College of Agriculture

Food for Thought

From the Dean's Desk

This August, I celebrated myfirst year as dean of the College of Agriculture, and what an amazing year this was! It is hard to believe time went so fast. Many have asked me what my most exciting activity has been so far. Without hesitation, I say it is the people I have met or interacted with. From faculty, staff, and students on campus to alumni, supporters, and stakeholders I have visited around the state, this has been the most rewarding experience! 

Patricia Stock

I feel very proud of our team—in just one year, we have accomplished many important tasks including the development of a new strategic plan. The centerpiece of the plan is our students. Our overarching goal is to prepare students with knowledge and life skill capacity, so they become global leaders in agriculture. We also want to expand and build new partnerships with the community, stakeholders, and government to develop opportunities and training for our students. We are eager to work with our diverse agricultural commodities and industry to team up for the training of the next workforce. 

The COVID-19 pandemic has certainly impacted our lives in various ways and continues to challenge us, but we are very happy that this fall semester is the least restrictive in three years. Nevertheless, our college, as the rest of our campus, continues to follow policies in place and is committed to supporting our students, faculty, and staff to help them stay healthy and be successful.  

As you will read in this new Harvest issue, there are many great stories we are proud of, including the launching of “Agtivate!” a new initiative that supports and provides resources to incoming students. Our Student Success and Retention office continues to thrive We have expanded our efforts in recruitment and in the retention of our students focusing on in-person and virtual sessions that students have access to daily. 

In this issue we feature various in-person events we hosted and participated in since the beginning of 2022, including a 10-day agricultural exploration in Puerto Rico and the return of the “California Agriculture Tour” class. Our Ag Ambassadors made strides at the World Ag Expo in Tulare and the Ag Day in the Capitol in Sacramento. Furthermore, two Plant and Soil Science Department faculty members spent their sabbaticals abroad and shared their experiences in this issue.  

More wonderful news we received in 2022 was the generous support that our college received from the State of California’s 2022-23 budget to enhance student experiential learning and training at our Farm.  Working collaboratively with three other CSU campuses, Chico State was awarded $18.75 million to enhance student experiential learning and training at its University Farm.Roughly half of the funding will be used to build a state-of-the-art Learning and Training Center. The proposed 10,000-square-foot facility will serve as a connecting point for the University’s diverse academic, research, and community agricultural programs. It will expand the number of farm classrooms, create on-site event and conference rooms, and establish a dedicated space for student clubs and competitions. The Center will also serve as a hub and resource center for researchers, farm practitioners, agricultural economists, and business innovators to collaboratively address the challenges faced in the North State. We also plan to renovate the Meats Lab, make improvements to each unit, and upgrade our irrigation system. Expanding and modernizing our Farm’s facilities will allow us to respond to the evolving bio-economies and the growing need to collaborate with STEM disciplines to expand and enhance agricultural education and cross-disciplinary experiential learning opportunities for our college. 

This has certainly been wonderful year, and it could have not happened without the efforts of every member of our team and the generous support of our alumni and stakeholders. To all, my deepest gratitude! 

I look forward to next year to continue our growth in the college. May you have a blessed 2023 filled with health, prosperity, and peace.