Grant money for agriculture research coming to Cal Poly

By Larissa Castanon

As part of the Agricultural Researching Initiative, Cal Poly
will receive approximately $153,000 from the United States
Department of Agriculture in order to support agriculture-related
research.The ARI is a state-funded research program among the four
CSU campuses that have a college of agriculture: CSU Fresno, Cal
Poly San Luis Obispo, Cal Poly Pomona and CSU Chico.”It’s open to
anybody in any discipline that would like to do agricultural
research, anything that you can think of that might affect
California agriculture,” said David Still, the Agricultural
Research Initiative campus coordinator.The federal grant was the
third the campus has received in the last four years in the
agricultural field.Every dollar that the school receives will have
to be matched dollar for dollar with non-state funds. Still said
these funds often come from the National Science Foundation,
National Institutes of Health, foundations and some private
industry.”In order for us to use this money we need to find a cash
match,” Still said.Still said the campus has received a steady
amount of funding for several years from outside sources, which has
allowed agricultural research to continue, despite budget problems
elsewhere on campus.”Science is expensive; this initiative is
extremely important,” said Anthony Lacasella, a lab assistant who
is a Cal Poly alumnus.Lascasella said without the federal aid his
research and employment would be jeopardized. The funding provides
him opportunities for work.ARI research is intended to improve
public health and safety as well as resolve environmental
issues.Still’s research is aimed at trying to improve the
nutritional content of lettuce. “We have some types [of lettuce]
that have lots of nutrition and some that don’t and we try to
figure out why that is,” Still said. He said the new funding will
allow for the purchase of equipment used to further study the
genetic characteristics of plants.”With some of the funds that have
become available through ARI, we are installing a new instrument
that will allow us to do genotyping,” Still said.Because
agriculture has not always been an environmentally friendly
activity, some of the research will go toward resolving
sustainability issues such as air and water quality,
transportation, and greenhouse gas emissions. “Agriculture has been
forced to develop things that are more benign to the environment,”
Still said.Andrea Struve, ARI administrative support coordinator,
said the money the school has received has already been put to
productive use. This Thursday there will be a showcase of student
research projects at the Agriscapes building from 3 p.m. to 6
p.m.”All of the research projects that will be presented by the
students next week were funded by the ARI,” Struve said.Still said
the research made possible by this funding can also have political
implications.”If you provide the research to the legislators, then
the law should actually be based on the results of your data, as
opposed to political consideration,” he said.

Grant money for agriculture research coming to Cal Poly

Marcie Heacox/Poly Post

Grant money for agriculture research coming to Cal Poly

Grant money for agriculture research coming to Cal Poly

Marcie Heacox/Poly Post

Grant money for agriculture research coming to Cal Poly

Grant money for agriculture research coming to Cal Poly

Marcie Heacox/Poly Post

Grant money for agriculture research coming to Cal Poly

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