College of Agriculture


Welcome to the CSU, Chico College of Agriculture Web page. Through collaborative strategic planning efforts involving the faculty, staff, and industry, the mission of the California State University, Chico College of Agriculture is to create, share and disseminate knowledge of integrated agricultural and environmental systems to students, industry and society.

For over fifty years, the College of Agriculture has served California agriculture by turning out graduates with the education and experience that helps them to excel in their chosen careers. Our curriculum focuses on the traditional agriculture programs including agricultural business, agricultural production and agricultural education. Our integrated curriculum helps students better understand agriculture systems giving them the educational background necessary to be able to continue to adapt in what will continue to be a rapidly changing industry.

By combining an outstanding team of faculty and staff with the resources of the University Farm we are able to provide our students with a learning environment where they are able to combine classroom instruction with practical production experience.

Please browse our web site ( and if we can answer any questions, feel free to contact us.

About the College

Welcome From the Dean

Welcome to the CSU, Chico College of Agriculture Web site. As dean of the college since August 2006, I enjoy speaking with prospective students and their families about the incredible academic institution we have here at Chico State. So let me ask you a question. What are you looking for in a college experience?

If you are looking for a high-quality, hands-on agricultural education, you’ve come to the right place. Our faculty are among the best that you could find anywhere, and our 800-acre University Farm gives every student the opportunity to put into practice the concepts and theories they learn in the classroom.

If you are looking for a nurturing environment in which to grow into an agriculture leader, you’ve come to the right place. We think of ourselves as a family here in the College of Agriculture, and with less than 400 students, it’s hard to get lost in the crowd. Plus, our dozen-or-so student organizations, ranging from the Society of Agricultural Managers to the Stock Dog Association, provide plenty of opportunities for leadership growth and development.

If you are looking for a beautiful and vibrant campus in a safe, welcoming community, you’ve come to the right place. The residential nature of our picturesque 110-acre campus provides a truly unique college experience. We further strive to create learning communities for our students, such as our Agriculture Theme Housing program and our Course Link schedule, which make it easy to network with fellow students both inside and outside of the classroom.

If you are looking for a pathway to graduate school or a great career, you’ve come to the right place. Through internships, undergraduate research projects, field trips, and guest speakers, our goal is to help you reach your goals. Our highly integrated program allows faculty and staff to adjust our offerings in ways that are necessary to keep up with a rapidly changing industry. We believe our graduates are well qualified to recognize and capture the opportunities that are imbedded in challenges associated with globalization, retail consolidation, urbanization, shifting priorities in public policy, and the potential for agroterriorism.

I could go on and on about the qualities that make the California State University, Chico, College of Agriculture “the right place,” but I’d rather just show you. In fact, before you make a decision about where to go to college, I encourage you make plans to visit all of the campuses you have an interest in attending. I believe it is important that you not only consider the programs offered but the distinct “personalities” of each campus. I am confident you will find a level of excitement among our students, staff and faculty that will help convince you to pursue your educational objective here at Chico State. If you have any questions about our programs, of if you would like to set up a campus visit, please feel free to contact our Outreach and Retention Office at 1-800-774-1644.

The College of Agriculture at California State University, Chico has an exceptional group of faculty and staff. We have attracted an outstanding group of students. This is a great time to Come Grow With Us.

Mission Statement

Through collaborative strategic planning efforts involving the faculty, staff, and industry, the mission of the California State University, Chico College of Agriculture is to create, share and disseminate knowledge of integrated agricultural and environmental systems to students, industry and society.

The College provides the following:

Agriculture: The Possibilities are Endless

Explore the possibilities of hands-on agriculture and prepare for one of the many exciting career choices in the rapidly changing field of agriculture. Biotechnology, genetic engineering, synthesis of naturally occurring food ingredients, embryo transplants, development of more efficient irrigation techniques, application of computer technology to meet the challenges of production and management, value added processing, identification of new niche markets, rapid expansion in organic production systems, and food security are just a few of the developing opportunities in agriculture.

Our graduates in agricultural sciences are highly competitive in the job market. Agriculture is the largest industry in the United States and an important force in California’s economy. In Northern California as many as one third of the jobs are dependent on a strong agriculture economy. The agricultural sciences encompass the production, protection, processing, distribution, and marketing of food, feed, and fiber, and the management of natural resources. Support services for the industry range from banking and financial services to soil and forage testing and disease diagnosis.

The tools for today’s agricultural scientists and business managers include quantitative business analysis, biotechnology, and computerized marketing, as well as integrated pest management and environmental resource management. When you enroll in the College of Agriculture at California State University, Chico, you will join a select group of students who know that they have a promising future in one of many agricultural career fields. An anticipated shortage of college trained agricultural graduates in the coming years has made the college’s programs an important element for the training of agriculturists for tomorrow’s world.

California State University, Chico combines the best of current and developing technology with appropriate science and management principles in a curriculum that provides many hands-on opportunities. In addition to classroom and laboratory facilities, the 800-acre Agricultural Teaching and Research Center (University Farm) provides students a chance to participate in production projects and apply technology under the supervision of skilled faculty.

Science, technology, business, management, and education are all aspects of agriculture. Students enrolling in the agriculture programs at Chico State may choose to specialize in a single area or focus on a broader curriculum. The classes, facilities, and programs also lend to the success of CSU, Chico’s agriculture graduates. Class sizes are relatively small, creating a personal and comfortable learning atmosphere. The University Farm provides excellent opportunities for students to obtain hands-on experience and study both modern and traditional aspects of agriculture. The career outlook in the agriculture industry and related fields is excellent.

Federal reports indicate that there are 10-15 percent more professional job openings in the agriculture sector than qualified graduates to fill those positions. Graduates in Agriculture enter positions with management responsibilities on farms and ranches and in industry, business, and government. Others find employment in agriculturally related careers such as purchasing, advertising, public relations, transportation, inspection, and market reporting. Still others take positions with agricultural cooperatives, food and dairy product companies, agrochemical manufacturing and sales companies, and farm credit.

For today’s commercial farmer, a degree in Agriculture provides the technical and business background necessary to keep up with new research and advancing technology. The professional areas of teaching, agricultural extension, rural development, and basic or applied research also attract many graduates. The CSU, Chico agriculture program is a great place to come to grow.

Star Students

Each year the CSU, Chico College of Agriculture recognizes exemplary students within each department who contribute to the overall success of the college. These students are those who go above and beyond their regular course studies and who show dedication and perseverance to promoting themselves and agriculture in a manner that exudes excellence.

The star students for each semester are nominated by a professor within the College of Agriculture who recognizes the student’s active demonstration of premier effort to better themselves and the community around them.

Our star students are individuals that showcase the high caliber individuals that the College of Agriculture attracts and develops and it is our pleasure to honor them as such.


The College of Agriculture is committed to providing students with the up-to-date learning facilities necessary to prepare for a future in California’s farming and agribusiness industry. By partnering with industry and agencies, the College of Agriculture continues to upgrade laboratory and field equipment in order to provide students with hands on experience with current technology. Faculty and student involvement in applied agriculture research has also provide the college with a means of upgrading our instructional facilities.

On campus classrooms and laboratories are used to help ensure students understand the science of agriculture. Many of our classrooms are equipped with broadband network access and electronic presentation equipment. Our laboratory facilities include both dry and wet labs with the equipment necessary to ensure students are able to take an active role in their learning. We also have some laboratory space designed to support individual student research. The college also maintains a computer lab that has recently been updated and contains up-to-date hardware and software. The computer lab is used both for formal instruction and independent study.

The University Farm includes modern barns, shops, greenhouses, and state-of-the-art laboratories (Directions to the Farm). At the University Farm, a full-time staff support faculty in conducting the field laboratory activities that represent an important part of our instructional program. In addition to scheduled labs, the University Farm is used extensively to provide students with highly valued experiential education.

Agribusiness Institute

The Agribusiness Institute is a component of the
College of Agriculture at California State University, Chico


The Institute provides agricultural business expertise in the areas of: education, marketing, human resource development, management and finance. Within this mission, there is focus on enhancing learning experiences, involving faculty in professional development activities, and serving the needs of agribusinesses in California and other Western States.


To Contact the Agribusiness Institute:

Agribusiness Institute
College of Agriculture
California State University, Chico
Chico, CA 95929-0310
Telephone: (530) 898-4147

The CSU Agricultural Research Initiative at Chico State

For many years it has been recognized that academic expertise in the four CSU colleges of agriculture represented a valuable resource that could be better used to help address applied research needs in the areas of agriculture and natural resources.

ARI Projects

In the 1999/2000 budget, the CSU was provided with funding to begin the CSU Agricultural Research Initiative (ARI). Initially, an annual allocation of $5 million from the state General Fund has been earmarked for the four California State University campuses that have ag programs (Chico, Fresno, Pomona and San Luis Obispo). The continuation of the funding has been contingent on our ability to bring in at least an equal amount of matching funds from industry or outside agencies.

The funding is intended to support applied agricultural research in agricultural business management, biodiversity, biotechnology, food safety and processing, irrigation management and technology, natural resource management, production management systems, and public policy development. The matching requirement helps to ensure that the research is considered to have value to those outside of the University. Funding can be used to support faculty time necessary to conduct research, hire researchers and technicians, support undergraduate and graduate research assistants, purchase equipment and cover other costs associated with the research and dissemination of results. The funding cannot be used for buildings.

Originally, of the $5M allocated annually, $1M is set aside for projects of statewide impact which involve multiple campuses. The $1M is allocated through a competitive grant process that is open to faculty on the four CSU campuses with ag programs. The remaining $4M is distributed to each of the four campuses to allow for a greater focus on regional needs. Currently, the College of Agriculture at CSU, Chico is receiving $750K each year. Due to budget constraints at the state level, the allocation for ARI has been reduced to $4M per year. The allocation to CSU Chico was reduced proportionately to $600K.

For the statewide and campus-based funds, we are using an annual call for proposals that will normally go out in the winter. Faculty on the four campuses are encouraged to identify applied research projects that are consistent with their teaching responsibilities. Faculty are also encouraged to look for opportunities for collaboration with faculty in other colleges and universities. The matching requirement dictates that the faculty identifies external funding to support the project. Although the objective is to secure as much of the match as possible in cash, it is possible to use in-kind contributions to meet a portion of the match. For the statewide proposals, no more than 50% of the match can be in-kind. For the campus-based proposals, no more than 75% of the match can be in-kind.

At Chico State our goal is fairly simple; we want to deploy ARI funds in a manner that allows us to enhance our undergraduate instruction by ensuring faculty are involved in applied agricultural research that contributes to their professional development. In addition, these research activities provide our students have opportunities to be involved in those research projects. The range of activities being considered or already underway include funding micro projects that represent well focused projects that undergraduate research assistants can complete within a well defined period of time (summer research), supporting collaborative projects with industry associations, establishing joint research projects with academics within UC Cooperative Extension, and developing centers of excellence that can allow for involvement of faculty and students across program, college and university lines in areas of critically needed applied research.

If you have ideas for research project or funding sources, please feel free to contact any of the faculty in the College of Agriculture.

Collaborative Projects

The College of Agriculture is involved with other colleges at CSU, Chico on collaborative projects. These collaborative efforts help bring faculty together to work on projects that cross discipline lines.

The Bidwell Environmental Institute has been organized by the Colleges of Agriculture, Behavioral and Social Sciences, Engineering Computer Science and Technology, and Natural Sciences to serve the following three purposes:

The most significant collaborative project is the CSU Agricultural Research Initiative (ARI). This initiative provides for funding to carry out applied agricultural research that have either state wide or regional significance. Unique to this program is the requirement that there be matching funds from the industry, foundations or agencies before a project can be approved.

A relative new collaborative effort is the CSU Consortium for International Development (CID). CID brings together Chico State, Cal Poly Pomona, Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, Fresno State, and Humboldt State to provide mechanism that allow faculty from these campus to work together on international agricultural development projects. Combining the expertise of faculty from these five campuses makes for a highly qualified team of researchers who are able to address important issues facing developing countries.

Development Office

If you are an alum, friend, or business representative who is interested in connecting with the College of Agriculture, making a donation, establishing a scholarship, or otherwise supporting the college, please contact the College of Agriculture’s development office. We will be happy to provide you with the information you need.

Sarah DeForest, Director of Advancement
College of Agriculture Development Office
California State University, Chico
Chico, CA 95929-0440

Tel: 530-898-3737
Fax: 530-898-5844
Plumas Hall, Room 225

The College of Agriculture Story

Mission Statement

Through collaborative strategic planning efforts involving the faculty, staff, and industry, the mission of the California State University, Chico College of Agriculture is to create, share and disseminate knowledge of integrated agricultural and environmental systems to students, industry and society.

Over 50 Years of Serving California Agriculture

For more than fifty years, the College of Agriculture has served California agriculture by turning out graduates with the education and experience that helps them to excel in their chosen careers. Unconfined by departmental divisions, college faculty and staff have collaborated closely to develop an engaging, integrated curriculum that comprises essential practical and theoretical knowledge for career preparation and continued life-long learning and leadership in a rapidly changing industry. Within the Agriculture and Agricultural Business majors, students choose options of study which allow considerable flexibility to follow curricula well suited to diverse career requirements and interests. Throughout the program, there is an effort to incorporate an ecological understanding of agricultural systems with sound decision-making and leadership skills to promote a more sustainable society.

By combining an outstanding team of faculty and staff with the resources of the Agricultural Teaching and Research Center (ATRC) also referred to as the University Farm, we are able to provide our students with a learning environment where they are able to combine classroom instruction with practical production experience.

Experiential Learning

Beside the experience students gain from activities at the University Farm, the College of Agriculture has developed a strong connection with the industry in order to provide our students with high quality internship opportunities.Internships can be used to meet the option requirements in Ag Business, Plant Science and Agricultural Science, and are encouraged in Animal Science. Our students have worked in career-related positions throughout California, across the nation and in several foreign countries.Although most internships are with private companies, internships with county, state and federal agencies are not uncommon.

Student Organizations

The faculty of the College of Agriculture works with the students to support a number of student clubs and organizations. The following groups are an integral part of our program:

Collegiate Future Farmers of America
An agriculture education organization with the purpose of serving high school FFA members.Some of the activities the organization takes part in include facilitating leadership camps, judging career development events as well as conducting educational workshops at both the state and National FFA Convention.

Dairy Science Association
The Dairy Science Association is a recently established club to provide an organization for students interested in the dairy industry.The Dairy Science Association participates in a variety of events sponsored by the College of Agriculture including Ag Day and the FFA Judging Contest.It also promotes the dairy industry in the local community.

Livestock Judging Team
A nationally competitive program competing against other four-year universities that offer agricultural degrees.The team is composed of five to eight students and involves 15-20 other students who participate in the Livestock Evaluation course.In recent years, the team has received group and individual awards at nearly every national contest in which they have participated.

Plant Science Club
The Plant Science Club is an opportunity for students at CSU, Chico to get together with others with common interests—growing flowers and vegetables, pruning organic peaches, and sharing rutabaga jokes!They gain experience pertinent to career interests, visit local farms, meet people in the crops industries, and help manage the Annual Chico Organic Farming and Food Conference.

Professional Animal Science Society
The Pre Vet Club is an advising/networking association for students interested in going to Veterinary School upon graduation.The students focus on organizing study groups, mentoring incoming freshman and sharing information about instructors, internships and the application process.

Society of Agricultural Managers
The Society of Agriculture Managers is designed to help students develop a complete understanding of agriculture and agri-business while facilitating the interaction between students and the professional managers in the agricultural business industry.SAM provides members with opportunities to become involved in the College of Agriculture, guest speakers from the agricultural community, opportunities to interact with the community and other educational field trips and fun activities.

Students for Responsible Agriculture
The mission of SRA is to provide the public with accurate information about current agricultural issues and practices, to promote awareness of political and environmental issues facing today’s food and fiber industries and to preserve the future of America’s farming and ranching families.

Stock Dog Association
The stock dog association provides working dog demos for tours and festivals.The purpose of the club is to educate the public and students on how to train a working dog as well as how to properly handel livestock.The club is open to all students and there is the potential for successful students to compete in trials across the state.

Young Cattlemen’s Association
Chico State Young Cattlemen’s Association is part of a statewide organization and affiliated with the California Cattlemen’s Association, with a goal to educate those either in the cattle industry or who wish to become involved. Through monthly meetings, seminars, workshops and field day events, YCA works to keep students, cattlemen and the community up to date with current issues pertaining to the cattle industry.

Wildland and Range Club
The following are social or honor organizations that are associated with the College of Agriculture:

Alpha Gamma Rho
Alpha Gamma Rho is a national Agricultural Fraternity with 65 Chapters throughout the nation and over 75,000 Alumni throughout the world. Locally, Alpha Gamma Rho, Beta Kappa Chapter became fully recognized and chartered in 1978. Since then, over 570 members have come through our chapter, each with a different background and story to tell, but each with a common bond that can neither be broken nor forgotten. Alpha Gamma Rho is a professional and social fraternity. Our purpose is to make better men by seeking out leaders interested in pursuing an agricultural related career.

Alpha Zeta
Alpha Zeta is an agriculture honors co-ed fraternity.Chapter Eta has been in the Chico College of Agriculture since Spring of 2003, but the national organization has been around since 1897.Alpha Zeta’s mission is to foster high standards of scholarship, leadership, character and a spirit of fellowship.

Sigma Alpha
Sigma Alpha is a national professional agriculture sorority with over 60 chapters and 4,000 members nationwide. The Alpha Iota chapter was founded at Chico State in 1998 and since its inception has promoted excellence in women pursuing careers in agriculture. We strive for scholarship, leadership, service, and fellowship and are dedicated to promoting women in all facets of agriculture.


The College of Agriculture is well positioned to continue to serve the needs of our students and the agriculture industry that hires our graduates.With an outstanding group of faculty, a dedicated staff, the resources necessary to enhance student learning, a supportive campus administration and strong industry support, the College of Agriculture will continue to lead in creating a student-centered learning environment built around an integrated curriculum.

Prospective Students

With nearly 400 declared Agriculture majors, the College of Agriculture at Chico State is large enough to provide an outstanding agriculture education, yet small enough to offer unique opportunities for student involvement. We think of our college as a family, and if you are enthusiastic and eager to learn, you will have no trouble finding your home among us.

Students presenting marketing projectThe College of Agriculture is guided by a student-centered, hands-on learning philosophy. With an 800-acre University Farm that is accessible to all students, nearly a dozen agriculture organizations ranging from Society of Ag Managers to the Stock Dog Association, and a strong tie to the agricultural community, the experiences our students gain during their time at CSU, Chico College of Agriculture will prepare them for a rewarding career in agriculture or admission to graduate or professional school.

The Outreach and Retention Office is here to help you plan for your education in the College of Agriculture. We stand ready to help you with the admission process, connecting you with a faculty adviser, helping you to get access to scholarship information and eventually finding the right internship or job. Feel free to contact us any time by calling (800) 774-1644 or e-mailing

The College of Agriculture hosts Opportunity Day in November of each year to bring students out to the University Farm and learn about the education opportunities available to them at CSU, Chico. Opportunity Day offers hand on workshops, on site admissions for qualified applicants, and a scholarship competition available only to students applying to Chico and attending Opportunity Day. For more information on this event please contact the Outreach Office at 1-800-774-1644 or email

Majors & Options

Agriculture will remain a major industry in the nation as well as in California. There is a steady, continuing supply of professional managerial jobs for well-educated people in agriculture and natural resource management. In response to the quality of our programs and the career opportunities, the number of majors in the College of Agriculture continues to rise.
The unique Chico program integrates all aspects of agriculture into each major and option giving students a broad experience as well as a concentrated course of study. Individuals enrolled in the College of Agriculture receive both theoretical knowledge and practical experience - both very necessary to become the future leaders of this important economic sector. Students learn through a systems approach about the complex set of interrelationships between agriculture, the environment, political and social forces, and other sectors of the economy.

Student Resources