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March 2020 E-News

Ag One heading

Fresno State Farm
A message from Dr. Dennis Nef, Dean, Jordan College of Agricultural Sciences and Technology

We live in a day of wonders - some good and others not so much. We have the miracles of modern technology that allow us to communicate with others without fear of contagion. We have the challenge of a world-wide pandemic that has all of us wondering what will happen next. We have technologies that allow us to travel around the world in hours. We have the isolation that comes from “shelter in place” orders and the loss of real social interaction.

Yet in the face of current challenges, we need each other. We have heard often recently “we are all in this together”. While the Fresno State campus is pretty much closed down and many of us are working remotely, our faculty in the Jordan College and the University are working diligently to deliver their courses and learning opportunities to students in different ways. They are emphasizing that they are doing their best and asking students to reciprocate in kind. It requires extra effort to show they care. Our University farm remains open like other farms and ranches across our valley and nation. The farm is part of helping to maintain the food supply chain; our Gibson Farm Market is open and selling student produced farm products to our community.

There are so many ways to show we care for others and right now one of the most potent is to take care of our own health, that of our families, and those in our community. Unfortunately, the latter is most effectively done as we minimize physical contact with others. That means that we need to look for other ways to maintain a sense of community. We do not want anyone to feel like “I am in this alone”. Even though we are discouraged from meeting in groups larger than 10 people, we can ‘meet’ through other means-phone, facetime, skype, zoom, and through e-newsletters like this.

We hope you know we care and want to maintain the sense of community we have come to value. We appreciate your dedication to Fresno State and especially Fresno State agriculture. In the meantime, stay healthy!

Thank you for your support of the Ag One Foundation. Visit the Jordan College webpage. 

Stanislaus 2020
Stanislaus County Alumni and Friends Dinner

Ag One, the Jordan College, along with alumni and friends held a dinner at the Stanislaus County Swiss Club on March 12 where we were pleased to honor Fresno State alumnus Mel Machado, (B.S. 1979) for his involvement and many contributions to education and agriculture in our community and to induct him into the Stanislaus County Hall of Fame. Over 165 people attended the dinner. Proceeds will fund scholarships benefiting students in the Jordan College. Dr. Susan Pheasant, Director, Institute for Food and Agriculture, spoke on behalf of the Jordan College highlighting the advancements made to strengthen the college. We were also pleased to hear from Jordan College student Shania DeJarnett who spoke about the direct impact such advancements have on our students in helping them to reach their educational goals. Congratulations once again to Mel and all his efforts to advance agriculture at Fresno State and the Valley.

Polich Family

(Tom and Theresa seated on the left and Josh standing on the right)

Polich family joins Heritage Society

Tom, Theresa and Josh Polich will be inducted into the Fresno State Heritage Society for bequeathing $500,000 in support of the agricultural business department.The Heritage Society recognizes alumni and friends who make the commitment to include Fresno State in their estate plans. Tom and Theresa’s son Josh is a Fresno State graduate who earned a degree in ag business in 2016. Josh took part in three internships during his time at Fresno State which helped him explore various career opportunities. Both Tom and Theresa are grateful for the invaluable education and mentorship that Josh received at Fresno State. Josh said, “Studying ag business prepares you in life and gives you a firm foundation to help you succeed, find your passion and explore it.” Theresa, an educator herself, sees first-hand the impact of internships and hands-on learning, of seeing the lightbulb go off and students being inspired by the hopes of their futures. Theresa also knows that without student scholarships many students wouldn’t be able to reach their potential and feels humbled to be able to help students. The Polich’s also have a family farm in Visalia where they raise sheep and have formed relationships with Fresno State livestock faculty over the years.

Dr. Karle
Recognizing Dr. Harry Karle for Decades of Service

We would like to take a moment to thank a special person who continues to support and serve the Jordan College and Ag One. Dr. Harry Karle has been a part of the Fresno State family for the past 75 years through various capacities, beginning as a student himself in 1945. He has been instrumental to the success of multiple programs and departments, serving as faculty, department chair, associate dean for agricultural operations and most recently, as an advisor to the Ag One Foundation. Dr. Karle grew up on a farm outside of Sanger and graduated high school in 1944, shortly after he came to Fresno State where he earned his undergraduate degree in viticulture. Unsure at first what he planned to study, he soon found that his agriculture classes were the right fit for him. After graduation, he began teaching at Sanger High School where he taught morning and night agriculture and shop classes, and took students to visit local farming operations.  It wasn’t long before Fresno State called him back in 1951 as the first ever viticulture foreman for the University Agricultural

Laboratory. Over the next three years, Dr. Karle helped shape the budding viticulture program and worked alongside other iconic faculty in the college such as professors Vince Petrucci and George Ilg. Inspired by his professors, Dr. Karle decided to go back to school himself which paved a way to UC Davis to earn his Ph.D. “It wasn’t easy” he says of the enrollment process into UC Davis. “The department chair at the time told me to take classes for one year and if I passed and did well, they’d accept me into the program.” Well, he not only did well, he became a valuable contributor to the institution and the local nursery where he worked, budding over 5,000 plants to be sold and studied. All the while, he also worked for the plant pathology department full time and took his required classes to graduate with his doctoral degree. Upon graduation from UC Davis, Dr. Karle returned to Fresno State filling a faculty position in viticulture and plant pathology. Thus began the next chapter of his life with the Jordan College. It was tumultuous at times for students in the late 50’s and 60’s. There were protests and marches across campuses, and Fresno State was not immune. Dr. Karle recalls protecting the agriculture land and buildings by talking to students and trying to keep people calm. Helping students through difficult times in their life or academic career seemed to be his specialty. He has countless stories of students who came to him for advice when times were tough and dropping out seemed like the only option. Some of Dr. Karle’s fondest memories of his career at Fresno State includes serving as a mentor for many students and helping to guide them on their own educational journey – his guidance changed and impacted so many students’ lives. Dr. Karle has served on numerous committees and boards over the years, including the annual Turf Day Golf Tournament committee, which started under his leadership and is now hosted by

Ag One every year. It began in 1971 when the plant science department was searching for ways to outreach to alumni and industry. They landed on the idea of a golf tournament and the department sponsored the first tournament 49 years ago. Dr. Karle has attended every tournament. Since his retirement in 1991, Dr. Karle has continued to stay active with the University in many different ways. Not only does he attend the annual Ag One Turf Day, he also serves as an advisor to the Ag One Foundation, a position he has held since 1993 and continues to attend the quarterly board meetings held on campus. The devotion and decades of service that Dr. Karle has shown to Fresno State over the years is greatly appreciated and does not go unnoticed. Thank you Dr. Karle for all that you have done and all that you continue to do.

 World Ag Expo
Jordan College at the World Ag Expo

The Jordan College attended the 2020 World Ag Expo in force on February 11-13. Ag One hosted the alumni and friends socials on the evenings of February 11 and 12. Attendees had the opportunity to learn more about the Jordan College’s three research centers - the Center for Irrigation Technology, the Institute for Food and Agriculture and the Viticulture and Enology Research Center- while also enjoying Fresno State farm products. On the final day of the show, the Fresno State group enjoyed the California Ag Leadership Breakfast and then spent time meeting with several alumni and friends who exhibited at the farm show. Dr. Nef gave an on-air interview on the Ray Appleton Show, KMJ radio and enjoyed serving Fresno State ice cream with Jordan College ag ambassadors in the Ag Careers and Education Center to prospective students.


Ag Fest
Fresno State Ag Fest Men’s Basketball Game

The Jordan College took over the Save Mart Center on Saturday, February 15 for Fresno State's annual celebration of Ag Fest. Ag One had the pleasure to host a group of agriculture supporters and their families at the basketball game vs. Utah State. It was busy night featuring students, clubs, research centers, faculty, staff and supporters. Inside the arena, Ag Fest included pre-game and half-time activities and special recognition of the Jordan College throughout the game. Pictured above are a number of Jordan College faculty, staff, alumni and friends. View photos here.

Virginia and Joan Eaton
Virginia and Joan Eaton honored at State of the University

Fresno State President Joseph I. Castro addressed supporters and community leaders about the University’s successes during the fifth annual State of the University at the Save Mart Center on Feb. 11, 2020. About 750 community leaders and alumni attended the breakfast, during which Dr. Castro announced the newest recipients of the President’s Medal of Distinction to Virgina Eaton and her daughter Joan Eaton. The award is the highest non-degree award presented by Fresno State. Virginia Eaton received hers during a ceremony at the Terraces at San Joaquin Gardens, where she lives. Dr. Castro called Joan Eaton up to the stage during the State of the University as he talked about her mother. Castro then surprised Joan, naming her a second recipient of the medal. Beginning in 1991, Joan served as the owner and broker at Guarantee Real Estate for 22 years. She has made contributions to Fresno State students in a variety of programs throughout the University, while also providing her time and expertise on the Fresno State Foundation Board of Governors and numerous community-based boards. Joan is a lecturer in the Craig School of Business, where she teaches business communications. Congratulations to both deserving women. Read more.

Rodeo Team
The Bulldoggers Rodeo Team had a successful home event! 

Thank you to everyone who cheered on our Fresno State rodeo student-athletes at their recent home event! Belt buckles and event titles went to Cole Dodds (men's all-around, tie down roping), Rylee George (women's all-around), Reed Neely (saddle bronc) and Mitchell Parham (bareback). Our Fresno State Rodeo Team (Bulldoggers) men's team also tied for the win with Feather River College, and the women placed third (both Bulldog squads were top 25 ranked nationally entering the weekend). Way to compete Bulldoggers! Support the Rodeo Team!

Resnick Student Union Ground Breaking
Students and community celebrate groundbreaking for Lynda and Stewart Resnick Student Union

Fresno State students, leaders and community members celebrated the construction of the new Lynda and Stewart Resnick Student Union with a ceremonial groundbreaking on Feb. 20. A ten million dollar investment from philanthropists and entrepreneurs Lynda and Stewart Resnick, owners of The Wonderful Company, will help to support the design, construction, operation and maintenance of the new building. The 84,000-square-foot Lynda and Stewart Resnick Student Union will include dynamic and flexible meeting spaces, dedicated spaces for clubs and student organizations and a relaxing outdoor terrace. A portion of the Resnicks’ investment will be used to create The Wonderful Scholar Center within the new student union, a dedicated space where the 200-plus Wonderful Scholars scholarship recipients attending Fresno State will receive tutoring and counseling from their college-success specialists. Construction of the Resnick Student Union is expected to be completed in fall 2021. Learn more.

Azores Students
Five students visiting from the Azores wrap up their month long internship

Five students from the University of the Azores completed their month long internship at Fresno State earlier this semester. The five agriculture students from the Terceira, Azores campus were mentored by various faculty members in the Jordan College in the areas of animal science, plant science and food science. The students spent time learning on the University Agricultural Laboratory, in the classroom and at industry seminars and workshops. In addition to their educational experiences, they were hosted by alumni as well as Portuguese organizations in the region. Congressman Jim Costa arranged for the students to enjoy brunch at the iconic Ahwahnee Hotel dining room in Yosemite National Park. The next phase of the exchange will be for several Fresno State agriculture majors to intern in the Azores in the future. Thank you to the Luso American Development Foundation, Helder and Cindy Domingos, Alamo Meneses, Mayor of the City of Angra, Terceira Azores and the Tulare Angra Sister City Foundation for supporting the program.

Marlene Miyasaki
Recognizing Marlene Miyasaki

Ag One would like to recognize one of our amazing colleagues in the Jordan College, Marlene Miyasaki. Marlene, an administrative assistant in the Department of Plant Science, takes pride in her job and the impact she makes on students. One of those students is Daniel Loerra. Daniel came to Fresno State as a plant science major. Raised in Monterey County, both parents were farm workers so naturally Daniel and his siblings were around agriculture their whole lives. Daniel says he quickly fell in love with the education he was receiving at Fresno State and became involved in various clubs like the Plant Science club and Alpha Gamma Rho fraternity. During the last semester of Daniel’s academic career, he found himself with some financial hardship that was jeopardizing his ability to finish his education. Daniel reached out to Marlene to let the department know he would not be returning for his final semester. Marlene went to work quickly to connect Daniel with Dr. Bushoven, chair of Plant Science department, who ultimately helped Daniel obtain assistance to complete his last semester. Marlene remembers Daniel as a dedicated, reserved student who studied hard and took pride in trying to do well in classes because he wanted to make his family proud. In turn Marlene has made our college just as proud, she has created an environment where students feel welcome. “I owe her an immense amount of gratitude; she goes above and beyond for every single student that needs help” Daniel says of Marlene. With the support Daniel received he was able to graduate and has decided to pay it forward  to by making a gift towards scholarships to support students just like him. We thank you Marlene for your continued dedication to the Jordan College and our students.

Planting seeds of success…

  • The Fresno State Discussion Meet team won the California Farm Bureau Federation America’s Young Farmers and Ranchers collegiate discussion state title for the third straight year! Senior agricultural education major, Austin La Salle, won the state individual title, while junior Jasmine Flores (runner-up and Ag One student assistant) and Andrew Skidmore were among the top-four finalists in the event that included competitors from Cal Poly and Modesto Junior College.
  • Five Fresno State agricultural business students teamed up to advance to the National Grocers Association Student Case Study Competition six-team semifinal round against 13 teams from around the nation. Riley Barney (Ag One student assistant), Joshua Brown, Karen Romero, Amanda Skidmore and Omar Vargas-Torres created a 15-minute presentation that offered solutions to a set of problems that Buehler's, an Ohio grocery store, is currently facing. Great job representing the college!
  • The Meat Science Club Members competed at the California Association of Meat Processors Convention and Product Show. Fifteen students represented Fresno State in the Collegiate Class with second going to Morgan Henson with Spicy Sicilian Sausage and third going to Bulmaro Bribiesca with Santa Maria Sausage. Fresno State also came home with the overall university award beating out UC Davis, Chico State, and Cal Poly SLO. Congratulations to all the students who participated!

Calendar Important Dates

April 29, 2020        Postponed- date TBD 2nd Annual Northern SJ Valley Alumni and Friends Event

May 11, 2020        Postponed - date TBD 49th annual Turf Day Golf Classic 

Become an Ag One member!

If you’re not already a member, please consider joining Ag One and receive 10% off selected items like wine and olive oil at the Rue and Gwen Gibson Farm Market! Join or renew your existing membership today! JOIN NOW


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