Agriculture Tech degree launches at Cabrillo College

A horticulture student works inside one of Cabrillo College's educational greenhouses. (Contributed Photo)

APTOS—Cabrillo College has announced the launch of a new Associate of Science degree in Sustainable Agriculture Technology.

Cabrillo’s Horticulture department has refurbished 3,000 square feet of greenhouse space with LED lighting from LumiGrow, built a new 2,000-square-foot greenhouse with state of the art solar panel technology from Soliculture of Scotts Valley, and built an indoor, vertical farm with the help of the Construction and Energy Management department, all to support the curriculum for the new Ag Tech degree.

Cabrillo is geographically located between the technology juggernaut of the Silicon Valley and two of the most important food production regions of the world: the Pajaro and Salinas Valleys. Thus, the college has a unique opportunity to play an important role in the development of the agricultural technology industry and provide holistic education and relevant training for the labor market demands that this emerging industry needs.

This interdisciplinary degree is housed within the Horticulture department and includes core curriculum from six departments including: How Things Work in Engineering, Technology Tools in Computer Science, Introduction to Geographic Information Systems in Geography, Computer Network Fundamentals in Computer and Information Systems, Excel in Computer Applications/Business Technology and many classes in Horticulture including Greenhouse Design and Operation, Irrigation Systems and Management, Hydroponic and Substrate Production and more.

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ABOVE: Students at Cabrillo College will now be offered a degree in agriculture technology, which will include classes of everything from GIS/GPS to water conservation. (Contributed Photo)

The Sustainable Agriculture Technology degree is designed to prepare students for a career in the emerging agriculture technology industry. The course of study will cover all aspects of technology and horticultural study including hydroponics, aquaponics, organic substrate production, GIS/GPS, water and energy conservation, managing data in spreadsheets, computing, and connecting technology tools and data streams on farms. Students will finish this degree program prepared for careers as precision agriculture technicians, greenhouse managers, hydroponic growers, farmers, ranch or operations managers, first line supervisors for agriculture and horticulture industries, and biological technicians, among others. This program is designed for those wishing to go directly into employment in the agriculture, horticulture, and ag tech industries. Students wishing to transfer into four-year programs can study in the Horticulture department with the Agriculture Plant Science Associate of Science degree for Transfer (AS-T).

The financial support to create this degree, revise curriculum, build instructional infrastructure, and provide student support services has been funded by United States Department of Education Title III, Hispanic Serving Institution, Science, Technology, Engineering, Math and Articulation grant award number P031C160032, locally titled, “Sustainability in STEM” and awarded to Cabrillo College for work between 2016-2021.

If interested in being a community partner for one of Cabrillo’s Ag Tech classes’ research or service learning projects or in advertising your internships or jobs to Cabrillo Ag Tech students, email Sarah Hulick at [email protected]

For information, visit www.cabrillo.edu/academics/horticulture/agtech.html.

(NOTE: This article was contributed to the Register-Pajaronian by Sarah Hulick, an Agriculture Technology Specialist at Cabrillo College.)