Cal-Poly To Preserve Campus Agricultural Land

Cal-Poly To Preserve Campus Agricultural Land

California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo will no longer consider development of nearly 43 acres of prime agricultural land just west of its campus core, as the university proceeds with the two-year process of updating its campus master plan.

In May, the university had released an update to its Master Plan that indicated that almost all of its orchards, horticulture facilities and field sites may be repurposed for future development of university housing and other campus infrastructure. Most of the land in question is classified Class 1 farmland.


The acreage is used now for lemons, grapevines, mandarin oranges, a deciduous orchard and silage for the university’s livestock.

The proposed changes would have directly affected 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. Steinmaus encouraged industry members to submit their comments to the university. An organization of students in favor of saving the land, Students for Agriculture, made efforts to increase awareness of their cause and rally industry supporters to continue to send their input to the planning committee.

“This is the right decision to maintain the high level of our Learn by Doing agriculture education,” says Cal-Poly President Jeffrey D. Armstrong. “We have heard from our students, our faculty members and our alumni and industry friends on this issue in recent weeks, and their voices have been unanimous: This land must be maintained for our ag programs.”

Click here for more details about the decision.

Cal-Poly is in the midst of a two-year process to update the plan that will determine physical needs and guide future development of the lands, circulation systems and facilities necessary to support the university’s Learn by Doing mission over the next two decades.

The university has held several workshops and public forums to solicit input from the campus and the surrounding community. In addition, the university has formed six community and campus advisory groups. These committees, made up of a cross section of campus and community representatives, are providing thoughts, ideas and input related to policy direction.

For more information about Cal-Poly’s master plan update, advisory committees, public meetings and other details, visit