For Immediate Release
October 17, 2023
Joseph Prechtl, Communications Coordinator | 541-475-6192 Ext. 2225

JEFFERSON COUNTY, Ore. – Jefferson County School District 509J is excited to announce a new collaboration with the City of Madras. Our two organizations have come together and agreed on a lease agreement for 35 acres of land designated for an Agricultural Science and Technology Land Lab. The land is located at the corners of J Street and McTaggart Road. This will offer students from Madras High School and Jefferson County Middle School hands-on, real world experiences in the agriculture field.

The Land Lab will serve as a dynamic learning environment, where students will engage in practical studies on soil quality, composition, nutrient content, water quality, and the identification of native, invasive, and noxious weeds and pests. Additionally, students will gain vital insights into crop production methods, equipping them with skills for their futures.

“We are thrilled about the endless possibilities the Land Lab will bring to our students,” said Madras High School Principal Tony Summers. “This unique learning environment will provide hands-on experiences that go beyond the classroom, allowing our students to truly grasp the complexities of agriculture. It’s an exciting step towards preparing them for the real-world challenges and opportunities in this field.”

Our school district will sublease the land back to its current tenant, Mr. Greg Williams of Deschutes Basin Farms. This collaborative effort will allow our district to maintain the current operation level of the property.

The school district is committed to a multi-year plan that includes maintenance and operations of the land, instructional development, facility enhancements, and establishing legacy projects that will sustain the land lab over time.

Over the next three years, our district plans to update the facilities on the property, provide ADA accessible parking lot and restroom facilities and provide livestock housing and working facility. All while students are working in partnership with the sublessee to farm, irrigate, plant, fertilize, and upkeep the land.

Madras FFA utilized the Land Lab for a District FFA Soil Judging Competition. Nearly 70 students from multiple Oregon school districts converged to assess and judge soil samples in three different pits on the 35 acres, further showing the potential and significance of the property.

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