Sierra Nevada Brewing Company donates $88,000 to University Farm Meats Laboratory

Jul 7, 2009
by WLJ

An $88,000 donation from Sierra Nevada Brewing Company will enhance the handson learning opportunities at California State University (CSU), Chico’s Paul L. Byrne Agricultural Teaching and Research Center, commonly called the University Farm, by providing funding to purchase a smokehouse oven and sausage-making equipment for the Meats Laboratory. The donation will allow the University Farm to further develop its line of smoked sausages which are served at the Sierra Nevada Restaurant and Taproom and sold to the public at the University Farm.

“Sierra Nevada continues to demonstrate its incredible commitment to handson learning here at the University Farm,” said Meats Laboratory Technician Randy Long, who was instrumental in working with Sierra Nevada to secure the donation.

The College of Agriculture began partnering with Sierra Nevada Brewing Company in 2003 through a project where students manage Sierra Nevada’s cattle at the University Farm, feeding spent brewer’s grains to the cattle. The University Farm Meats Laboratory processes the livestock, and the beef is served on the Sierra Nevada restaurant menu. “This partnership has given our students experience in the entire production cycle, from raising and feeding the livestock to processing and marketing the beef,” said Dave Daley, associate dean and farm administrator. “I can’t think of a better way for students to learn about a progressive, sustainable, consumer-driven business model in agriculture.”

The Meats Laboratory at the University Farm is a USDA-inspected facility and is fully integrated into the animal science curriculum offered in the College of Agriculture. In recent years, student employees at the Meats Laboratory have competed successfully in the processed meats competition at the California Association of Meat Processors’ meetings using skills gained through making processed meat products for Sierra Nevada.

The new processing equipment will be custom-built for the University Farm and is expected to be installed in the fall.

The Agricultural Teaching and Research Center was established in 1960 through the efforts of its namesake, Sen. Paul L. Byrne. By participating in class labs and working as part-time employees, thousands of students have benefitted from the University Farm located on Hegan Lane, five miles south of the CSU, Chico campus. Farmers and ranchers benefit from research conducted on the farm, and the farm’s produce and meat are sold in the Chico community. The farm annually hosts thousands of school children, as well as professional seminars and Future Farmers of America and 4-H field days.

For more information about the University Farm, please contact Farm Administrator Dave Daley at 530/898-6343. — WLJ