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College of Agriculture

The University Farm (ATRC)

Agriculture can’t be learned solely from a textbook. That’s why our 800-acre Paul L. Byrne Agricultural Teaching and Research Center, more commonly known as the University Farm, is so important to our educational program. It’s the place where our students literally get their hands dirty putting into practice the concepts they learn in the classroom.

The ATRC was established in 1960 through the efforts of its namesake, Senator Paul L. Byrne. The facility supports classes in agriculture in the same way a chemistry lab supports its discipline. Whether participating in class labs or working as part-time employees, thousands of students have benefited from the University Farm, located on Hegan Lane, five miles south of the main CSU, Chico campus.

The farm serves more than just students. Farmers and ranchers benefit from research conducted on the farm, and the farm’s produce and meat sales have long been popular in the Chico community. Grade-school field trips are also a long-standing Chico tradition. Thousands of children tour the farm annually. For most of them it is their first exposure to live farm animals and hands-on interaction with farming. The farm is also the site of countless professional seminars and Future Farmers of America and 4-H field days.

The farm manager and 15 full-time staff members such as herdsmen, mechanics, and technicians oversee the farm’s many activities. Approximately 35 to 40 students also work part-time to help keep the farm running. Each of the animal units is managed and operated by a staff technician, a lead student manager, and three or four other student employees. The other units also have a corresponding staff technician and three or four part-time student employees.

You may contact the farm office by calling 530-898-6343.

Directions to the farm(opens in new window)

ATRC has maintained a NWS weather station for many years.  You can access the data on the Western Region Climate Center site(opens in new window).