In a spirit of international collaboration inspired by common objectives to promote cultural bonds and accelerate agricultural research, Fresno State and Punjab Agricultural University (India) will sign an agreement to formalize a relationship. This is a first step in sharing research and learning from each other’s expertise in common areas of agricultural issues, including water management, irrigation technology, ag mechanization and the improvement of high-value crops.

Fresno State President Joseph I. Castro will sign a memorandum of understanding in a ceremony beginning at 6 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 12 at the Smittcamp Alumni House, in the presence of campus officials, international students from India and representatives from the local Sikh community. 

“Fresno State’s prominence in the Central Valley — the world’s most productive agricultural region — will be further strengthened by this bold, new partnership with Punjab Agricultural University,” Castro said. “We are deeply appreciative of the close relations we enjoy with our local Sikh community, including leaders in business and agriculture who are Fresno State alumni and friends.”

This collaboration between Fresno State and Punjab Agricultural University has been several years in the making.  

“Punjab Agricultural University is committed to forging ties with strong national and international universities for developing quality research collaborations like this one with Fresno State,” said Dr. Baldev Singh Dhillon, vice chancellor of Punjab Agricultural University, located in Ludhiana, India.

Punjab Agricultural University (PAU), established in 1962, has played a key role in increasing food production in the Punjab state. 

“Punjab and the San Joaquin Valley are among five regions with a unique soil makeup and micro-climate, where the number and variety of crops grown is probably greater than any other region of the world,” said Pashaura Singh Dhillon, a representative of the local Sikh community. Dhillon is past associate of Landscape Institute London and a retired agricultural biologist from the Fresno County Department of Agriculture. “It is great news that PAU has offered to share experiences and seek cooperation with Fresno State by signing this historic MOU coinciding with the birth anniversary of Guru Nanak, founder of the Sikh religion.”

Guru Nanak’s birth anniversary is celebrated worldwide on Nov. 12 by followers of the Sikh religion.

“I am confident this partnership with Punjab Agricultural University will be of great benefit to both of our institutions,” said Dr. Saúl Jimenez-Sandoval, Fresno State’s provost and vice president for Academic Affairs. “Our regions share many environmental challenges. This union opens the door to unprecedented opportunities to join forces and collaborate on pursuing transformational solutions.”

A Fresno State delegation consisting of Jiménez-Sandoval; Dr. Scott Moore, dean of the Division of Continuing and Global Education; and Dr. Dennis Nef, dean of the Jordan College of Agricultural Sciences and Technology, will travel to India in December for the Progressive Punjab Investors’ Summit. 

The 1,000-acre University Agricultural Laboratory at Fresno State features 22 enterprises that include wine, table and raisin grape vineyards, vegetable and field crops, fruit and nut trees and dairy, beef, pork, poultry, sheep and horticulture units.

The Jordan College’s curriculum also includes seven departments and three research centers – the California Water Institute, the Institute for Food and Agriculture and the Viticulture and Enology Research Center.

The signing ceremony will be followed by a reception.