New Jordan Research Center Breaks Ground At Fresno State

by Patrick Cavanaugh


Under clear blue skies, with hundreds of agricultural industry members in attendance, the Jordan College of Agricultural Sciences and Technology at Fresno State broke ground yesterday on a new 30,000 sq. ft. Jordan Research Center, at the corner of Barstow and Woodrow Avenues, designed to foster collaboration among students and faculty in agricultural sciences and technology engineering and science and mathematics. The new research center of Fresno State is scheduled to open in the fall of 2015.

Ground BreakingFresno State President Joseph I. Castro said the world-class Jordan Research Center would provide many opportunities for students. “We are very excited about the Jordan Research Center. It’s going to provide many new opportunities for the next generations of leaders in agriculture, advance the research throughout our region and play a key role in strengthening our economy here in the Valley,” Castro said.

Castro said that the ag industry in California would be there to support that center well. “We are blessed with so many partnerships now with agriculture, and one of my highest priorities is to expand the number of partners, and this Center will help us do that.”

A $29.4 million dollar gift from the Jordan family to the College of Agricultural Sciences and Technology in 2009 made this facility possible. “We are so fortunate to have the Jordon’s as friends. They love agriculture, and they love Fresno State. And we are grateful for their gift.”

The monetary gift is the largest cash gift in Fresno State’s history and among the largest ever in the CSU system.

“My late husband Bud, as well as brother-in-law Lowell, would be so very pleased to see not only the family legacy tied to Fresno State agriculture, but to know that the future of agriculture will be well served by the work to be done in the research center,” said Dee Jordan.

Dee Jordan

Dee Jordan

During the groundbreaking ceremony, Castro also announced three gifts to establish endowments to enhance laboratory spaces inside the building:

Retired Fresno Dentist Harry Moodigian, who walked onto the Fresno State campus in 1956, has given $200,000 in support of a microbiology lab at the center. “I want to see my University in the forefront of research in the field of microbiology. This is a wonderful way of supporting the research program.

And, Dave Watkins, senior vice president of agricultural operations for Loam Spices and Vegetable Ingredients has established a $200,000 endowment to support the interdisciplinary research lab.

“We moved our headquarters to Fresno three years ago, and we immediately began reaching out to the University to build our relationship, established an intern recruiting program, and when this opportunity came along, it was a perfect fit for us,” said Watkins.

Alumni Earl and Beverly Knobloch gave in support of the instrument/robotics laboratory space.

The drought has a tremendous impact on nutrient cycles leading to top management decisions this year beyond agricultural liquid fertilizer recommends of balanced nutrient program to strengthen plants in times of stress which speeds recovery this year’s soil and plant analysis extra importance close attention to residual nitrate levels is critical remember practice responsible nutrient management during this drought here yes you can with agriculture liquid

This $24 million project will feature open, flexible space designed for collaborative research. Faculty and students from the Jordan College will work alongside colleagues in the Lyles College of Engineering and the College of Science and Mathematics.

“At Fresno State, we want to support advances in the agriculture industry, and we have the opportunity to do that with the Jordan Research Center,” said Castro. “This facility is going to make a tremendous impact in the Valley and around the world. We’ll be able to perform research that will advance knowledge throughout the industry.”

“This is the first-of-its-kind on a CSU campus. Fresno State agriculture will be on the leading edge as we continue to make significant contributions to enhancing production agriculture, food systems and natural resources,” said Dr. Charles Boyer, dean of the Jordan College.

The state-of-the-art center will include wet and dry laboratories and laboratory support space. “For our students, the Jordan Research Center will create an environment where research becomes totally integrated into university life. This will be a place where the region’s greatest minds will enrich our environment and unlock the solution for our greatest challenges,” Boyer said.

“Fresno State specializes in applied research, aligning its resources with the needs of the Central Valley,” Castro said. “The Jordan Research Center is a perfect example of the vision and creativity that will drive Fresno State’s growth.”


For more information, contact Shannon Fast, associate director of development for the Jordan College, at 559.278.4266 or To discuss potential partnership opportunities in the Jordan Research Center, contact Alcidia Freitas Gomes at 559.278.4266 or

2016-05-31T19:35:25-07:00June 15th, 2014|

The Groundbreaking of the New Jordan Research Center to Take Place on June 13


As the flagship university in the top agricultural region in the world, Fresno State is a fitting home for a world-class research center to discover and investigate the most advanced concepts and practices of agriculture, food and natural resources.

The new Jordan Research Center at Fresno State fosters collaboration between some of the brightest minds in agriculture, engineering, science and mathematics. The 30,000-square-foot facility is slated for groundbreaking in spring 2014, reinventing Fresno State as a leading research institution for decades to come.

Please join Fresno State for the groundbreaking of the new Jordan Research Center on June 13.


2016-05-31T19:35:29-07:00June 2nd, 2014|

JCAST Faculty and Staff Provide Input for the Commission on the Future of Agriculture

Eight members of Fresno State President Joseph Castro’s Commission on the Future of Agriculture listened and shared during a campus gathering on a recent Friday afternoon to discuss strengths and challenges facing agricultural programs at Fresno State.

More than 40 faculty and staff from the Jordan College of Agricultural Sciences and Technology met with the commission members during a special forum led by Andrew Hoff, interim provost and co-chair of the commission.

Faculty and staff were invited to voice what they see as the college’s greatest strengths, its foremost challenges, and what vision they have for where the college can be five, 10 and 15 years from now.

In brainstorming fashion, Hoff scrambled to list dozens of comments and ideas articulated by the group. Common themes emerging from the strengths discussion were the quality of highly- skilled and dedicated faculty and staff, along with the value of the campus University Agricultural Laboratory as a teaching and training ground for students.

Commonly voiced challenges were the need to increase faculty numbers, in order to give existing faculty more freedom to formulate and pursue visions that will further enhance programs and facilities for Fresno State students.

Commission members shared some of their own observations as “outside” agribusiness and community members. Many agreed with previously listed comments and some added additional thoughts.

Hoff called the gathering to help the commission complete its charge from President Castro:

1.Review Fresno State’s academic, applied research and public service programs that are focused on agriculture and/or serve the needs of the agricultural industry.

2. Identify areas of opportunity where Fresno State agricultural programs and facilities can be among the best in the nation.

3. Recommend strategies to strengthen partnerships between Fresno State, government agencies, private foundations, individual philanthropists and the agricultural industry in support of the campus’ agricultural programs.

Commission members already have toured the campus farm and met to discuss a variety of opportunities and challenges related to the college. The forum gave them an opportunity to hear directly from college faculty and staff.

The full 20-member commission is comprised of agribusiness and industry leaders from throughout the San Joaquin Valley and includes several Fresno State representatives. Co-chairing along with Hoff is dairyman, attorney and industry leader George Soares of Hanford.

Hoff said notes from the recent session will be compiled into a report to be presented to the full commission, which is meeting monthly. Based on all the information, input and ideas gained during its first months of activity, the commission will develop a preliminary report containing recommendations to be made to President Castro during a public forum May 9.

For more information on the President’s Commission or the forum, contact the provost’s office at 559.278.2636.

2016-05-31T19:38:02-07:00April 18th, 2014|

Common Threads Award Recognizes Women in Agriculture

Last Thursday, California State University, Fresno hosted The Common Threads Awards Luncheon. Created to honor women in agriculture, this year’s honorees included Juliet Campos, Lorraine Machado, Alice Saviez, RoseAnn Serrano and Helen Sullivan.

“These women don’t expect any kind of recognition, yet they spend countless hours behind the scenes sharing their time, talents and treasures,” said Ag One Assistant Director of Development, Sadie Hemsath. “This type of event encourages younger generations to give back to their community and appreciate the effort that has been portrayed by those before them.”

The Common Threads Award was created in 1997 as a collaboration between Fresno State’s Jordan College of Agricultural Sciences and Technology, the California Agricultural Leadership Foundation and the Ag One Foundation. Nominees of the award demonstrate strong involvement in the agriculture industry and have made a difference in their community based on their volunteer work and philanthropic contributions.

Proceeds of the event support the Ag One Foundation, the California Agricultural Leadership Foundation, Fresno State’s Jordan College of Ag and charities of the honoree’s choice. This year, Catholic Charities, Children’s Hospital Central California, the Ag One Foundation, Hinds Hospice and Burris Park Foundation will receive donations from Common Threads.

Every year, individuals can nominate women from the Fresno, Kern, Kings, Madera, Merced and Tulare counties for the Common Threads award. In a time where agriculture literacy is amongst the utmost importance, the work of women in agriculture is imperative and appreciated.

“These five women, and the past honorees, have spent a lifetime giving back to their communities and concerning themselves with the welfare of everyone else,” said Hemsath. “It is such a joy to take a moment and recognize them and their hard work.”

2016-05-31T19:38:05-07:00April 1st, 2014|

JCAST Students Claim Back-to-Back State Championships at Discussion Meet

Source: Eddie Hughes; Fresno State News and Fresno County Farm Bureau 

Fresno State senior Levy Randolph of Hemet earned the individual state championship in the California Farm Bureau Federation’s Young Farmers and Ranchers Collegiate Discussion Meet on March 1 in Visalia.

Randolph, an Agricultural Education major, was one of eight students who represented Fresno State’s Jordan College of Agricultural Sciences and Technology at the meet. Randolph now advances to compete in February 2015 at the American Farm Bureau Federation’s Young Farmers and Ranchers Leadership Conference in Nashville.

The discussion meet competition was designed for young members of the farm bureau to participate in a progressive and collaborative discussion. Participants are judged on content, cooperative attitude, presentation and knowledge of the pre-determined speaking topics.

Competitors discuss pressing issues of the agriculture industry and strive to cultivate solutions from their 20-minute discussion.

This was Fresno State’s fourth team championship all-time and Randolph will be the fifth Bulldog to represent California at the national competition.

Randolph’s winnings included an expense-paid trip to the national competition and a cash prize of $1,250.

Joining Randolph in the final round of competition was Fresno State Agricultural Communications major Jodi Raley of Tollhouse. Raley earned a $500 cash prize. Audra Roland, an Agricultural Business major from Tollhouse, made it to the semifinals.

Dr. Steven Rocca, professor of Agricultural Education and Communications, has coached the competition since 2006. “Our students’ hard work and dedication led to the overall team win,” Rocca said. “We are thrilled that one of our students earned the state championship, enabling our team to become back-to-back champs. The skills these students learn will be valuable tools in their future as our agricultural leaders.”

Additional members of the team include: Ana Lopez, an Animal Science/Pre-Veterinary major from Tulare; Victor Evans, an Agricultural Education-Teacher Preparation major from Fresno; Kyle Mendes, an Agricultural Education-Teacher Preparation major from Modesto; Rachel Wright, an Agricultural Communications major from Tollhouse; and Mallory Harrison an Agricultural Communications major from Bakersfield.

The Young Farmers and Ranchers are active agriculturalists, ages 18 to 35. Members develop leadership skills through community service, service-learning and maintaining active involvement in their county farm bureaus.

The Jordan College of Agricultural Sciences and Technology (JCAST) offers education needed to be a leader in agriculture and related sciences. They offer programs in the traditional areas of agriculture, including animal science, plant science, agricultural education, viticulture and agricultural business. 

JCAST also offers excellent programs in areas uniquely related to agriculture, including industrial technology, food science and nutrition, enology, child development, family science and fashion merchandising. 

2016-05-31T19:38:51-07:00March 7th, 2014|

Ag One – Raising Scholarship Money for Students Since 1979

In 1979, several faculty, alumni and friends of the Jordan College of Agricultural Sciences and Technology had a million-dollar idea — to start a foundation that would benefit, promote and support the college and its programs.

The supporters set out to raise $1 million in endowed scholarships.

Today, the Ag One Foundation has raised more than $16 million in endowed funds.

Over the years, donors, board members and volunteers have made it possible to award some 3,250 students with more than $2.3 million in scholarships and grants.

For the 2013-2014 academic year, Ag One will provide nearly $500,000 to deserving students and programs.

Upcoming Events:

If you’d like to contribute to Ag One’s efforts, look into their membership opportunities today!

2016-05-31T19:38:52-07:00March 6th, 2014|

Fresno State explores new opportunities in agriculture

Commentary by Joseph I. Castro

Source: California Farm Bureau Federation

At the end of my first 100 days as president of California State University, Fresno, I announced the formation of the President’s Commission on the Future of Agriculture and charged it with the task of identifying opportunities and strengthening industry partnerships to make Fresno State’s agricultural programs and facilities among the best in the nation.

There is no doubt that California agriculture has transformed itself over the decades, born of a necessity to address endless challenges such as the current, devastating drought.

Fresno State, located in the heart of the No.1 producing region in the nation, is geographically poised to take the lead in making sure the agricultural industry has the tools it needs to be cutting edge and remain economically successful, whatever the challenges that lie ahead.

I created this commission to fulfill my vision for Fresno State to become the front-runner in providing California agriculture with its future employees, industry leaders and innovators in production agriculture and food processing.

Fresno State’s Jordan College of Agricultural Sciences and Technology is proud of its programs that provide quality education and applied research in agriculture and food technology, but we can do more.

We must help our students excel in a changing agriculture and food industry, and ensure Fresno State will be even stronger for the next generation of students.

My commission is designed to do just that: identify industry needs and make recommendations on how Fresno State’s agricultural programs—defined to include intersections with science, math, engineering, business and other areas—can be among the very best.

Co-chaired by dairyman, attorney and industry leader George Soares of Hanford and Fresno State Interim Provost Andrew Hoff, the commission includes agribusiness and industry leaders from throughout the valley, plus university representatives, who are charged specifically to:

  • Review Fresno State’s academic, applied research and public service programs that are focused on agriculture and/or serve the needs of the agricultural industry;
  • Identify areas of opportunity where Fresno State’s agricultural programs and facilities can be among the best in the nation;
  • Recommend strategies to strengthen partnerships among Fresno State, government agencies, private foundations, individual philanthropists and the agricultural industry in support of campus agricultural programs.

Commission members include Darius Assemi, Granville Management Inc., Fresno; Kim Ruiz Beck, Ruiz Food Products Inc., Dinuba; Barry Bedwell, California Grape and Tree Fruit League, Fresno; Carol Chandler, Chandler Farms, Selma; Octavia Diener, Fresno State Foundation Board, Fresno; Ryan Jacobsen, Fresno County Farm Bureau, Fresno; David Mas Masumoto, Masumoto Farms Inc., Del Rey; Marvin Meyers, Meyers Farming, Firebaugh; Dennis Parnagian, Fowler Packing Co., Fresno; Pat Ricchuiti, P-R Farms Inc., Clovis; Mario Santoyo, Friant Water Authority, Lindsay; Bill Smittcamp, Wawona Frozen Foods, Clovis; Peter Weber, Regional Job Initiatives, Fresno; and Dennis Nef, Susan Elrod, Ram Nunna and Lynn Williams, all of Fresno State.

The commission has met and is actively engaged in examining ways for the Jordan College to achieve its full potential.

A preliminary report of the commission’s findings and recommendations will be available in early May.

This is an exciting time for Fresno State agriculture, its students, faculty, alumni and industry partners.

I encourage our alumni and friends of the university, in particular, to become part of this very important effort. I hope you will contact me with your ideas and suggestions.

(Joseph I. Castro is president of California State University, Fresno. He can be contacted on Twitter via @JosephICastro.)


2016-05-31T19:38:52-07:00March 6th, 2014|

Valley Women to be honored at Common Threads Awards Program

Five women have been selected as the 2014 honorees for the Common Threads Award, which recognizes women from the San Joaquin Valley for their agricultural, philanthropic and community service.

The Common Threads Award recipients for 2014 are Juliet Campos, Caruthers;  Lorraine Machado, Merced; Alice Saviez, Fresno; RoseAnn Serrano, Le Grand; and Helen Sullivan, Hanford.

These five Valley women have strong agricultural backgrounds and are active participants in their communities through philanthropic endeavors and community service.

The honorees will be recognized at a special luncheon on Thursday, March 27 at the University Courtyard Dining Hall at California State University, Fresno.

Common ThreadsThe 18th Annual Common Threads luncheon will begin at 11:00 a.m. and will feature award-winning Fresno State wines, a raffle and the Common Threads Award presentation.

Tickets are $40 per person if purchased by March 20; $50 per person after March 20. Space is limited.

Net proceeds raised from the luncheon support the California Agricultural Leadership Foundation (Ag Leadership), Ag One Foundation and charities of the honorees’ choice.

2016-05-31T19:38:53-07:00March 5th, 2014|
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