Fresno State Jordan College of Agricultural Science and Technology will receive $18.75 million in one-time state funding in its 2022-23 budget to provide the infrastructure needed to build programs that prepare future generations for regenerative agriculture practices. This will strengthen the long-term stability of food and agricultural systems in the face of climate change.
“The food and agriculture sectors are critical to the future stability of our region, our state and our nation. Educating students and building resilience in these sectors is critical to the success of farmers and others in these sectors,” said college dean Dennis Nef. “This investment by Governor Gavin Newsom and the State Legislature in climate-smart agriculture will benefit future generations by providing students entering the workforce with skills that will enable them to meet the environmental challenges we face. are facing and to ensure the health of the land, water and air resources in the future.
California’s 2022-23 budget, signed by Newsom on June 30, provided $75 million for California State University Farms to make equipment and infrastructure improvements to the university’s agricultural production units. Each campus will receive $18.75 million.
Funding was made possible through the collaborative efforts of the four California State universities that have agricultural campuses: Fresno State, California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, California State Polytechnic University, Pomonaand California State University, Chico.
At Fresno State, more than 1,900 students actively participate in academic programs with direct ties to agriculture — and work directly out of the 1,000-acre academic agricultural lab on campus, managing on-site operations for 18 different businesses and gaining first-hand experience that prepares them for successful careers.
In 2020, California farms and ranches generated sales of $49.1 billion. More than one-third of the country’s vegetables and two-thirds of the country’s fruits and nuts are grown in California. Fresno State is located in the heart of the San Joaquin Valley and the four counties it serves account for more than 39% of California’s agricultural production. It is therefore essential that the future university-educated workforce is ready to tackle climate-smart agricultural solutions.
At Fresno State, the funding will be used for the following:
- Replace aging farm equipment with climate-smart upgrades.
- Automate irrigation systems.
- Invest in energy efficient systems at the winery, dairy and meat science lab.
- Enhance the plant science program with upgrades to greenhouse facilities.
- Reduce the environmental footprint of animal units.
Jordan College employs over 100 students in its 18 University agricultural laboratory companies, where students learn first-hand the intricate details of managing and operating these units. Additionally, these facilities serve as classrooms – exposing students daily to existing challenges and preparing them to become future leaders. The Campus Cellar is the first bonded cellar on a college campus in the nation.
“We maintain a laser-focused focus on student success using high-impact practices including university agricultural lab jobs, internships, and classroom case studies,” Nef said. “This funding will help us make improvements that will leverage the support we receive from our industry partners who know that investing in the future workforce helps ensure a bright future for our students.