Public Affairs

Cal Poly Pomona Teaches That Agriculture is Not All “Cows and Plows”

November 12 , 2010
By Stephanie Thara

When it comes to cultivating industry leaders, Cal Poly Pomona’s College of Agriculture offers students a Jacob Cecala and D. Michael Ramos explain Wild and Honey bee pollination of seedless watermelon. hands-on approach to learning through various programs, state-of-the-art facilities and applied agricultural research. On Oct. 28, the Cal Poly Pomona Agricultural Research Initiative (ARI) presented its 10th Annual Research Showcase, featuring agricultural-based research projects from students and ARI researchers.

ARI, a diverse and comprehensive multi-campus applied agricultural and environmental research program, hosts the event annually to support the CSU’s core goal of increasing agriculture productivity and enhancing economic viability. Housed in Cal Poly Pomona’s AGRIscapes, the symposium was a collection of 10 ARI funded projects focusing on concepts and methods that further advance California’s agricultural industry.

“The Agricultural Research Institute funds research that will primarily benefit California agriculture and it could cover any broad category,” said David Still, ARI Cal Poly Pomona campus coordinator. “Agriculture may have something to do with field production, laboratory research or human nutrition and how it affects obesity so there’s a pretty broad range of different research projects that [ARI] could fund.”

This year, the compilation of research projects ranged from increasing nutritional value in lettuce, meat production in relation to enhanced muscle growth, pollination, the effects of the choline nutrient and its metabolites on the human body, oyster farming and the impact of the Avian Influenza Viruses, among others. Students chose their topics based on issues within the industry that are presented in the classroom. Undergraduate, graduate and postgraduate students work with professors and ARI researchers to carry out their study.

Dr. David Still assists student Dieta Hanson in the Q&A portion of her presentation. The showcase opened with a greeting from various university and ARI executives, followed by thorough accounts of each presenter’s research and concluded with visual presentations of a variety of research posters.

“This has been a good turnout with a large amount of projects [not] in the silo of the college of agriculture,” remarked Still. “We had a lot of people from different disciplines like biology, computer science and engineering that took their skills and interests and applied them to agriculture.”

Since ARI’s inception, Cal Poly has completed over 500 projects that have contributed to the growth of the state’s agricultural industry making ARI a vehicle accelerating in producing outstanding students.