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Sustainable practices on campus farm

A variety of green practices are being implemented on the University Agricultural Laboratory (Campus Farm) at California State University, Fresno to increase sustainability.

Mike Mosinski, coordinator of farm maintenance and a member of the campus sustainability subcommittee, said the list of sustainable measures is growing.

“I believe our sustainability efforts on the farm will soon extend beyond Fresno State as we make an impact on our environment locally and as our students take what they have been able to put into practice here to their careers after graduation,” Mosinski said.

The farm is using new composting technologies, irrigation methods designed to get more crop-per-drop, a comprehensive nutrient management program involving dairy waste management technology, conservation tillage, GPS-monitored precision agriculture and a small student-managed organic plot.

An electric forklift in the Fresno State Winery and improved energy-saving lighting in the dairy parlor are other sustainability measures.

Among recent projects are:

• A computerized, variable irrigation system, installed in citrus orchards with funding from Paramount Corp., provides precise water and nutrient delivery to different parts of the field based on soil type and fertility.

• A new center-pivot irrigation system donated by Valmont Irrigation Inc. is installed in a 25-acre field at the northeast corner of Cedar and Bullard avenues. It uses remote-controlled computer and GPS technology to provide crops with water when and where they need it using soil and climate data.

• Covered Aerated Static Pile composting, which captures 99 percent of volatile organic compound emissions compared to wind row composting.

• A dairy waste-management system combines various technologies in one site that permits separation of solids and liquids using gradient and separation screens that provides filtered water for reuse in the dairy’s flush system. This cuts water usage and provides high-quality bedding material for the dairy and valuable nutrients that can be applied to campus feed crops.

More green practices can be expected in the future. Plans are already in the works to put solar panels atop farm buildings and feed storage units that would generate electricity, said Mosinski. In 2007, the university and Chevron (NYSE: CVX) Energy Solutions partnered to install solar panels atop a parking lot to generate 20 percent of the university’s energy demand.

The 1,000-acre farm comprises 25 student-run enterprises where agriculture students apply what they learn in classrooms at the Jordan College of Agricultural Science and Technology.

For more information, contact campus farm director Dr. Ganesan Srinivasan at 559-278-2011 or

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