SRJC Agriculture Department Developing New Hemp Program

Written By: Benjamin Goldstein
Published: October 1, 2019

The Santa Rosa Junior College (SRJC) Agriculture Department is developing a new Hemp Agriculture program that will train students in the cultivation of hemp (Cannabis sativa L.), with a goal of launching the program in fall 2020. SRJC is the first community college in California to develop a certificate and degree program focused on hemp. Beginning spring 2020, students can take
hemp-focused courses within the existing SRJC Sustainable Agriculture and Horticulture programs. Courses include Introduction to Plant Science, Soil and Plant Nutrition, Integrated Pest Management, Organic Crop Planning and Production, and several other courses that will be included in the new Hemp Agriculture certificate and degree.

Benjamin Goldstein, the dean of agriculture, natural resources, and culinary arts, said that he is proud that SRJC will be at the forefront of training students for this industry. “One of our
top priorities is ensuring our career education programs align with current industry trends,” he said. “Hemp a versatile plant at the center of a multi-billion-dollar legal industry for medicine,
fiber, oil, seeds, textiles and more. We are preparing our students with the knowledge and skills to be competitive in the workplace.”

Hemp is a genetically distinct biotype of Cannabis sativa that is grown for fiber, seed or oil. It is used in the production of products such as food, beverages, cosmetics, nutritional supplements, fabrics, textiles, construction materials, and other manufactured goods. Unlike marijuana, hemp is legal at both the federal and state levels and does not contain significant levels of THC, the compound in marijuana known for its psychoactive effects. Hemp is used to produce non-psychoactive cannabidiol (CBD), which has shown enormous promise in medical applications.
Faculty member Dr. George Sellu said, “Hemp is a dynamic crop with a myriad of uses. It is ideal for teaching plant science and plant propagation techniques in indoor and outdoor environments while addressing the tenets of agro-ecological sustainability. As a plant science instructor, I am thrilled to utilize hemp in my classes as an educational tool.”

“I’m thrilled to study hemp agriculture at SRJC,” said Norma Gomez, a current SRJC student. “There is no other community college doing this, and it’s so relevant in California.

There are thousands of jobs available for students with knowledge of hemp agriculture. My instructors are awesome, passionate, and knowledgeable. Plus, we can get real hands-on experience growing hemp at Shone Farm.”

To support hands-on immersive education, SRJC Shone Farm is growing a 0.8-acre test plot of hemp plants. This cultivation site is registered with the Sonoma County Ag Commissioners
Office and follows all federal, state and county legal and regulatory requirements. It is the first community college hemp farming operation in California.

A list of frequently asked questions is available at https://shonefarm.santarosa.edu/hemp-faq. Students or community members interested in the SRJC Hemp Agriculture program can
contact the Dean of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Culinary Arts Benjamin Goldstein at bgoldstein@santarosa.edu.

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