College of Agriculture


Thomas Martin

He is a longtime committee member of Superior Ag, first chairman of the Superior Ag golf committee, supplier of irrigation equipment, and a major supporter of the College of Agriculture at California State University, Chico. Tom Martin, an alumnus, is involved in many facets of the agriculture program at Chico State.

“Tom is instrumental to the success of our agriculture program and University Farm,” said Charles Crabb, dean of the College of Agriculture.

Dedication and a passion to serve is a concept Martin has practiced throughout his career. After graduating from the College of Agriculture in 1966 with a degree in agriculture business, Martin served in the U.S. Navy on active duty from 1968 to 1971. In 1971, he took a position with Crocker Bank, where he served several clients as a loan officer. One of Martin’s clients was Durham Pump Inc., and through this he met Fred Montgomery, partner in the irrigation supply company. Their working relationship grew, and in October of 1977, Martin accepted the position as Durham Pump’s president.

For the past 27 years, Martin has implemented Durham Pump’s mission: to serve its customers, local schools, and the agriculture industry. His involvement with the College of Agriculture is a true testament.

“I believe we need a strong agriculture college to support the north region and California’s agriculture industry,” Martin said. “I think Chico State is the place.”

Martin was the catalyst for important irrigation facilities at the University Farm, the supplier of needed irrigation materials, a designer of irrigation systems, and has also served as a laborer on many of the projects. He is a key supporter of the irrigation training facility and field days that are hosted at the farm.

“In comparison to other colleges, the farm is the best hands-on learning tool that I’ve seen. The quality land, abundant amount of space and useful facilities make for a perfect learning environment,” said Martin.

Martin’s support digs deeper than irrigation canals. He has been involved with Superior Ag, a committee created to support and promote College of Agriculture programs, since its inception in 1991 when he served as chairman. The Superior Ag Committee works diligently to raise funds and serves the students by providing approximately $15,000 each year in scholarships.

Martin’s involvement has been essential to the growth of Superior Ag. From the beginning, he has played a lead role in Superior Ag and the CSU, Chico Superior Ag/Wittmeier Ford golf tournament. This tournament is Superior Ag’s major fundraiser for the college, and it brings in more than $40,000 annually for internships, research, field trips, and student organizations. Martin was a key founder of this event and strived to make sure it was a success.

“I didn’t sleep when I was chairman,” recalled Martin. “You only have one chance to make that first impression.”

In addition to his abundant support of the college, Martin has served on Chico Rotary for 25 years and was awarded the Paul Harris Fellowship Award. He was a member of the Chico High Future Farmers of America (FFA) Advisory Board for 15 years, and his most recent accomplishment is serving on the Northern California Farm Credit ACA Board of Directors.

Martin enjoys traveling, hobby farming, and visiting his children. Tom and his wife, Marsha, have been married for 37 years, and they have two grown daughters.

Crabb commented, “His abundant support and the time he has taken to secure outside contribution have allowed our program to grow a substantial amount.”