CSU, Chico

Martin Cossio, Crops, Horticulture, and Land Resource Management

Martin Cossio, Crops, Horticulture, and Land Resource Management

Senior crops, horticulture, and land resource management major Martin Cossio never expected to pursue a college education. Cossio grew up watching his dad’s hard work and diligence in the vegetable fields in Santa Maria, California. The elder Cossio maintained a close relationship with his boss, giving Martin the opportunity to spend time on the farm and see how it operated. When Cossio graduated from Santa Maria High School, he followed in his father’s footsteps in working on the same farm he had been around his whole life.

“Seeing the crops go full circle was incredible. I’ve worked from the beginning of the planting process all the way to being the person to aid in the entire shipping process to the distributor,” Cossio said.

It wasn’t until after working for a few years that he realized his passion for agriculture and how it could innovate the industry. He attended Allan Hancock Community College for two and a half years before transferring to Chico State, where he saw an opportunity to experience a diversity of agriculture from the produce fields of Southern California.

The summer of 2017, Cossio delved deeper into his passion for agriculture while working as an intern at Lompoc Farming in Lompoc, California. He drove a company vehicle, checking fields and working one-on-one with a professional pest control advisor (PCA). Cossio thrived with the trust of his employer in an independent work environment, giving him yet another glimpse into his future. Upon graduation in spring 2018, he plans to pursue a PCA license.

Cossio said the faculty make Chico State a quality experience. To see that a professor is not just physically there, but mentally as well, is inspiring every time he walks into a classroom. Professors wake up and are always ready to give students their all, he said.

Cossio’s outlook upon agriculture immensely shifted in Professor Richard Rosecrance’s agricultural ecology course and Professor Lee Altier’s food and fiber course.

“It made me look at a plot of land or field and begin to see it as own living ecosystem. Each piece is its own environment that houses the food we eat every day,” Cossio said.

Cossio also describes soil ecology professor Garrett Liles as a role model.

“Taking Dr. Garrett Liles’ courses in the past, I got to witness the passion he has about what he is doing. He comes into class every day and wants to teach, rather than just recite information,” Cossio said. “His energy is contagious and it made me look forward to going to class every day. It made me look up to him. “

Additionally, Cossio is proud of his involvement with the Crops and Horticulture Club, where he currently serve as the Inter-Club Council (ICC) representative. He was drawn in to the club from his very first meeting upon transferring to Chico State.

“I saw how hard the officers worked to make (the club) successful in the past, which is why they were awarded Club of the Year. Now I can be a part of that and hopefully thrive as they did last year for the next years officers.”

While handling the course load of a full time student and getting involved in clubs, Cossio has maintained employment at In and Out Burger in Santa Maria and Chico, working for the company a total of two and a half years.

“Going to work, it’s such a fast-paced, upbeat environment where I can just put my mind at ease. In a way, it allows me to relax. We need time to balance,” Cossio said.

For new students at Chico State, Cossio emphasized the importance of getting involved on campus. He states that students are here for the experience so they should take advantage of their time, get to know the faculty, join clubs, and network with guest speakers. Taking the time to just relax occasionally is important as well. He enjoys the outdoors, hiking, and taking some time to unwind.

“Being students, we’re always running around and busy so sometimes we deserve some time to just relax,” he said.

Describing his future, Cossio uses one word: stability. When envisioning his life in five years, he sees himself working directly in the industry and working collaboratively with the community to improve agricultural regulation. A priority of his is to work for an employer that positively supports the community as well.