corporation and GRM Networks stepped forward, offering funding for a barn and providing additional donations to support the project.

With the necessary resources in hand, the students embarked on designing the Central Decatur Livestock Facility, envisioning a space that could accommodate pigs, steers, and a sow. They applied for additional grants, and their efforts were fruitful, allowing them to realize their goals and even procure a separate building for broilers.

The impact of the Livestock Facility has been profound, benefiting not only the agriculture program but the entire school community. Students have gained invaluable skills and knowledge in animal science, including tasks such as artificial insemination, daily care, and monitoring growth.

The facility has also played a vital role in providing fresh pork, beef, and chicken for the school lunch program, enlightening students about the importance of agriculture and where their food comes from.

Beyond the practical skills acquired, the Livestock Facility has taught students important life lessons. They have learned the value of hard work, problem-solving, and taking on leadership roles. Even students who do not plan to pursue careers in agriculture have found the experience rewarding, developing resilience and a greater appreciation for the effort that goes into producing food.

The success of the Livestock Facility serves as an inspiration for other schools and communities. It demonstrates the impact of hands-on learning and the power of collaboration between educators, local organizations, and students. By fostering a passion for agriculture and providing practical knowledge, schools like Central Decatur Community School District are shaping a brighter future for their students and the agricultural industry as a whole.

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