RACINE, WIS. — Urban Agriculture students at Milwaukee Public Schools’
Harold S. Vincent High School will soon be able to turn acres of their campus
into an open-air classroom thanks to a generous donation from Racine-based Case
IH announced Thursday.
Case IH, a global leader in agriculture equipment, has donated two tractors,
a front loader and a utility vehicle to the new Urban Ag program at Vincent.
The school and students plan to use the equipment to assist in planting crops
–perhaps including alfalfa, corn and oats – on Vincent’s 92-acre far-northwest
Milwaukee campus. The crops will be donated to local farmers and/or the
Wisconsin State Fair for animal feed.
“We see this as a joint opportunity,” explained Kyle Russell, Senior Director
of Marketing for Case IH North America. “We make it our focus at Case IH to help
producers be ready for the challenges and opportunities they encounter every
day. One of those challenges is educating the next generation about agriculture.
So it presents a path to a career for these students and a new source of
employees for our industry.”
“These are critical tools that connect our students with real college and
career pathways,” MPS Superintendent Gregory Thornton said. “We couldn’t be more
Milwaukee is a hub of the urbanagriculture movement, including companies such
as Growing Power and Sweet Water Organics who produce healthy food locally. The
area is also a hub for food manufacturing. According to regional economic
development group Milwaukee 7, the Milwaukee region ishome to the highest
concentration of food and beverage manufacturing talent among the nation’s 50
largest metro areas. The region also boasts the nation’s third highest
concentration of food scientists.
The new program at Vincent, launched this school year, directly connects
students to those college and career pathways with coursework that covers urban
agriculture, aquaponics, biotechnology/biofuels, botany, food science,
landscape/design, urban gardening/horticulture and veterinary science. In
additionto the new equipment, students have access to and help operate a bee
apiary, a greenhouse and a “hoop” house.
The program partners with two Milwaukee-based leaders in the urban
agriculture field --Growing Power and Sweet Water --along with FaBMilwaukee,
Milwaukee Area Technical College, the University of Wisconsin-Madison, the
University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and its WATER Institute and the University of
Instructors in the program –science faculty members Rich DePalma and Mark
Hladilek and Career and Technical Education (CTE) faculty members Kyle Slick and
Kevin Hach –worked through Cardinal Stritch University to develop an aquaponics
curriculum tied to the rigorous Next Generation Science Frameworks.
Hach calls the gift “extremely valuable. It will mean being able to
efficiently turn over the fields to prepare them with proper soil conditions and
maintain whatever we put in the field.” The gift allows instructors to expand
and deepen Urban Ag opportunities for students.
Students in the program with driver’s licenses will be trained to operate the
equipment and maintain the crops. And Hach, who also teaches automotive courses
at Vincent with instructor Tim Long, said students will also have the
opportunity to learn how to perform preventative maintenance on the equipment as
well as to diagnose and service it.
The announcement was made Thursday at an event that included Vincent
instructors, MPS Superintendent Gregory Thornton, Vincent Principal Matthew
Boswell, Case IH Senior Director of Marketing Kyle Russell and State Rep. Fred
The news drew interest from agriculture journalist Pam Jahnke, host of Farm
Report with Pam Jahnke, who hosted her show from the site Wednesday morning.
“I’m excited to broadcast the news not just as a farm broadcaster, but also
as a member of the Wisconsin Agricultural Education and Workforce Development
Council,” Jahnke said.
This news –along with additional photos from the
event –are available online:
Case IH is a global leader in agricultural equipment, committed to develop
the most powerful, productive, reliable equipment –designed to meet today’s
agricultural challenges. Case IH produces agricultural equipment systems,
including tractors; combines; precision farming systems and equipment for hay
and forage, tillage, planting, application. With headquarters in Racine, WI,
Case IH works through a dedicated network of professional dealers and
distributors in more than 160 countries.'
Milwaukee Public Schools is Wisconsin’s largest school district, serving more
than 78,000 students in more than 160 schools across the city. U.S. News and
World Report named MPS’ Rufus King International School and Ronald Wilson Reagan
College Preparatory High School the two best high schools in the state and among
the 200 best in the country in 2012. In the past year, Milwaukee Public Schools
posted a growing graduation rate 17 points higher than the rate for 2000.
News about Milwaukee Public Schools is available at