Hartnell College in Salinas, California sits in the heart of one the most productive and high-value farming regions of the world. As a former agribusiness professor at Cal Poly University in San Luis Obispo, California, I recall Hartnell College as one of the premier agricultural community colleges in the Western US.
In the last few years Hartnell, through its Agricultural Business & Technology Institute (ABTI), has been building on its reputation and core capabilities as an innovative agricultural technology center. I am honored and privileged to be working with ABTI to develop a strategic plan for the future of Hartnell’s agribusiness program. With so much change in the farming industry today, Dr. Willard Lewallen, Hartnell’s President, has directed that a long term strategic plan for ABTI is essential to meet the future talent needs of the food and agribusiness industry of the future. For next several months stakeholders in the farming industry, along with faculty and community leaders, will be providing important input to this plan in order to meet the needs of both the farmers and students for the high tech jobs that agribusiness will need to fill.
Being so close to Silicon Valley ABTI has emphasized technology in its educational programs. Students are learning how to use technology in today’s farm production – right in the field. The college’s program, “CS in 3” (a four year computer science degree in three years) has earned national recognition. A recent TV report on the PBS NewsHour Program shows what is going on with new technology adoption and how Hartnell College has responded to the needs of both students and farmers. Very exciting! Click on the link and take a look: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3rhUpIWyD4g