CSU, Chico

Ryan Amaral, Agriculture Business

Ryan Amaral, Agriculture Business

Every December, the California Farm Bureau’s Young Farmers and Ranchers affiliate holds a round-table agriculture debate competition called a Discussion Meet. Ryan Amaral, a senior majoring in agriculture business, has represented California State University, Chico at the annual discussion meet for the last four years.

The Discussion Meet is held during the California Farm Bureau Federation (CFBF) annual meeting. It simulates a committee meeting, and the participants debate current topics of interest in the agriculture industry.

Amaral first witnessed a Discussion Meet during his tenure as the 2006-2007 California Future Farmers of America (FFA) treasurer. His officer team attended the annual CFBF meeting and watched the Discussion Meet. “I really enjoyed watching the Discussion Meet and liked that it promoted friendly debate and an understanding of issues facing the agriculture industry,” said Amaral.

After completing his year as a state FFA officer, Amaral attended Modesto Junior College before transferring to CSU, Chico. As soon as he transferred, Amaral got involved in the Discussion Meet team. Amaral said, “It has helped me learn to focus my energy and to keep up to date about agriculture. It also makes you combine mentalities of everyone involved in agriculture, from producers to consumers, to understand an issue and debate it.” In 2009, the CSU, Chico Discussion Meet team won the competition with all four team members placing in the top eight and Amaral placing fourth.

Amaral is very active on campus in and outside of the College of Agriculture. Besides competing in the Discussion Meets, he is a member of Phi Delta Theta fraternity and Alpha Zeta agriculture honors society, and has served as a Freshmen Leadership Opportunities (FLO) facilitator and an Agriculture Ambassador in the College of Agriculture.

Phi Delta Theta is a social fraternity in the Greek community on the CSU, Chico campus. Amaral has served as the new member educator and is currently the director of alumni relations. “I wanted to be a part of something that could do more in community service than I could do by myself,” said Amaral. “I also wanted an opportunity to meet people outside of the College of Agriculture and diversify my experience at CSU, Chico.”

As a FLO facilitator, Amaral mentored a group of freshmen in leadership involvement on campus. He encouraged the students to get involved on campus and to step up and take on roles of leadership.

For the spring 2011 semester, Amaral participated in a study abroad program and spent eight months in Alicante, Spain at Universidad de Alicante. While he was there, Amaral caught the “travel bug” and visited seven different countries while taking 15 units, including Spanish courses and an upper division theme course. “I wanted to learn Spanish and be able to be conversational,” said Amaral. “I knew the emersion into the Spanish culture would help me learn, and it gave me the opportunity to travel and experience a very different culture.” One highlight of Amaral’s adventure in Spain was a Spanish cuisine course. He took a course in learning how to cook traditional Spanish food.

Amaral is from Denair, Calif. where he attended Pittman High School. After visiting Chico, Calif., he fell in love with the small-town atmosphere and the College of Agriculture. His parents, who are both Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo graduates, told him he made the correct choice attending CSU, Chico.

One of Amaral’s favorite things about the College of Agriculture is that most of the events in the College are student run. “The college gives students the opportunity to be as active as they want and step up and take leadership roles in events like educational days, the FFA Field Day, Ag Day etc.,” said Amaral.

When not busy, Amaral enjoys walking downtown or around Bidwell Park with friends. He also likes to feed his “travel bug” and plan potential vacations. After graduation, Amaral wants to stay involved in agriculture and pursue a career in agriculture relations or communications. He hopes to be living near his hometown close to his family or on the other side of the world, back in Spain.