Agriview Spring 2015

Page 1


o f

Agriculture, Food & Environmental Sciences


Spring 2015

Tasty Lessons Cal Poly Students Mix It Up with Middle Schoolers



Dear CAFES Alumni and Friends, As we head into the final weeks of the academic year, I continue to be excited about the incredible momentum we’ve gained as a college and a university. Across campus there are many exciting projects underway as Cal Poly continues to look to the future. Within CAFES, we’ve worked hard over the last year to prioritize our most critical projects — those that will most move the needle. The CAFES Strategic Vision will set the stage for this (see opposite page). The result of months of important work by key representatives in the college and on our external advisory councils, it represents the collective thinking of students, staff, faculty and external advisors. Although the tactical action plans will be developed in the fall, this is a momentous step for the college in terms of setting our sights on where we want to go. At the same time, we’re making significant progress on enhancing key programs. When the Wine & Viticulture Department became a reality in 2013, a holistic, multidisciplinary center was identified as a must-have to meet the program’s goals of immersing students in a three-pronged curriculum of grape cultivation, winemaking, and the business of wine marketing and distribution. Over the last six months, significant effort has been focused on developing the Cal Poly Center for Wine & Viticulture. The facility programming — the planning of the labs and meeting, research, teaching, and hands-on learning spaces — was recently completed with

Dean Andy Thulin (right) welcomes visitor Sonny Ramaswamy, director of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture. Read more about Ramaswamy on page 7.

input from faculty, staff, students and industry experts. The facility is set to break ground within the next three years. (For more information, see page 18). At the end of the day, it’s about the students. In this issue of Agriview, we highlight some of the amazing work they’re doing as they embody the Learn by Doing experience.

Andrew J. Thulin | Dean



3 News & Notes Strategic planning; Faculty News; Advancement update; By the Numbers; CAFES On the Go

6 Learn by Doing Strawberries go to market; U.S. Department of Agriculture director visits; two pre-veterinary students start Doggy Days nonprofit


Cover Story The Pink and Dude Chefs outreach program gets middle schoolers excited about cooking and nutrition

14 Program News Animal science and dairy science programs merge 15

Student Success Meeting with Sacramento legislators; operating the Western Bonanza Junior Livestock Show; wins in the Rose Parade, Dairy Challenge, Young Farmers and Ranchers meet, Oral Undergraduate Research Symposium, and national lumberjack contest.

18 Facilities News Center for Wine & Viticulture is in the planning and fundraising stage

Volunteers gathered to brainstorm at the launch of the strategic planning process last fall.

Focused on the Future


AGRIVIEW is published for alumni and friends by the College of Agriculture, Food & Environmental Sciences (CAFES).

The College of Agriculture, Food &

Project Team on March 10. The strategies

Dean’s Office 805-756-2161

Environmental Sciences (CAFES) Strategic

were further defined using feedback

Vision and Planning process continued

generated by the survey. Glenn Tecker,

Communications Team Haley Marconett | 805-756-2933

with a meeting of the Steering Committee

the outside consultant who facilitated

on Jan. 22-23. The committee refined

the process, synthesized the results of

AnnMarie Cornejo | 805-756-2427

the goals and objectives drafted last fall

the meeting into the final Strategic Plan.

Editor Jo Ann Lloyd | 805-756-7266

and began generating strategies to tackle

The final Strategic Plan will be launched

those goals.

to college stakeholders this spring.

In small groups dedicated to the four

Publication Designer Shirley Howell | 805-547-0120 Printer Journal Graphics, Portland, Ore. Stay Connected on:

from the CAFES community will be

— Students; Faculty and Staff; Industry

recruited to help marshal the knowledge

and Community; and Leadership — the

and resources necessary to address the

committee brainstormed strategies

strategies and achieve the objectives and

that will be leveraged to accomplish

goals that were developed in fall 2014.

the college’s goals over the next five to ™

ON THE COVER: Mesa Middle School student Sarah Wasil (left) collaborates in the kitchen with Cal Poly student Michaela Clauss during a session of Pink and Dude Chefs, a Cal Poly outreach program. Read about the program on pages 10-13.

Over the next few months, volunteers

overarching Vision and Planning Goals

10 years. The resulting strategies were

Achieving these strategies will be key to the realization of the CAFES’ Big Audacious Goal: To be the intellectual

distributed to the larger CAFES

and experiential hot house, cultivating

community using an electronic survey.

and nurturing people who creatively solve

The results of the survey were discussed

problems in agriculture, food, health and

at a meeting of the Strategic Visioning

the environment.





Fork and Bottle: Members of the CAFES advancement team attended this February event, organized by the Modesto Chapter Aydin Nazmi

Bill Hendricks


of the Cal Poly Alumni Association. More than 200 guests raised money for student scholarships through a silent auction.


Unified Wine & Grape Symposium:

Nutrition Professor Aydin Nazmi was

Sacramento in January for this annual

reappointed to the Governor’s Science Advisory Board. Nazmi, director of Cal Poly’s Center for Solutions Through Research in Diet & Exercise (STRIDE) and associate professor in the Food Science & Nutrition Department, will serve on the Developmental and Reproductive Toxicant (DART) Identification Committee. Its members are expert scientists appointed to identify chemicals that cause developmental and reproductive toxicity. HENDRICKS ON SUNSET COMMITTEE Bill Hendricks, head of the Recreation, Parks & Tourism Administration Department, visited Sunset Magazine headquarters in January as one of 12 advisory board members in the Western U.S. to serve on the committee for the magazine’s first Sunset Travel Awards. The awards, to be announced in June, will recognize achievements in lodging, dining, cultural tourism, outdoor adventure, environmental stewardship, and more.

VISIT US ON SOCIAL MEDIA! Keep up to date with CAFES’ latest news via social media. We have a lot going on and want you to be the first to know about it! Follow us on Twitter @CalPoly_CAFES and on Facebook.



Students, faculty and staff traveled to event — the largest wine and grape industry trade show in North America. World Ag Expo: In February, students and faculty participated in this event at the International Agri-Center in Tulare, Calif.

Wine and viticulture senior Zachary Merkel and Gianna Gallo (WVIT ’14) attended the Unified Wine & Grape Symposium (above). Earth science sophomore CJ Chew (below, left) and agriculture science senior Jake Odello met potential Cal Poly students at the 2015 World Ag Expo.










was ranked

Thanks to available matching funds from

among the top

the founding members of the College

20 university

of Agriculture, Food & Environmental

farms in America by the independent

Sciences (CAFES) Learn by Doing

website Best College Reviews.

Endowment, for a limited time, individuals

The 11-acre farm in the

can establish a $25,000 CAFES’ Learn by

Horticulture & Crop Science

Doing Endowment for only $12,500.

Department is certified organic

“The endowment‘s founding

by the California Certified

partners joined forces to make financial

Organic Farmers and is managed

commitments that enhance and protect

by students, faculty and staff.

the hands-on nature of the college’s

November 2014 marked the farm’s

programs,” said Russ Kabaker, Cal Poly

20th year of organic certification.

assistant dean of advancement and

The farm provides a place for

external relations. “These industry leaders

undergraduates to Learn by Doing organic and sustainable farming practices. Dozens of varieties of produce are grown

realize Learn by Doing’s value to the future

each year, including green onions (shown), broccoli, squash, kale and carrots.

sciences in California and beyond.”


CAL POLY’S AGRICULTURAL COMMUNICATION bachelor’s degree was ranked eighth best in the nation based on a peer-reviewed study of 40 such programs by researchers at the University of Arkansas. “Our ranking is a testament to the work we have been doing for many years to build our reputation in agricultural communication,”

said J. Scott Vernon, Cal Poly agricultural communication professor. “We continue to evolve to meet the changing demands of the communication landscape. Our students deserve it, our alumni appreciate it, and the agriculture industry expects it.” The program prepares students to become professional communicators

of agriculture, food and the environmental If your company has a gift-matching program with Cal Poly, the cost to you could be as little as $6,250 to establish a $25,000 Learn by Doing Endowment, said Kabaker. To learn more, contact him at 805-756-3269 or THE IVAN A. WOOD MEMORIAL EARN BY DOING ENDOWMENT Created with a bequest of $50,000 from

in agriculture by encouraging enrollment in diverse courses such as digital

Ivan Wood, a friend of Cal Poly, the

communication, graphic design, journalism and technical agriculture. In the fall, a

endowment, which will be used to support

course focusing on digital video and social media management will be offered to

student technicians in the Dairy Science

help prepare students for careers in online and visual communication strategies.

Department, will fund up to 150 hours of paid internship hours for students each year into perpetuity.


JUNE 13: Spring Commencement: Mustangs Forever, 5 p.m. JULY 16: Cal Poly Alumni Salinas Rodeo Mixer, 4:30-7:30 p.m., California Rodeo Museum. Hosted wine, beer and barbecue. $25 without rodeo ticket; $50 includes rodeo ticket. For details, contact Jordan Albiani at 805-756-2161or




Ripe and Ready


The first strawberry harvest by the Cal Poly Strawberry Sustainability Research and Education Center blossomed into full production in March — proving to be an abundant one. The red, juicy, heart-shaped fruit is now available for purchase at Vons in San Luis Obispo and at multiple campus locations, including the twice weekly farm stand. The Cal Poly-grown fruit is also being incorporated into student dining. Director Gerald Holmes, researcher and Professor Kelly Ivors and a small staff of student assistants planted more than an acre and a half of the fruit on university farmland adjacent to Highway 1 in November 2014. “This first harvest shows that we can successfully grow strawberries at Cal Poly,” Holmes said. “The research that follows will be invaluable to future strawberry growers and the industry.” The Cal Poly Strawberry Sustainability Research and Education Center, in the College of Agriculture, Food & Environmental Sciences, focuses on applied research that incorporates both teaching and learning experiences for Cal Poly students, faculty and California strawberry farmers. The center is a joint partnership between Cal Poly and the California Strawberry Commission. In 2013 the California Strawberry Commission donated $1 million to create the Cal Poly Strawberry Sustainability Research and Education Center — a oneof-a-kind concept rooted in the hands-on learning model that defines Cal Poly. Cal Poly faculty and students are studying various fumigants used by farmers to eradicate pests such as insects as a way to provide an ecologically superior method of growing strawberries. Gerald Holmes (left) and Cal Poly research associate Ryan Brantley (right) deliver berries and smiles to Vons produce manager Mike Chew in San Luis Obispo.



Visiting VIP Sonny Ramaswamy (left) with Gerald Holmes, director of Cal Poly’s Strawberry Sustainability Research and Education Center


“Setting the Table for a Flatter, Hotter,

Cultivating Plans for Our Changing Planet

More Crowded Earth,” which focused

Food and Agriculture (NIFA) in 2012.

on the challenges that the must be

He oversees the award of NIFA funds

Ramaswamy’s campus visit with a

overcome to feed, clothe and shelter a

for a wide range of extramural research,

meeting at Ramaswamy’s Washington,

global population expected to exceed

education and extension projects that

D.C., office in March to discuss

9 billion by 2050 without wreaking havoc

address the needs of farmers, ranchers

potential funding opportunities.

on the environment.

and agricultural producers.

The director of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture visited Cal Poly in February and spoke on the future of the industry. Sonny Ramaswamy presented

During his visit, Ramaswamy toured

Ramaswamy is a strong supporter

CAFES Dean Andy Thulin followed

“NIFA and Sonny Ramaswamy strongly believe in Cal Poly’s unique

Cal Poly’s agricultural facilities, including

of the College of Agriculture, Food &

Learn by Doing philosophy and the

the new Strawberry Sustainability Research

Environmental Sciences’ (CAFES’) research

value we bring to California’s — and

and Education Center and the Irrigation

and has dedicated millions of dollars to Cal

the country’s — agricultural industry,”

Training & Research Center.

Poly through NIFA in past years for research

Thulin said. “We are excited to

to help combat future obstacles such as

continue to strengthen our partnership

climate change and water shortages.

with them.”

Ramaswamy was appointed director of the U.S.D.A’s National Institute of






al Poly animal science

“There is a need in our community,

have taught Parry and Greenlee how

majors Megan Parry,

and so far we really like doing it,” said

to give a physical, draw blood, give

20, and Sasha Greenlee,

Parry, a senior from Cupertino, Calif.

vaccines and various other clinical skills.

20, have transformed

“It has been so rewarding to see people

their shared passion for

learn to trust us.”

veterinary medicine into a community

They have mostly treated dogs. Cali,

Because the homeless clientele is often mobile and difficult to reach, the Cal Poly volunteers make a point of

service project benefiting the pets of the

a sweet and affectionate pit bull terrier,

offering as much veterinary care as they

local homeless population in San Luis

is one of their favorite clients.

can on a client’s first visit.

Obispo County.

Cali’s owners, Debbie and Joe

“We can’t always contact the owner

Ramirez, both homeless, found her hid-

and do a recheck, so we do as much as

month offering basic veterinary services

ing under a car in search of shade one

possible in that moment,” said Parry.

at the Prado Day Center in San Luis

hot summer day. She has been by their

Obispo, a place that provides day-to-day

side every day since. Until recently, Cali

assists when needed, said that the

services for the homeless such as meals,

had never been to a veterinarian.

students’ experience through their

They spend one weekend each

showers and laundry facilities.

“A lot of people wonder why the

Professor Kim Sprayberry, who

voluntary effort is invaluable. Following

homeless have pets if they can’t even

Cal Poly’s Learn by Doing motto, the

founded the nonprofit, Doggy Days at

take care of themselves,” said Greenlee, a

students get firsthand experience but

Prado Day, to collect donations of dog

sophomore from Pleasanton, Calif. “We

also learn valuable life lessons that

food, flea medicine, and other basic care

see it differently. These pets are the only

cannot be taught in the classroom.

items. In addition, student and faculty

reason some of these people are alive.”

In May 2014 Parry and Greenlee

volunteers hold a veterinary clinic one weekend every month.



A combination of animal science courses, past work and FFA experiences

“The students take what they’ve learned in anatomy, physiology, nutrition, companion animal care, and

Animal Science students Sasha Greenlee (left) and Megan Parry with satisfied clients Joe Ramirez and his dog, Cali

dentistry right into the immediacy of an open-air exam room,” Sprayberry said. Certain procedures, such as administering the rabies vaccination, must be done by a licensed veterinarian. Sprayberry and Professor Jennifer Staniec assist with those treatments. Donations of medications, specialty foods and shampoos, coupled with lowcost medications and supplies purchased through Cal Poly’s Veterinary Clinic, are dispensed on site. The students, said Sprayberry, are also getting a lesson in compassion. “They experience the gift of being able to communicate with the warmth of a smile, eye contact, a handshake or hug, and giving care to an animal whose love for the client is about all that person has in the world,” Sprayberry said. “This is a large part of what veterinary medicine is all about — caring for others by caring for their pets.” This is not the first time that Cal Poly students have aided Prado Day Center. Five years ago, Cal Poly students helped build dog kennels at the day shelter so that people have a safe place to keep their pets while accessing services. “We could not do what we are doing without Cal Poly,” said Grace McIntosh, deputy director at Community Action Partnership of San Luis Obispo County, which operates the shelter. “For a lot of our clients, their pets are the only family Sasha Greenlee administers medication (above) and a heartfelt hug (opposite) during a monthly visit to the Prado Day Center.

they have. These students are not just taking care of animals; they are caring for the shelter residents’ loved ones.”








he shrill ring of the final school bell on a Friday afternoon is followed by a scurry of excited middle school students scrambling

to embrace the weekend. But nearly a dozen 7th-graders stay

Nutrition graduate student Jessie Bierlich (below) with Mesa Middle School taste-testers Fabian Rodriguez (left) and Julian Reyes



back, equally enthusiastic to head to an afterschool program that has become a highlight of their school week.


AND COOKING LESSONS, THANKS TO PINK AND DUDE CHEFS The program, Pink and Dude Chefs, is a Cal Poly initiative that connects college students with local middle school students to provide nutrition education and hands-on culinary skills. The 12-week program, part of Cal Poly’s Center for Solutions Through Research in Diet and Exercise (STRIDE), is now being taught at Mesa Middle School in Arroyo Grande, Calif., but has been taught at other middle schools in San Luis Obispo County and nationally. The program is one of several offered by STRIDE that focuses on obesity prevention by providing reallife learning experiences — a vital step toward a healthy future. The facts about childhood obesity are startling. It’s an epidemic that is plaguing the nation. In 2012, more than one-third of children and adolescents were overweight or obese, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The percentage of children aged 6-11 years in the United States who were obese increased from 7 percent in 1980 to nearly 18 percent in 2012. “Given that obesity costs the nation more than $200 billion per year and comes with untold public health consequences, I think that our energy in teaching kids about food, nutrition

Mesa students Julian Reyes and Renee Regnier get a hand from food science junior Brianna Bender (right).



and cooking are well directed,” said Aydin Nazmi, director of STRIDE and a nutrition professor in the Food Science & Nutrition Department. “We have already shown improvements in culinary self-efficiency, nutrition knowledge, and nutrition behavior among program participants.” Pink and Dude Chefs goes straight to the source to educate and empower. The students are taught a gamut of skills needed to live a healthy, nutritional lifestyle: kitchen safety, how to read nutrition labels and recipes, and basic cooking techniques. “Middle school students are at a pivotal age of making choices on their own,” said Jessie Bierlich, a Cal Poly student pursuing a graduate degree in nutrition and teaching the Pink and Dude Chefs program this year. “They’re not quite adults but no longer kids. The goal is to provide them tools they can

everything you do in life,” said Cori

carry throughout their adulthood.”

Glazer, a second-year nutrition major.

One recent Friday afternoon, the

The middle school students, only a

students gathered around a collection

few weeks into the course, are already

of cereal boxes such as Honey Nut

armed with an arsenal of new nutritional

Cheerios and Cinnamon Toast Crunch,

knowledge. However, it’s in the kitchen

studying the nutritional labels of each.

that their new-found skills really shine.

Within minutes the students identified

The class meets each Friday to explore

Mesa student Zac Brewer and program volunteer Savannah Rodriguez perfect their purée (above).

The students make the recipe from start to finish: measuring out ingredients such as noodles, white

the total calories and the amount of

a new recipe. During this class, students

beans, cheese, peppers and yams;

sugar per serving in each cereal. To

will make two varying white bean

chopping the yams and red peppers;

some, it came as a shock.

macaroni and cheese recipes, one with

and using the food processor to puree

yams and the other with red peppers.

the bean and yam mixture.

Volunteers from the Cal Poly Health Ambassadors, a STRIDE program

“They’re teaching us for the future,”

As the two batches of macaroni and

focused on campus-community outreach

said Haley Razo, 12, who often cooks

cheese cook on the stove, the students

efforts to promote healthy lifestyle

breakfast and lunch for her family.

take turns gathering around the large

behaviors, moved among the students

At first, students gawk at the jarred

to assist and encourage them. Many

red peppers, but before long, while

are majoring in nutrition, with plans

chopping them for the food processor,

to pursue careers in the medical field,

they give them a try.

corporate wellness and education. “I love promoting health and wellness because they’re important in



“My rule is simple: You have to try it.

stainless steel sink to wash the dishes they used to prepare the food. Pink and Dude Chefs is gaining nationwide traction. Cal Poly partnered with researchers from

If you don’t like it, you don’t have to eat

Vanderbilt University in Nashville,

any more of it,” said Bierlich.

Tenn., to conduct a comprehensive

evaluation of the nutrition education program at several sites in Nashville. In addition, STRIDE now offers an online curriculum that provides an innovative train-the-trainer series that empowers anyone, regardless of their culinary experience, with the skills necessary to launch the program in their own community.

were a little bland, but if you can make it

by holding a family fiesta — preparing

better, it’s not that disappointing. If you

an entire meal for their families.

ruin it — that’s disappointing.” Other dishes that the students will make include baked chicken fingers,

“It is amazing, and incredibly rewarding, to watch them develop confidence in themselves,” Bierlich said.

sweet potato fries, spaghetti squash salad, and an apple crisp. At the end of the course, the students will celebrate their new culinary skills

Mesa student Fabian Rodriguez learns the importance of measuring ingredients carefully (below).

“Pink and Dude Chefs is a perfect outlet for Learn by Doing because it reinforces concepts taught in coursework, gives students a broader perspective of society by putting them into communities with a disproportionate risk of health problems, and gives students the opportunity to develop leadership skills,” Nazmi said. Bierlich focused her graduate thesis on the food and vegetable intake of middle school students and how their preferences change with the program as they study nutrition and develop culinary skills. She has been teaching and facilitating the program since last fall and said she is constantly surprised by the students’ willingness to try new ingredients. “What I love to see is when the kids have an initial reaction to an ingredient or recipe and are resistant to it,” Bierlich said. “I’ve seen students do it with tofu or a specific vegetable and then they try it and they like it. They are more willing to try it in a fun environment when they have control over the taste or flavors.” As the two-hour class neared its end, the students gathered around Bierlich to taste their latest creations. They discussed the flavors, the textures and the differences between the two recipes. Not one student complained. “I thought they both tasted about the same,” said Julian Reyes, 13. “They




al Poly’s dairy science program is being integrated with the animal science program, known as the largest and

A Good Mix


best-regarded in the state. The purpose of the merger is to strengthen the dairy science program to ensure that Cal Poly is delivering what the industry needs. The merger will enable both programs to leverage the resources and talents of the other while preserving the integrity of the dairy-specific curriculum. The new administrative structure will be effective July 1, 2015, and will not impact students currently enrolled in either program. The dairy industry is the largest sector of California’s agriculture industry, and in today’s hypercompetitive environment, the industry needs human talent that has a basic grounding in such diverse fields as nutrition, environmental and regulatory affairs, food safety, water use, animal health and welfare, nutrient management, reproductive physiology, business and marketing. Cal Poly’s job is to deliver a program that exposes students to these areas

The integration of animal and dairy sciences is expected to strengthen both programs and enable a more efficient use of resources.

and prepares them to contribute to the continuing success of the dairy

will create a stronger program — one

production and processing industries.

that better prepares students to enter

The newly merged Animal Sciences

the dairy industry ready to make an

Department will offer two degree

immediate and positive impact,” said

programs, one in dairy science and

Andy Thulin, dean of the College of

one in animal science. The department

Agriculture, Food & Environmental

will also offer minors in dairy science,

Sciences. “We know that we play a

equine science, meat science and

critical role in developing tomorrow’s

processing, poultry management, and

talent to ensure the continued strength

rangeland resources.

of the dairy industry in the state of

“Reducing administrative overhead

California. This change will enable

and taking advantage of the synergies

us to provide our graduates with the

between the faculty of both programs

foundation they need.”




TOP HONORS DAIRY CHALLENGE TEAM TAKES FIRST PLACE IN NATIONAL COMPETITION A team of four Cal Poly students took first place at the 14th annual North American Intercollegiate Dairy Challenge held April 9-11 in Liverpool, N.Y. The Dairy Challenge is a two-day competition for students representing dairy science programs at North American universities. Students were asked to evaluate an operational New York dairy and develop a farm analysis that included a list of recommendations for nutrition, reproduction, milking procedures, animal health, housing and financial management.

Cal Poly students in San Luis Obispo and Pomana collaborated on “Soaring Stories.”

The Cal Poly team ranked first among eight competing teams that evaluated the same dairy. Cal Poly’s team included: Anthony Alamo of Turlock; Preston Fernandes of Tulare; Amy McBirney of


Morgan Hill; and Russell Pate of Visalia.


Dairy science Professor Stan Henderson

For the 53rd time since 1949, the only

included a waterfall with recirculating

student-built float earned special honors

water, the griffin’s wings, a drawbridge,

at the 126th Tournament of Roses Parade

jumping fish, flickering candle flame and a

held New Year’s Day. “Soaring Stories” won

quill. Smith and Do helped with the flowers

the Lathrop K. Leishman Trophy for the

along the top of the book as well as the ink

most beautiful non-commercial float.

quills and the candle.

coached the team. “The challenge was a culmination of all the hard work that we have put into school for the last four years,” said senior Pate. “We took what we have learned and applied it to a real-world situation at a competitive level.” The Cal Poly team advanced to the national competition after a successful performance at the Western Regional Dairy Challenge in Tulare, Calif., in February. “Cal Poly’s success in the Dairy Challenge can be attributed to the knowledge and talent of our students,” said Henderson. “Cal Poly students have won this competition for the past three years, more often than any other university in North America.”

The float was constructed by students

This is the fourth consecutive year

from Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo, and their

that the float has earned the “Californian

counterparts at Cal Poly Pomona.

Grown” designation by the California Cut

“Soaring Stories” depicted a fairytale

Flower Commission. To be so designated,

castle and mythological griffin springing to

at least 85 percent of the flowers and plant

life from the pages of storybooks, reflecting

materials used must come from California.

the parade theme, “Inspiring Stories.” Two floral design students, Kirsten

Lynch said that the chance for her students to participate in creating such

Smith and Sara Do, traveled to Pasadena

large-scale flower arrangements was

with horticulture Professor Melinda Lynch to

priceless, as was the team’s comradery.

assist with the fresh-flower arrangements. In a first for the universities, the back

“Cal Poly has so many alumni who help make the float,” said Lynch. “It makes you

of the float included a wall of living flowers

feel really good to know that Cal Poly is still

instead of cut flowers. Animated elements

in the hearts and souls of our alumni.”



YOUNG FARMERS AND RANCHERS MEET PRODUCES WINS FOR CAL POLY Cal Poly students excelled at the California Farm Bureau Young Farmers and Ranchers Collegiate Discussion Meet in March, with Kenna Lewis, a third-year agricultural communications major, claiming the title of 2015 California Champion. Agricultural communications majors Harrison Reilly, Riley Nilsen, Ariana Joven and Kenna Lewis also delivered a stellar performance in the face of fierce competition, ultimately earning the Outstanding Team award. Lewis will compete in the national event in Kansas City, Mo., in February 2016.

Students taking AG 452 commemorate their visit to Sacramento in March.




senior Patrick Michelsen won the Oral Undergraduate Research Symposium Contest held during the 2014 International Annual Meetings of the American Society of Agronomy, Crop Science Society of

In March, students in AG 452, Issues Facing California Agriculture, met with

America, and Soil Science Society of

legislators and top policymakers and made team presentations on issues

America in Long Beach.

affecting California agriculture such as water, immigration, education and consumer preference at the California Farm Bureau Federation in Sacramento. The 20 students were hand-selected by the College of Agriculture, Food

Michelsen won for his presentation of a paper titled “Environmental Ramifications of a 120-Year-Old Railroad

& Environmental Sciences’ deans and 10 department heads with the intent of

Bridge Painted in Lead Paint.” The

exposing CAFES’ top students to key issues affecting the agriculture industry and

study focused on the influence of wind

the political process tied to it.

and water flow in the distribution of

The class, envisioned by George Soares (Agribusiness, 1966), founding

lead — a known human toxin — in the

partner at Kahn, Soares & Conway in Sacramento, has been taught at Cal Poly

soils, plants and sediments of Stenner

since 2003 and replicated at Chico State, Fresno State, and Cal Poly Pomona.

Creek, which surrounds Trestle Bridge, a

While in Sacramento, the students met with Soares and California Department of Food and Agriculture Secretary Karen Ross. “The field trip is a life-changing experience for many students, who learn about new professional and career opportunities they were otherwise unaware of,” said Mark Shelton, associate dean and co-instructor of the course.

structure constructed circa 1894 at Cal Poly. His findings demonstrate wind’s role in transporting lead to the soils directly under and downwind from the bridge. The paper, developed for a course titled Soil and Water Chemistry (SS 423), was co-authored by Cal Poly soil science alumni Craig Stubler and Chip Appel.



UPSTANDING STUDENTS RUN POPULAR WESTERN BONANZA SHOW Cal Poly’s annual Western Bonanza Junior Livestock Show — the largest student-run exhibition of its kind on the West Coast — was held Feb. 13-15 at the Paso Robles Event Center. Western Bonanza began as a senior project in 1985 and has grown to be one of the largest and most successful studentrun jackpot shows with more than 500 exhibitors and 2,000 entries. Exhibitors from Arizona, Oregon, Nevada and Idaho showed their animals in beef, swine, sheep and goat categories. A management team of 30 Cal Poly students and more than 100 committee members hosted the show — a free event open to livestock enthusiasts and the public. “The fact that Cal Poly students are running Western Bonanza is really an integral part of it,” said Vanessa Alexandre, Cal Poly agribusiness senior and swine chair. “These kids are going to the show and looking at youth their own age (who are) running it, and it gives them something to aspire to.”

TOP U.S. COLLEGIATE LUMBERJACK ITALY-BOUND Sam Mulholland-Wong, a fourth-year forestry and natural resources major, will represent the U.S. in the first-ever rookie/collegiate Lumberjack World Championships in Florence, Italy, in May. Mulholland-Wong was named top collegiate lumberjack in the nation after dominating five of the top athletes in the sport at the National Stihl Timbersports Collegiate Championship in June 2014.

The Western Bonanza Junior Livestock Show offers young exhibitors an opportunity to show their animals (right).




The Wine & Viticulture Department envisions a 22,000-square-foot center that serves as a teaching facility and a bonded winery.

On the Horizon



he vision keeps getting bigger and better. It wasn’t that long ago — summer 2013 — that Cal Poly formally established the

Wine & Viticulture Department. The program has already grown to become the largest wine and viticulture program of its kind in the nation. Now comes the next big step in hands-on learning for Cal Poly students: the Center for Wine & Viticulture. The vision includes a 22,000-squarefoot learning facility with crush, fermentation, barrel, bottling, teaching

opportunities in the industry. The

HELP US BUILD IT! The university has committed space and some infrastructure to develop the Center for Wine & Viticulture. We invite you to join our effort by making a gift today. A variety of giving opportunities

campus provide an ideal environment in which students can learn, experiment and conduct research with world-class viticulturists and wine makers. “The new center will provide stateof-the-art Learn by Doing experiences,”

are available, including the naming of

said Andy Thulin, dean of the College

the center and supporting vineyards,

of Agriculture, Food & Environmental

labs, classrooms, lecture halls, scholarships and endowed faculty. Learn more by contacting Grant Kirkpatrick at 805-756-2173 or

and meeting facilities. There will

Sciences. “That academic edge, coupled with real-world internships, will give Cal Poly graduates the knowledge and tools necessary to enter — and lead — the multidimensional wine industry anywhere in the world.”

be sensory, enology and viticulture teaching labs and a commercial-grade

many wineries to the north and south of

In a recent study published by the “Industry leaders and even parents

Wine Institute, California ranked as

bonded winery that will allow students

have pledged their support,” said

America’s top wine producer, making 90

to gain a comprehensive understanding

Marianne McGarry Wolf, interim head

percent of all U.S. wine and generating

of vineyards and grape cultivation, the

of the Wine & Viticulture Department.

more than $61.5 billion in economic

winemaking process, and the business

“They are the visionaries — the ones

impact. There is an urgent need for new

of wine marketing and distribution. This

who saw what the program would

talent in the wine industry, and that

unique three-pronged curriculum will

become and now envision what it will be

need will increase with even greater

give students insight into the realities of

in 10 years.”

demand in the coming years.

the entire wine industry. The center will be a teaching facility as much as a working winery.



Cal Poly’s Central Coast location

Cal Poly can help fill that void, and

gives students access to some of the

the new Center for Wine & Viticulture

best growing conditions and internship

will help do so in a first-rate manner.


Learn by Doing ... ARE YOU?

Help support our educational foundation by funding the Learn by Doing Endowment. The endowment was founded by 10 agriculture leaders who recognized — and benefitted from — the distinct advantage of a hands-on education. With an initial $1 million pledge, they’ve also committed to matching each $12,500 endowment gift to double your impact and support Learn by Doing in the College of Agriculture, Food & Environmental Sciences.

GIVE BACK TODAY! Contact Russ Kabaker 805-756-6601

California Polytechnic State University San Luis Obispo, California 93407-0250

Strutting Their Stuff

Students from Arizona, Idaho, Nevada and Oregon participated in Cal Poly’s annual Western Bonanza Junior Livestock Show at the Paso Robles Event Center in February. Read more about the successful student-run event on page 17.