Every February, 100,000 visitors from more than 70 countries flock to a small town in California’s Central Valley for the largest farm equipment and technology show in the world. Though its location may seem remote, the World Ag Expo takes place in one of our nation’s most important agricultural regions.
The CSU students and researchers that headed to the International Agri-Center in Tulare for this year’s expo Feb. 12-14 showcased some of what they do to help California maintain its status as an agricultural powerhouse.
CSU campuses use the expo as an avenue to connect to the ag community. This year, representatives from CSU Bakersfield, Fresno State, Cal Poly Pomona and Cal Poly San Luis Obispo informed prospective students and the ag community about their programs.
“Schools from all over will come for a field trip,” said Des Molyneux, a Fresno State university outreach counselor that worked the expo booth with student ambassadors. “It is a great opportunity to present our programs and to visit with alumni and supporters from the community.”
CSU Bakersfield was there to spread the word about their recently-launched business program. The CSUB School of Business and Public Administration now offers a concentration in the agricultural industry, aimed to provide local ag companies with qualified graduates for their management teams.
“It’s a need that wasn’t being met in our local area,” said Madeline Moorhead, who was there to help represent CSUB’s business school.
A keynote address from combat-decorated marine and bestselling author Colonel Oliver North was one of the highlights of this year’s expo. North spoke at a benefit gala to support Ag Warriors, a program the International Agri-Center created in collaboration with Fresno State, Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, and the College of the Sequoias.
Ag Warriors was launched last year to help meet the education and employment needs of returning veterans. The program will focus on classwork, fieldwork, exam preparation and testing, mentorship, and internships—all designed to help ease the transition of veterans to higher education and expose them to a wide variety of career opportunities in agriculture.
Colonel North delivered the benefit’s keynote address, attesting to the importance of educating today’s veterans and getting them to work—not only in the ag industry, but in all of the private sector.
Fresno State’s Center for Irrigation Technology (CIT) coordinated educational seminars for farmers attending the expo. The CIT recruited nine irrigation industry professionals to give the seminars, which focused on teaching best practices in irrigation.
The most popular seminar was aimed at teaching farmers how to reevaluate their irrigation systems in order to make them more efficient, said Laura Ramos, a project administrator with the CIT, which is dedicated to providing developments and solutions to improve water use and efficiency.
“Many figured that because their irrigation systems did not show outward signs of inefficiencies such as leaking, they did not need to have them evaluated very often,” Ramos said. “But they learned that consistent reevaluation can catch small problems that can end up being big water and money wasters.”
Colonel Oliver North delivers the keynote address during a benefit supporting the “Ag Warriors” program, launched in collaboration with Fresno State and Cal Poly San Luis Obispo.
CSU Bakersfield President Horace Mitchell (right) during the 2011 launch of a business degree concentrating in the agriculture industry.
For more on the World Ag Expo, visit http://www.worldagexpo.com/