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Chico State

CSU, Chico Establishes Center for Regenerative Agriculture and Resilient Systems

Cindy Daley and two students crouch in a field of grass holding piles of soil in their hands.
Jason Halley / University Photographer

Cindy Daley (center) shows the soil conditions to animal Science majors Kate Carlson, 22 (left) and Clint Lundell, 24 (right) in the dairy cows pasture at the University Farm that is developing regenerative soil program that makes efforts for sustainability farming possible on Wednesday, June 14, 2017 in Chico, Calif. (Jason Halley/University Photographer)

California State University, Chico has long been a pioneer in the field of sustainability and a leader within agricultural education. Now, these two priorities will merge, with the establishment of the Center for Regenerative Agriculture and Resilient Systems.

President Gayle Hutchinson formally approved the proposal Thursday, after it was unanimously endorsed by the Academic Senate in late April.

“With the innovative and passionate spirit of our faculty, and the generous support of donors, we are taking a forward-thinking concept and becoming leaders for an agricultural future that is sustainable and resilient,” Hutchinson said. “We know there is no alternative to restoring and enhancing the foundation of our life here on Earth, and I look forward to witnessing the Center’s developments and progress in the months and years to come.”

Led by Director Cindy Daley, the Center is supported by a dynamic team of faculty and staff who will promote regenerative farming practices to reduce greenhouse gasses, build topsoil, restore soil resiliency, increase the sustainability of farms and ranches, and address food and water insecurity. Together, they will address climate change while enhancing the farming and ranching communities of the North State and beyond.

“Agriculture is uniquely poised to provide an economically feasible, ready-to-roll solution to atmospheric CO2 levels and the devastating impacts of global warming,” Daley said. “It’s a new age. We have to be able to prepare farmers and our future farmers with the skills they need in order to meet the needs of the world. We all need to become very conscious of our soil, our soil resources, and how we build soil biology. And that’s what the Center is all about.”

The Center is an interdisciplinary partnership supported by the College of Agriculture, College of Natural Sciences, and College of Communication and Education. Through it, the University will be offering degree programs in the field of regenerative science and agriculture, investing in research at the University Farm, and create engaging curriculum across disciplines. The Center’s strategic priorities are to:

  • Transform agricultural and urban landscapes through regenerative practices
  • Promote policy that advances food systems, sequesters carbon and reduces carbon emissions, creates food security and revitalizes landscapes
  • Address issues of drought and water and soil quality degradation
  • Create a collaborative network of applied research, learning centers, and demonstration sites with partnering farms and universities
  • Create interdisciplinary experiential learning opportunities
  • Create venues and communication platforms that foster open dialogue, discourse and dissemination
  • Forge national and international collaborations focused on best management practices that can reverse the effects of climate change and soil loss

The Center also focuses on continuing education for the agricultural community and the public. Through its beginnings as the Regenerative Agriculture Initiative, it has hosted several events over the last two years, ranging from soil health workshops and a flax field day to the This Way to Sustainability Conference. From June 24-25, a workshop on cover crops and soil health will be held at University Farm, led by soil ecologist and cover crop specialist Christine Jones. For more details or to register, visit