Educational farm facing financial challenges caused by pandemic

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DORCHESTER COUNTY, S.C. (WCSC) – Ashley Ridge Excessive Faculty’s academic farm is dealing with hundreds of {dollars} of debt after monetary challenges attributable to the coronavirus pandemic. Those that run Fox Ridge Farm are actually turning to the Dorchester Faculty District Two for assist.

DD2 leaders are within the technique of making ready a spending plan for $40.4 million of federal COVID-19 reduction cash. The funds are supposed for use to deal with studying loss and tutorial wants associated to the pandemic, and college students and academics who work on the farm hope leaders will prioritize the college’s agricultural program for a small portion of these funds.

A public enter assembly is ready to held on July 19 the place DD2 leaders will current the outcomes of a group survey and a draft of their spending plan.

Fox Ridge Farm has requested for as much as $20,000 after the pandemic took a singular toll on its academic expertise.

“There have been a number of instances that the three academics all checked out one another and mentioned are we actually going to proceed to do that,” Ashley Ridge trainer Ben Gibson mentioned. “It’s been tiring. It’s been cumbersome and arduous to navigate.”

Throughout a typical yr, Fox Ridge Farm is generally self-sustained and operation prices are paid for by means of discipline journeys and boiled peanut gross sales.

However since March 2020, this system’s debt has grown, and most of that cash was used to maintain feeding the farm’s animals.

“We have been feeding animals each single day by means of the pandemic,” Gibson mentioned. “The prices have mounted. The shortcoming to make more money has been an issue, however fortunately we’re seeing extra alternatives to come back up.”

The group helped assist the farm in main methods by means of the pandemic, and just lately, the farm turned to its group as soon as once more asking supporters to encourage DD2 leaders to assist.

“We’re asking DD2…and in a standard yr we might by no means ask for this…however we all know these funds are meant for reduction,” Gibson mentioned. “We consider that it is a good alternative to make use of a few of these funds to assist a program get again to base zero.”

College students concerned within the farm program agree.

“This program personally modified my life as a pupil.” Ashley Ridge FFA President Ashlynn Sullivan mentioned. “This isn’t only a bunch of goats. It’s like a group. It’s like an entire household right here on the farm.”

Within the meantime, the farm has discovered another alternatives that may assist. On Saturday, Fox Ridge Farm will probably be internet hosting an occasion referred to as Meals Vans on the Farm. Group members can seize some meals and take a look at the animals there from 4pm to 7pm.

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