Program and Facility Updates from SRJC Agriculture and Natural Resources Department

Written By: Benjamin Goldstein, Dean of Agriculture/Natural Resources and Culinary Arts Program Coordinator
Published: May 6, 2019

2019 marks a significant milestone in the agricultural history of Sonoma County: the 50th anniversary of the Santa Rosa Junior College (SRJC) Agriculture and Natural Resources (Ag/ NR) Department. Founded in 1969 through the grit and determination of agricultural education pioneers, today the SRJC Ag/NR Department provides high-quality education and training to over 1800 students and awards 140 degrees and certificates every year. Shone Farm, acquired from the Federal Government in 1972, has grown into a 365-acre diversified agricultural education center
and community gathering place for students, industry professionals and families alike.

Several significant initiatives are underway in academic year 2019/2020:
• Expansion of instructional space at Shone Farm: Four new classrooms will be added at Shone Farm, increasing instructional space by 120%.
• Porter Animal Science Center renovation: Tentatively slated for 2020, this renovation of the Porter Animal Science Center (livestock barn) will facilitate new species rotations and improve food safety and water quality standards.
• New vegetable processing facility: A new 4,200 sq/ft post-harvest vegetable processing facility will enable students to learn important processing, storage and packing techniques to keep produce fresh and safe throughout the distribution chain.
• Shone Farm Winery medals: Shone Farm Winery earned 4 medals at the San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition, including a Double Gold, two Golds, and a Silver!
• Shone Farm Winery E-commerce and Wine Club launch: Support the SRJC Wine Studies program and enjoy world-class Russian River Valley wines by joining our wine club. Visit shonefarmwinery.com after May 13th to sign up!
• Shone Farm Forest Management Plan: Preliminary groundwork is underway to develop a forest management plan for the 120-acre Shone Farm forest in accordance with the Cal- Fire California Forest Improvement Program (CFIP).
• The Department is investigating ways to strengthen several academic programs, including Sustainable Agriculture and Animal Science, through curriculum updates and facilities upgrades.
• Shone Farm recently completed a comprehensive Strategic Plan, which examined academic programs, the student experience, site operations, commercial farming, and community engagement.
• The College will be soliciting collaborations or partnerships with equestrian groups to more fully utilize the equine facilities at Shone Farm.
• Natural Resource Management students are doing major maintenance and upgrades in the Shone Farm Forest, and the program is exploring ways to demonstrate sustainable fuel reduction techniques.
• The SRJC Ag Trust Committee has identified a date for the next Agstravaganza fundraiser: May 16, 2020.

The SRJC Ag/NR Department looks forward to the opportunity to engage more deeply with the SCFB readership and share updates on these exciting projects and activities as they progress!

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