Officials touted Lexington's new $18 million Locust Trace AgriScience Farm as a unique learning place for agriculture students as the school held its grand opening on Monday.
Kentucky Agriculture Commissioner James Comer called Locust Trace "one of a kind in the United States," where students can study a wide variety of careers in agriculture.
"This is a facility that I think we'll see a great return from for many years to come," Comer said.
About 200 students attend Locust Trace, which began operations last fall, studying a little of everything including veterinary science, biotechnology and tractor driving.
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Comer said agriculture continues to be a $5 billion industry in Kentucky, bigger than the state's auto industry.
Locust Trace, on Leestown Road, began as a modest idea for a small barn to house some agriculture classes at the Fayette Public Schools' Eastside Technical Center.
The plan blossomed into a full-fledged farm, however, when the school system received 82 acres of surplus federal land on Leestown Road. Now Locust Trace boasts a classroom-administration building, a veterinary clinic, an arena for cattle shows and similar events, pastures, and a high-tech "green" system that includes the country's third largest solar-electric array.
Fayette County School Board chairman John Price said the agriscience farm has roughly tripled the number of students in the county system who can study agriculture.