Agriculture students and faculty at California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, want industry members to continue to stand with them in their effort to preserve Class 1 agricultural land from being repurposed.
The university recently released an update to its Master Plan that indicates that almost all of its orchards, horticulture facilities and field sites could be repurposed for buildings, including residential and/or recreational space.
According to Joel Leonard of Students For Agriculture, an organization of Cal-Poly students in favor of saving the land, the Master Planning Committee will be meeting over the summer to form a final version of its plan and present it once more to the public in the fall, before it is submitted for final approval to the California Board of Trustees. Students For Agriculture’s goal in the meantime is to increase awareness and rally industry supporters to continue to send their input to the planning committee. Visit studentsforag.com to see more about how the current students feel about the proposed plan.
The proposed changes directly affect the current orchard plantings and other long term plans for the department, according to a letter from Scott Steinmaus, the horticulture and crop science department head. The department is committed to making sure that its facilities remain invaluable teaching environments that enable its students to learn about crop, fruit and horticulture production, food safety and pest protection, in addition to providing sites for externally funded research projects that benefit the industry.
Students voiced their concerns at a recent listening session that made the local news. They focused on the urgency of maintaining Class 1 soils for agricultural use, and the importance of having such land close to the campus in order to facilitate the school’s Learn by Doing philosophy, Steinmaus says.
“You may have the same concerns and could effectively voice concern that developing agricultural land around the Crops Unit would also seriously impact research and learning collaborations with outside industry,” Steinmaus says.
Industry members have been invited to submit comments to the university. Here is what you can do to help:
- Submit your comments about the Master Plan through its website or directly to [email protected]
- eMail or call in your concerns to the university president’s office at [email protected] or 805-756-6000
- eMail or call in your concerns to the College of Agriculture, Food & Environmental Sciences Dean’s Office at [email protected] or 805-756-2161
- Pass this article along to anyone who you feel would be an effective advocate for the program and its lands.