Written by The Business Journal Staff
The Fresno State Jordan College of Agricultural Sciences and Technology took in two major endowments totaling $700,000 last week.
Global healthy food and beverage leader The Wonderful Company established a $500,000 endowment and international agricultural leader Bayer set up a $200,000 endowment to support entomology research at the facility.
Fresno State President Joseph I. Castro announced both gifts Friday during a ribbon-cutting ceremony at the facility, a 30,000-square-foot interdisciplinary research center designed to foster collaboration among students and faculty in agricultural sciences and technology, engineering, science and mathematics.
The Wonderful Company’s gift will be used to enhance the first floor conference room of the center, which will be named in honor of the company.
“Fresno State is rapidly becoming one of the top agricultural education and research institutions in the country,” said Stewart and Lynda Resnick, co-owners of The Wonderful Company. “As an agriculture industry leader and one of the world’s largest growers of citrus, nuts and pomegranates, we have a vested interest in the future of farming. We are pleased to lend our support to this unique research facility, which will further the science of agriculture and train our next generation of industry leaders.”
Headquartered in Los Angeles, The Wonderful Company is a privately held $4.8 billion global company whose brands include FIJI Water, POM Wonderful, Wonderful Pistachios & Wonderful Almonds, Wonderful Halos and Teleflora.
The Jordan College also received a gift from the company in 2007 to create the Advanced Teaching and Research Field Laboratory for Citriculture. The program installed one of the world’s most advanced and efficient irrigation systems in campus citrus orchards and used Web-based technology and individualized watering schedules based on soil types.
The $200,000 contribution from Bayer will be directed toward the research center’s entomology laboratory, which will be named after the company. This space will allow students, faculty and industry partners to study colonies of insect pests and potentially beneficial insects. The lab will also be used to develop critical control and integrated pest management strategies.
“Bayer has had an exceptional working relationship with Fresno State, and we are furthering that work with a sponsorship of the entomology laboratory and development of a collaborative effort,” said Bayer CropScience LP President and CEO, Jim Blome. “This effort will focus on talent development in order to provide internship and job opportunities for current students, continued research on key pests facing agriculture in the Central Valley and collaboration with students in the agricultural department to address crucial issues in the ag sector.”
The Crop Science division of Bayer creates seeds, crop protection and non-agricultural pest control products to help ensure an ample supply of high-quality food, feed, fiber and renewable raw materials. It also works with locally adapted agricultural technologies that are focused on improving crop productivity and quality. Bayer has a Fresno office devoted to research and sales, and its biologics and vegetable seeds businesses occupy a facility in West Sacramento.
The Jordan Agricultural Research Center is located at the corner of Barstow and Woodrow avenues and was made possible by a $29.5 million gift from the Bud and Dee Jordan family in 2009.