A Southern Utah State College professor says it's time for the school to upgrade its animal-science program.

Associate Animal Science Professor Dan Dail proposes making SUSC's current farm program into a teaching laboratory. Further, he said, the college should add a business and technology emphasis to the animal-science curriculum.Currently, the program focuses solely on better methods of production.

"There are a lot of occupations in agriculture that are not production-oriented but need an understanding of production - artificial insemination technicians, bankers. Agribusiness is crying out for people with a production understanding, people who have had some manure on their boots," Dail said.

Before working on the curriculum, though, Dail said the SUSC farm's facilities need updating.

"What we have up there now is a farm that is probably not much different from any Utah farm," he said. "Our philosophy is that the college farm has got to be a lab, a teaching lab, in the same sense that chemistry lab helps to reinforce the principles of chemistry learned in class."

He envisions students working the farm, putting into practice what they have learned in the classroom.

"Being a small school, we can take the lab beyond a simple operation. We can make students part of the decisionmaking," said Dail.

Dail, who came to SUSC in March, said he first noticed that the school is several hundred miles from the nearest major agriculture program. He said the second thing he noticed was the school's inadequate farm facility.

"At this point, the dairy facility in essence is almost of no use. It's dilapidated," he said.

The dairy barn is the centerpiece of a $263,000 renovation request that has made the priority list of the Utah Board of Regents. The barn can be remodeled into a teaching demonstration area, he said, while a shed used by animals for shelter, a beef management shed and a sheep shed could be removed and replaced.

Dail also would expand the student bunkhouse so that students could operate the farm on a 24-hour basis.