College of Agriculture

Buel Mouser

Buel Mouser first came to CSU, Chico and the College of Agriculture in 1968, when he was hired as the University Farm Manager. After eight years, in 1976, he moved over to the teaching side and started teaching agronomy and crop production. Buel was very instrumental in developing and expanding the student project classes, which was helped by a long association with seed companies beginning in the late 70’s. The seed companies wished to develop or increase new varieties of vegetable seed on the University Farm where the soil was ideal and isolation for prevention of unwanted cross pollination was not a big problem. All the expenses for production, land rental, and student work have been funded by the companies involved. These projects have been mutually positive for the companies, the students and the University Farm.

At the tender age of 9 months, Buel moved with his family from Oklahoma to Shafter (Kern County). There, he farmed with his brother and raised cotton, among other crops. Consequently, it was natural for him to wonder why cotton was no longer grown in this area. In 1976, Buel began work testing for early maturing varieties of cotton exhibiting high yields and good qualities. Fifty-two varieties of cotton were tested over a 14 year period at the University Farm to find suitable candidates for growing in the northern Sacramento Valley. The first crop was planted and harvested in 1995. The seventh crop is now at the point of harvest. Out of the four chosen to be the best, one was judged to be outstanding and is being increased for further testing and evaluation. Buel’s research has led to a renewed cotton industry in this area with a cotton industry in this area with a cotton gin and a growing producer population. When he started his research, Buel and his students had to transport the cotton crop 250 miles to Chowchilla in the farm cattle truck.

Another pet project of Buel’s was that of growing sweet sorghum, which is a tall, annual, warm weather grass. His challenge was to find two varieties that were dual purpose: 1) provide a fuel source to replace or serve as an additive to gasoline, and 2) cattle feed source using the head of the plant. This sweet sorghum plant had a high sugar content that could be processed into ethanol. Experimentation of several varieties was started in 1987 at the University Farm. Buel was able to produce tremendous yields of silage for cattle feed from this crop and many of the dairymen in the area began raising it for their dairy animals. The use of this crop for ethanol production is dependent on the economic value of fuel alcohol, but his research indicated that yields in this area would be converted into as much as 800 gallons of alcohol per acre.

Buel was also involved with a research project in partnership with Pacific Coast Producers, which has a cannery based in Oroville. For eleven years research on water disposal from their plant has been performed, covering methods of disposal and also the effects of cannery water on growth and development of approximately 24 varieties of crops. It has been found that many of these crops can thrive with the use of cannery water for irrigation. Many Chico State students have also worked on these projects.

With all of Buel’s work for the betterment of row crop agriculture, his greatest contribution was his desire to get students involved and to educate them.