MARTINSVILLE – Students aiming to pursue careers in agriculture still are welcome at Patrick Henry Community College (PHCC) although the school no longer will provide courses in the field, according to President Angeline Godwin.
They will be able to earn an associate’s in arts degree in general studies which will enable them to transfer into agriculture programs at universities such as Virginia Tech, Godwin said.
Some agricultural courses at PHCC will continue indefinitely so students already in the programs can finish earning their credentials, college officials have said.
An overall lack of enrollment in the programs has prompted PHCC to drop them because, amid budget cuts, it’s no longer financially feasible to offer them, Godwin said.
Specifically, the associate in applied science in agribusiness degree program and the career studies certificate programs in horticulture and viticulture (growing grapes to make wine) are being ceased.
Having worked at PHCC since 2012, Godwin did not know how long each program has been at the college. But since 2009, the program has been part of a consortium with Southwest Virginia Community College and Southside Community College. Agriculture students at each have taken some of their courses on campus and others through a video link with courses taught at the other colleges.
Godwin grew up on a peanut farm in Alabama. Due to her experience with farming, it pains her for PHCC to have to eliminate its agriculture programs, she said.
“There’s just not enough (students) to sustain the programs,” she continued. The programs “never have had a large enrollment. It’s been modest, and it has been on the decline” in recent years.
The agribusiness program was created, Godwin said, for students wanting a business-related degree focused on agricultural operations. It was targeted…