For more than 50 years, faculty, staff, and students in the College of Agriculture have worked to discover and share knowledge of integrated agricultural and environmental systems with students, industry, and society. Research and other scholarly activities ensure that our faculty remain current in their disciplines and that our students are exposed to and engaged in the process of scientific research.
Faculty Research and the Agricultural Research Initiative
Never has our research been more prolific or relevant than since the state legislature instituted and funded the CSU Agriculture Research Initiative (ARI) in 1999. Recognizing that academic expertise in the four CSU colleges of agriculture represent a valuable resource that could be better used to help address applied research needs in the areas of agriculture and natural resources, the legislature enacted the CSU Agricultural Research Initiative (ARI).
Funding provided by ARI helps 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 at CSU, Chico and the three other California State University campuses that have ag programs (Fresno, Pomona, and San Luis Obispo). ARI promotes the development and evaluation of new and promising technologies that have the potential for improving food safety, environmental stewardship, economic performance, and long-term sustainability of California's agriculture industry. ARI projects and programs build upon a successful record of past applied research accomplishments and augment, enhance, and extend the basic research conducted by the nation's land grant universities.
To conduct this research an annual allocation of $4 million from the state general fund has been earmarked for the four CSU campuses that have agriculture programs. Currently, the College of Agriculture at CSU, Chico is receiving $750K each year. The continuation of the funding has been contingent on our ability to bring in at least an equal amount of matching funds from industry or outside agencies. The matching requirement helps to ensure that the research is considered to have value to those outside of the University. Funding can be used to support faculty time necessary to conduct research, hire researchers and technicians, support undergraduate and graduate research assistants, purchase equipment, and cover other costs associated with the research and dissemination of results. The funding cannot be used for buildings.
At Chico State our goal is fairly simple; we want to deploy ARI funds in a manner that allows us to enhance our undergraduate instruction by ensuring faculty are involved in applied agricultural research that contributes to their professional development. In addition, these research activities provide our students with opportunities to be involved in those research projects. The range of activities being considered or already underway include funding micro projects that represent well focused projects which undergraduate research assistants can complete within a well defined period of time (summer research), supporting collaborative projects with industry associations, establishing joint research projects with academics within UC Cooperative Extension, and developing centers of excellence that can allow for involvement of faculty and students across program, college, and university lines in areas of critically needed applied research.
If you have ideas for research project or funding sources, please feel free to contact any of the faculty in the College of Agriculture.
Recognizing the distinctive value of research experience in the educational journey, we encourage undergraduate students to participate in applied agricultural research. Through AGRI 490/491, agricultural experimental research, students plan, conduct, and present research on problems impacting the agriculture industry, with funding provided by Superior Ag.
In AGRI 490, students learn the most common experimental designs for agricultural research, utilize computer programs to analyze and interpret experimental data, and further develop scientific writing skills. Many students, including those achieving honors in the degree, continue on to AGRI 491, where they complete a research project, submit a professional research paper, and present their research findings through public forums, including national, regional, and local scientific research meetings. Some of these studies have included almond variety trials, bean breeding research, organic dairy mastitis treatments, and feeding distiller grains to livestock. For many of our students who have gone on to advanced degrees, their experience in scientific research was a determining factor in gaining entrance to, and succeeding in, graduate school.