Agriculture & Natural
Pre-veterinary Faculty Advisor
Lu Dao, DVM
Horse / Equine Science Faculty Advisor
Pierce College’s Pre-Veterinary Program prepares you for direct transfer into a graduate school of Veterinary Medicine, saving you two years of college!
Are you interested in animals? In growing things? Organic or sustainable environments? Do you have a passion for science but want to work outdoors? Do you want to know more than just how to groom your dog, or saddle your horse, graft your avocado tree or prepare a flower arrangement? If so, then Pierce College's Agriculture Department has something for you.
Pierce College's hands-on approach to teaching agriculture provides industry preparation and transfer readiness to the four year university and beyond.
Agriculture is a major industry in the United States and is a net exporter of food. California has been America's number one agriculture state since the end of World War II. Pierce College opened its doors in 1947 as the Clarence W. Pierce School of Agriculture. Two hundred and twelve WWII veterans entered the first classes. By the early 1970's the college had 2,000 students taking classes in agriculture. Four hundred and fifty head of cattle (114 dairy cattle), 250 head of sheep, 250 of swine and 6,000 poultry made up the livestock portion of the college farm. A fifteen acre orchard, green houses and fields of alfalfa, oats, pumpkins, melons and various other field crops were used to educate our students. In 1947, Los Angeles County was the leading agriculture county in the United States.
Today, Agriculture is still California's number one industry. With 88,000 farms and ranches, California agriculture is nearly a $36.6 billion dollar industry that generates $100 billion in related economic activity. In 2006, the total value of crops produced in Los Angeles County exceeded $250 million.
Pierce College's Agriculture Department is still achieving all three of Dr. Pierce's original goals:
1. Educate future farmers and ranchers, veterinarians, veterinary technicians, florists, equestrians, horticulturists and others involved with our vast industry
2. Educate "city folk" on where their food and fiber comes from
3. Prepare students to transfer to a four year institution or graduate school
In addition, many of our students believe in "life-long learning." They study at Pierce College to increase their knowledge and skills in something they have passion for. Our college and our teaching farm belong to the community and we are dedicated to providing our community members the ability to continue to learn and use our facilities as a teaching laboratory.
New Facilities Recently Built
- Equine facility
- Beef unit
- Poultry unit
- Greenhouse (future construction)
- Veterinary teaching clinic
Pierce Agriculture Department
Articulation with graduate schools of veterinary medicine
Pierce College’s Pre-veterinary program has one of the highest acceptance rates into graduate schools of veterinary medicine. Our farm teaching laboratory, which provides a hands-on approach, is credited for much of this success. The AVMA lists an extreme shortage in poultry and food animal veterinarians. Our students are trained to help fill this need.
High demand for graduates of our RVT program
Pierce graduates complete the national and state board exams with high passage rates. Industry (from companion animal medicine, zoo medicine, food animal, research and equine medicine) is seeking RVT’s with hands-on skills provided by Pierce College. The college recently completed a new veterinary teaching facility with hands-on state of the art equipment and a small veterinary clinic within.
New and Modern Equine Facilities
There are currently 9.2 million horses in the United States; 700,000 of them residing in California. Approximately 4.6 million Americans are involved with the equine industry. The immediate Los Angeles area is home to more than 12,000 horses. The new Pierce Equestrian Center will provide equine career training, life-long learning, recreational opportunities, equine events, and entertainment to the community. The Pierce College program is unique in that it combines a college-credit program with community recreational opportunities.
The equine program offers classes in riding and driving in a variety of disciplines, methods of equine care, handling, and training. The PEC offers opportunities for learning and experience in equine event production and equine facility management.
Get the support you need
Our faculty and staff members make themselves available – giving a personal touch to the individual needs of each and every student. Our department is small enough to give the attention required for student success. We are competitive with other colleges and universities yet relaxed enough to allow a non-aggressive atmosphere between students while at Pierce.
Enjoy our open spaces
Pierce College sits on 420 acres of rolling hills and flat land. 200 acres is devoted to teaching agriculture. Many students come to the farm for jogging, waking the hills, or just being closer to nature. The farm includes a 15 acre nature center used in both our agriculture and life science department courses.
Supporting our community
Once a year, the department puts on “Farm Walk.” This open house of our laboratory to the community attracts 8-10,000 individuals who flock to the farm to see our animals, open space and programs. Our Agriculture ambassadors give farm tours and participate in animal facilitated care in our local community.