CSU, Chico News

Barn Doors Swing Open for CSU, Chico Dairy Dedication

Date: 04-06-2007

Kathleen McPartland
Public Affairs
Cindy Daley
College of Agriculture

The College of Agriculture, California State University, Chico, will unveil the daily workings of its new organic dairy operation-the first such teaching facility in the Western United States-during an open house and dedication ceremony on Thursday, April 26, from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., at the Paul L. Byrne Agricultural Teaching and Research Center (University Farm).

Joining in the celebration is Organic Valley Family of Farms (OV), the country’s largest and oldest cooperative of organic farmers. OV is welcoming the new organic dairy as a full-fledged voting member. OV will transport the organic milk produced by the student-run campus dairy to Crystal Creamery in Gridley, where it will be processed and sold under the Organic Valley brand.

"This is truly a historic event for us at the Chico State Dairy. After 40 years of running a conventional dairy, we have successfully transitioned to organic. That calls for a celebration," said Cindy Daley, dairy unit supervisor. "We are eager to show off our cows, pastures-the whole operation in the hopes that we inspire our students, the community and those already actively engaged in the farming business."

Morning festivities at the University Farm include dairy tours, milking demonstrations, and organic dairy milk, cheese and ice cream tasting. Attendees can observe the organic, grass-based dairy model that will be used to promote sustainable practices throughout the program. The celebration is free and open to the general public.

The dedication program begins at 9:30 a.m. with speakers, including A.G. Kawamura, secretary of the California Department of Food and Agriculture; Paul Zingg, president of CSU, Chico; and Theresa Marquez, chief marketing executive for Organic Valley Family of Farms. Jerry Brunetti, Agri-Dynamics Dairy nutritionist, will discuss "Healthy Soil, Healthy Food, and Healthy People." Scott McNall, former provost of Academic Affairs and now special assistant to the president and executive director of the Institute of Sustainable Development, CSU, Chico, and Daley will offer closing remarks. For a complete schedule of the day, go to www.csuchicoag.org.

In support of CSU, Chico’s commitment to organic dairy education, many of the region’s Organic Valley milk producers from California, Oregon and Washington participated in the "Send a Cow to College" program, donating one cow each to help the campus build an organic milking herd. This grassroots donation program was conceived and led by Adam Azevedo, a third generation dairy farmer and Organic Valley Member from Stevinson, Calif. Azevedo solicited donations of female cows and is orchestrating their transport to campus. His efforts have brought in 37 donations from Organic Valley farmers thus far.

The Paul L. Byrne Agricultural Teaching and Research Center, better known as the University Farm, has been a working farm and dairy with 50-100 head of cattle, dating back to the 1960s. The dairy’s goal is to provide a hands-on learning experience in organic livestock production for students and to generate meaningful applied research for the organic dairy industry. The program complements the school’s commitment to sustainable agriculture and dovetails with its integrated agriculture program, which includes soil study, agro-ecology, animal science, forages, plant production and agricultural business.

The open house and dedication ceremony takes place during 2007 Founders Week, April 21 – 29. Founders Week is an annual celebration of CSU, Chico’s heritage and achievements.