CSU, Chico

About the College

About the College

For 60 years, the College of Agriculture has excelled at preparing tomorrow’s agriculture leaders for the challenges of feeding the world and nurturing local communities. Led by outstanding faculty and staff and enriched through hands-on educational experiences at the extraordinary 800-acre University Farm, our students develop a spirit of inquiry, practice collaboration, learn leadership, and gain a broad understanding of agricultural production systems.

Our unique integrated agricultural curriculum, combined with the high-quality living laboratory provided by the University Farm, has helped to set CSU, Chico apart as one of the top agricultural programs in the western United States.  Now more than ever, students are flocking to study agriculture at CSU, Chico. Since 2006, enrollment in the College of Agriculture has doubled, buoyed by a strong agricultural economy and job market, growing cultural interest in food and food production, and our rising reputation for excellence in agricultural education.

Quick Facts About the College

Established: 1953

Mission: To discover, share, and disseminate knowledge of integrated agricultural and environmental systems to students, the agricultural community, and society.

Enrollment: Approximately 800 declared majors

Programs of Study:

  • B.S. in Agriculture (Options in Agriscience and Education, and Crops, Horticulture, and Land Resource Management)
  • B. S. in Animal Science
  • B. S in Agricultural Business
  • Online M.S. in Agricultural Education

Number of Graduates:  3,700

University Farm:

The 800-acre Paul L. Byrne Memorial Agriculture Teaching and Research Center, more commonly known as the University Farm, is the living laboratory for agriculture programs at CSU, Chico.  With four livestock units, a wide variety of orchards and row crops, pastures, a USDA-inspected meats laboratory, shops, research projects, classrooms, and a multi-purpose facility, the University Farm is arguably the most diversified farming operation in Northern California.  Among its many uses, the University Farm:

  • Delivers the hands-on laboratory component for more than 20 agriculture courses each year. 
  • Employs approximately 50 students each semester in addition to the 45 students earning course credit through Directed Work Experience. 
  • Hosts more than 10,000 visitors annually for farm tours, field days, industry seminars, and community events. 
  • Supplies another 5,000 community members with meat, nuts, beans, olive oil, and U-Pick Peaches. 
  • Serves as a center for agricultural literacy for youth and adults alike, helping visitors build a foundational knowledge of where their food comes from. 

Industry Partnerships:

The CSU, Chico College of Agriculture is interdependent upon a robust food and agriculture system.  Faculty, staff, and students in the College of Agriculture routinely partner with private industry, public agencies, funding partners, and other institutions to deliver upon our academic mission.  Examples of our many industry partnerships include:

Sierra Nevada Beef Project

Sierra Nevada Brewery Natural Beef Project allows our students to participate in developing a niche beef product, manage a small scale feedlot operation, evaluate an effort to utilize a food processing by-product, and gain a better understanding of the dynamics of managing a meat processing operation to meet the demands of a restaurant.

Organic Dairy

The University Farm’s organic dairy is one of only four of its kind at a college or university in the nation, and was the first on the West Coast.  In partnership with the Organic Valley Family of Farms, the dairy began milking cows in 2007 and sends its milk to a local creamery, where it is processed and sold under the Organic Valley label. 

Irrigation Training Facility

The Irrigation Training Facility is the result of collaboration between CSU, Chico, Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, CSU, Fresno, and the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation to build the $450,000 Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) facility.  The SCADA facility and equipment is used to train water district personnel and their water users on new irrigation technology and water conservation techniques. 

Agricultural Research Institute

As part of the California State University System, Chico State receives funding through the statewide Agricultural Research Institute to support applied agricultural research in agricultural business management, biodiversity, biotechnology, food safety and processing, irrigation management and technology, natural resource management, production management systems, and public policy development.  The program requires the researcher(s) to secure matching funds, ensuring that the research is considered to have value to those outside of the University. 


Student Teams and Organizations:

When it comes to developing leadership skills, there is no shortage of opportunities within the College of Agriculture for students to gain leadership experience.  The College of Agriculture relies on student leaders and nearly a dozen student organizations to assist our departments, research centers, and college in a variety of ways, including many competitions and activities which originate and/or are supported by student clubs.

Academic Quiz Bowl Team Livestock Judging Team
Alpha Gamma Rho Fraternity Meat Processing Team
Alpha Zeta Honors Fraternity Rangeland Cup Team
Animal Science Academic Quadrathalon Sigma Alpha Sorority
Collegiate FFA Society of Agriculture Managers
Crops and Horticulture Club Stockdog Association
Food Marketing Team Young Cattlemen's Association