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Ag One Foundation

August 2019 E-News

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Save the date for the 2019 Community Salute honoring the Parnagian Family

Save the date for the 2019 Ag One Community Salute honoring the Parnagian Family. We are delighted to honor brothers Dennis, Ken, Randy and Philip, their Uncle Pete and Cousin Jim. They are champions of agriculture and of our communities. We hope you will join us in celebrating their many achievements. This year's Community Salute will be held on November 22, 2019 at the Fresno Convention center and Exhibit Hall. The social begins at 6 p.m., followed by dinner at 7 p.m. To learn more please visit our website.



Last chance to purchase BBQ tickets!

It’s hard to believe that this year marks the 42nd annual Ag Boosters BBQ! We have been fortunate that for over the last 42 years the BBQ has helped countless young men and women pursue a college education. In fact, the BBQ has raised over $1 million! Our committee has been busy planning an enjoyable evening for you and other industry representatives from throughout the Valley while raising support for higher education through Ag One at Fresno State and California Women for Agriculture (CWA). For the 13th year in a row, Mark and Peggy Borba have generously opened up Borba Ranch for us. This year’s BBQ will be held on Sunday, September 8. Gates open at 4 p.m, followed by dinner at 5:30 p.m. To purchase your tickets click here.


David Hill Birdhouse

In Memory of David Hill

In July, Ag One and the Jordan College lost a dear friend, David Hill. Among his many contributions, David, a Fresno State alumnus, would construct beautiful and unique birdhouses every year and donate them to the Ag One Foundation to auction at the Ag Boosters BBQ. David enjoyed building birdhouses as a hobby and donating them to local fundraisers. This year at the BBQ, we will auction one of the last ones David made. This unique Americana art piece took 80 hours to finish and is fashioned with artifacts, jewelry and collectibles that were gathered from farms, ranches and local antique stores. In addition to all the interesting items on the birdhouse, there are several cats hidden on the outside of it — 22 to be exact. The cats are great fun for both children and adults to look for and find. Ag One appreciates the time and commitment David spent on this beautiful piece of art as well as all the others he donated throughout the years.


Summer Endowments

 Summer 2019 Endowments Established

This summer, Ag One has established a number of endowments to provide support to the Jordan College programs and students. In June, the Bryan Anthony Memorial Scholarship, Shirley Harnish Brinker Quasi Endowment, Matoian Family Farms Endowment and Karen Morais Memorial Endowment were all created. These funds will help make tremendous impacts in the areas the donors wanted their endowment to support. The Bryan Anthony Memorial Scholarship supports students pursuing a master of science degree in viticulture and enology in the Jordan College. The Shirley Harnish Brinker Quasi Endowment, Matoian Family Farms Endowment and the Karen Morias Endowment all provide financial support to the University Agricultural Laboratory. We cannot thank our donors enough for the support they have provided to the college. Additional information on donating to our endowments is available online.


Livestock camp

Fresno State Livestock Judging host three successful camps!

The Fresno State Livestock Judging Program hosted three youth camps over the summer. These camps were open to students off all ages and experience levels. The first camp was May 31 through June 2; this camp had 32 students in attendance. The second camp was held August 2 through August 4, and had 52 students attend. The students came from California, Arizona, Nevada and Oregon. These first two camps were three days and students stayed in the dorms on campus during the event. The third camp that Fresno State offered was a one-day event that occurred on Sunday, August 4. This camp was open to students of all ages, and there were 10 individuals that attended. This camp series was a huge success in large part because of all the community support. The Fresno State Livestock Judging Program would like to thank the following sponsors: Associated Feeds, No Limit Genetics, Small Town Genetics, Brem Livestock, O.H. Kruse, Modesto Junior College, Superior Lamb Alltech, and Sierra Nevada Farms. If you are interested in competing in the camp next year, the tentative dates for the 2020 summer camps will be August 6–9 . Be sure to follow the Facebook pages, “Fresno State Livestock Judging Team” and “Red Wave Classic Show, Sale and Camp” to keep up with future events. If you are interested in supporting the livestock judging team, click here.


Kids Camp

Jordan College Summer Kids Camp sells out in one minute!

This summer in June, the Jordan College's Ornamental Horticulture Unit hosted 30 children from the Central Valley on the University's 1,000 acre farm — and it sold out in one minute! The 30 children were able to expand their knowledge about where their food comes from by participating in hands-on learning experiences such as helping bottle feed calves at the Dairy Unit and interacting with Fresno State agriculture students and staff. The camp was made possible by gracious donors such as Gar Tootelian, Wonderful Orchards and CA Certified Organic Farmers. If you are interested in signing your child up or know a child wanting to participate in the unique camp, please contact for more information.


Dean Nef

Meet the dean, Dr. Dennis Nef

I am excited to be back in the Jordan College. As you may know, I came to Fresno State as an agricultural economist in 1983, just four years after Ag One was founded. In those days, Kesterson Reservoir was big news and I spent considerable time on the west side estimating the economic impacts expected from alternative policy scenarios. I did some work modeling PGE rate structures and eventually looked at the costs of maintaining land in agriculture. The latter grew out of my involvement with a Fresno County land use task force. Vernon Conrad appointed me to the Fresno County Agricultural Land Conservation Commission—which considers Williamson Act cancellations—and I’ve sat on that ever since. Besides teaching classes and conducting research, I served as chair of the Agricultural Economics Department, associate dean of the college and even interim dean for one semester in 1997. I left the college 16 years ago to serve in various positions at the University, eventually serving as vice provost and on the president’s cabinet. I was surprised when the opportunity was extended to return to Jordan College, but it has been enjoyable rekindling old working relationships and making new friends.

The first dean of the college was hired in 1947. There have been five more in the 72 years since then. It is shocking for me to realize that I have been here for half the life of the college and known five of the six deans. I thank Dean Sandra Witte for her outstanding service. Sandy and I have known and worked together for many years and I admire what she has done as dean. My commitment to the president is to build on the legacy she leaves and prepare for the future. I believe that the college is on an upward trajectory in many ways and I hope to continue and even accelerate the rate of incline. My goals, and to a great extent my charge from the president, are in three broad areas: student success, efficient operations, and broadening/deepening relationships. Ag One has been very helpful in all three of these areas in the past and I look forward to working with the board and the individual members to make a difference in the lives of our students, faculty, staff, alumni, friends, and our communities. I welcome comments at any time (email me at, call me on my direct line 559.278.9121).


Nut Processing lab

Donors help the Jordan College start a new nut processing lab

The Jordan College recently received new state-of-the-art nut processing equipment to help establish a new laboratory. The equipment will provide industrial technology, food science and plant science students with hands-on instruction using technologically advanced equipment that is utilized in a rapidly growing industry. Additionally, this equipment will complement a newly developed introductory tree nut processing course, which will be a one-of-a-kind learning opportunity for students in California. The nut industry is one of the top recognized agricultural drivers of California, with almonds, pistachios and walnuts in the top 10 commodities each year. The Central Valley is not only at the center of this production, but it’s also at the center of the job opportunities. We look forward to seeing the impact the new nut processing lab makes on our students, college and community.



Meet PureFresh Sales owner Bill Purewal, Ag One president

When Balvinder “Bill” Purewal wakes up every morning, the new Fresno State Ag One Foundation president looks out over a beautiful sunrise on the 40-acre ranch near Selma that has tied his family together for three generations. But his vision spreads beyond the family farm. The 1998 Fresno State agricultural business graduate works around the clock with clients across North America and other continents as owner of PureFresh Sales the past 14 years. The produce marketing company offers services for a variety of fruit commodities ranging from stone fruit like peaches, plums, nectarines and apricots to cherries, figs, kiwis, persimmons and other specialty produce. Over the next 11 months, Purewal will return the favor as president of Ag One by helping to plan fundraising and outreach events to raise money for students and programs in the Jordan College of Agricultural Sciences and Technology. “The biggest beneficiaries are the students who get to connect with the industry and learn about exciting and important careers and receive scholarships,” said Purewal. “I have two children who are looking at college right now, and I know how important those considerations are. This organization is vital to showing how we’re all invested together in the success of the community, the agricultural industry, and our future.” Read More


Dean Witte

Come celebrate Dean Witte and her recent retirement!

Dr. Sandra Witte served the University for 38 years in various capacities. She was named the Jordan College dean in March 2016 after assuming the role of interim dean in December 2014. Since then, new community and industry partnerships have enhanced scholarships, internships, career placement, advisory boards, research support and student recruitment. Students, staff and faculty have also benefited from key renovations to the food science and nutrition laboratory and mechanized agriculture laboratory among other facility enhancements. The campus also celebrated the opening of the $24 million Jordan Agricultural Research Center in May 2016 and the opening of the Bee Sweet Citrus Fresh Fruit Packing Line in February 2017. Witte oversaw the 1,000-acre University Agricultural Laboratory, including the hiring of its current farm manager, Gibson Farm Market manager and winemaker. They are among the staff who manage 22 campus farm enterprises that employ student workers and are used for classes, research and public tours. We cannot thank Dr. Witte enough for the support she has given to the Jordan College, join us in celebrating her retirement on September 18 at 4:30 p.m. in the Jordan Agricultural Research Center. RSVP HERE.


Travel Learn group

Fresno State's Travel-Learn Program visits the Azores

On June 17, a group of Fresno State alumni and friends along with President Castro, Provost Designate Dr. Saul Jimenez-Sandoval and Ag One Executive Director Alcidia Freitas Gomes traveled to the Azores for Fresno State’s Travel-Learn program. The 36 participants were welcomed to the Sao Miguel campus of the University of the Azores by Vice President Susana Leal. The group has spent time with faculty from the UAc learning about agriculture, ocean sciences and the geodynamic framework of the Azores. Angra do Heroismo Mayor Alamo Meneses provided the history of Portugal and the Azores plus welcomed the group to the Sanjoaninas festivities. The group met the four Jordan College students who are interning at agricultural businesses on the island of Terceira. They have been hosted by Atwater businessman and proud Azorean Manuel Eduardo Vieira on his birth island Pico. The group visited four of the nine islands enjoying the sights and tastes.


Jasmine Flores


Meet our Staff - Jasmine Flores, student assistant  

Jasmine is from Atwater, California where she was born and raised. She began her career at Fresno State in the fall of 2018. She is an agriculture education major currently working towards obtaining her bachelor of science degree. She plans on pursuing a career as a high school agriculture teacher after graduating from Fresno State. Jasmine joined the Ag One team in July of 2019.


Planting seeds of success...

  • Ag Business graduate Jesena Mattson - Olympic heptathlon hopeful. She has won numerous different championships and her goal is to make it to the 2020 Olympic trials and then hopefully the 2024 games in Paris.

  • Fresno State Spotlight: Food Science & Culinology Club, and visit by Institute of Food Technologists Membership Vice President Thomas Foley.
  • Welcome back students! Classes resumed on Wednesday, Aug. 21, with a projected enrollment of about 23,622 students for the University’s 109th academic year.

Important Dates calander

September 20          Top Dog Alumni Awards Gala - Jordan College                                                     Outstanding Alumnus, Helder Domingos

September 21          Livestock Judging Team Tailgate

October 17               PMA Fresh Summit - Ag One Social

October 19               Fall Fest at Gibson Market 

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