Growing pot at IVCC in the works

IVCC – File Photo Studstill Media

OGLESBY- A cannabis production certificate program approved by the Illinois Valley Community College board Monday night will launch this fall.  Ag instructors Kathryn Lillie and Willard Mott worked with local employers in the cannabis-growing industry to create the two-semester, 13-credit certificate. Completion of the five-course certificate will lead to entry-level positions.

IVCC President Jerry Corcoran said with Illinois’ legalization of recreational marijuana in January and the 2014 and 2018 Farm Bills allowing for industrial hemp production, the number of jobs in the sector has grown.

“Industry representatives expressed a need for individuals with basic knowledge of the cannabis plant – and understanding of production and processing practices,” he said.

The certificate will also cover soil fertility, pest management and an internship.

“The certificate is not terminal,” Corcoran noted. “Students can continue in the agriculture program and complete an Associate of Applied Science (AAS) degree in agronomy.”

Aside from Mott and Lillie, Corcoran credited Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs Bonnie Campbell and Dean of Natural Sciences and Business Ron Groleau for their work in developing the certificate.

A small section of IVCC’s farmland will be dedicated to cannabis growth so students can earn hands-on experience.