Fresno State will welcome seven agricultural students and two faculty from the University of the Azores to the Central Valley from Sept. 4 through 17 as the first part of an academic exchange program between the two universities.

On Wednesday, Sept. 7, the visiting students will attend Jordan College of Agricultural Sciences and Technology classes, have lunch with President Joseph I. Castro and his wife, Mary, tour the campus dairy and creamery and enjoy a BBQ dinner with Fresno State students at O’Neil Park.

Other campus activities include attending the Fresno State vs. Sacramento State home opening football game on Saturday, Sept. 10, and the Ag Boosters BBQ at Borba Ranch Sunday, Sept. 11.

During their two-week trip, the students will tour the area’s agriculture industry, including visits to Hmong farms, Agriland Farming, AV Thomas Produce, Bee Sweet Citrus, California Dairies, Coelho Farms, Duarte Nursery, Enzo Olive Oil, Fagundes Dairy, Foster Farms, Harris Feeding Company, Nunes Dairy and Simonian Farms, as well as the Sacramento law office of Kahn, Soares and Conway.

The group will also participate in cultural events such as the “Our Lady of Miracles” Portuguese Celebration in Gustine and a dinner hosted by the Tulare-Angra do Heroismo Sister City Foundation.

During the trip, the group will also meet Congressman Jim Costa and travel to Napa and Kings Canyon National Park.

“We are both pleased and excited to welcome these students who come from an area where many in our community have strong ties, and to be able to showcase one of the most productive and diverse agricultural regions in the world,” said Sandra Witte, dean of the­ Jordan College. “Several of our faculty and staff visited the University of the Azores campus this year in preparation for the student experiences. As we embrace our 2016-2020 University Strategic Plan, we know these types of experiences will not only lead to greater student success, but will also lead to great understanding of the dynamic international food and agriculture industry.”

The universities signed a memorandum of understanding agreement in June to create opportunities for student and teacher exchanges and joint research.

A return trip is being arranged next spring for Fresno State students and faculty to the University of the Azores, which is located on the island of Terceira. The university offers degrees in agriculture, environment, biotechnology, animal production and food technology curriculum and research.

The educational cultural exchange is funded in part by a $49,000 grant from the Luso American Development Foundation. Since its founding in 1985, the organization has supported projects involving scientific institutions, universities, the business community and other organizations between the two countries, as well as promoting Portuguese language and culture in the U.S.

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