Applaud Armstrong for preserving Ag land

June 16, 2015
President Jeffrey Armstrong

President Jeffrey Armstrong


On Friday, President Jeffrey Armstrong of Cal Poly wrote to the faculty to address them at the end of the academic year and to update them on specific issues that had been at the forefront spring quarter. In his update, he announced that, “The decision was made to remove from consideration for development prime agricultural land shown in previous maps as under study. These include the fields between Highway 1 and Brizzolara Creek and west of Mt. Bishop Road, which includes the plot commonly referred to as the “lemon grove.” These fields are those controlled by Cal Poly’s Horticulture and Crop Science Department.

The president further stated that, “The decision was made after carefully considering input from our professional planners and the Cal Poly and broader community. The decision is also tied to two of the key principles that have guided the master plan process from the beginning: 1) enhancing Cal Poly’s tradition of “learn by doing;” and 2) protecting and preserving important campus resources, which includes most class-one prime agricultural soils.”

The “broader community” included Cal Poly alumni from the HCS Department and College of Agriculture, and representatives from local communities who wrote, telephoned or spoke face-to-face with the president and master plan committee representatives about the plan and the importance of preserving prime ag land.

The HCS Department faculty, its staff, students and alumni applaud President Armstrong for endorsing this decision to preserve class 1 (prime) ag land close to the campus core. The decision shows true leadership, a commitment to sustainability and places Cal Poly clearly at the forefront of innovative thinking, as it reverses the decades-long trend which has seen most major universities building on the ag land near to or contained within their main campuses, forcing students to travel via car or van to observe and work in production fields and orchards.

A map has been placed on the Cal Poly Master Plan website which indicates which fields will be preserved from development.

Wyatt Brown is a proffesor in Cal Poly’s Horticulture and Crop Science Department.

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Under another administration, ag land was going to be required to build a stadium… the ag folks planted trees to halt the process.

It wasn’t Armstrong’s choice… the fate of the land was really never in doubt.

Note that the plan is to not develop “most” of the class 1 land. The headline says that ag land will be preserved. Agriculture is the production of food and fiber. Food and fiber is produced on many soils other than class 1. Ag Land WILL be turned into development. Yes, a bone has been tossed. Watch out Dairy pastures, beef pastures, etc.