International agricultural leader Bayer established a $200,000 endowment with the Jordan College of Agricultural Sciences and Technology at Fresno State to support entomology research in the University’s new Jordan Agricultural Research Center.
Fresno State President Joseph I. Castro announced the gift 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 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.
“Bayer is an ideal company to sponsor our entomology lab, which will foster research in a key area of emphasis for our plant science department,” said Dr. Sandra Witte, dean of the Jordan College. “The diversity of crops on our 1,000-acre University Agricultural Laboratory and emphasis on hands-on experience also align with Bayer’s strategic vision. This collaboration meets our common goal of using innovative research to help ensure sustainable, high-quality, affordable food for a growing world population.”
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.
Bayer also sponsors a Bayer Graduate Fellowship for Fresno State student Annabel Rodriguez (of Reedley), one of three awarded nationally by the company. Her master’s research is on the effect of irrigation regimes on soil movement and nematicidal efficacy of Fluopyram fungicide in grape production.
Rodriguez started working as an intern for the company in 2011 and has assisted Bayer scientists in identifying different insects, weeds and crop pathogens. She has also helped start and monitor new trials for experimental pesticides to evaluate their efficacy and potential effects.
Other Fresno State students to serve as program interns include Holly Deniston-Sheets (Fresno), Pedro Guillen (Gonzales), Karina Mendez (Salinas), Eric Quintero (Salinas), Josue Ruiz (Salinas) and Allen Vizcarra (Chowchilla), as well as recent graduates Mala To and Nadia (Juarez) Gonzalez.