July 30, 2015

Contact: Stuart Styles
805-756-2429; sstyles@calpoly.edu

Cal Poly Providing Innovative Solutions for Agriculture During Record Drought

SAN LUIS OBISPO — With funding from the state of California, Cal Poly’s Irrigation Training & Research Center (ITRC) has embarked on a training a program intended to help the agriculture industry combat the economic and employment impacts of the current drought.

Last summer, the state Employment Training Panel (ETP) approved its first drought project – the Rapid Employment Strategy Pilot on Natural Disasters (RESPOND) program — using funds approved by the Legislature and awarded to the ITRC.

With the funding, the ITRC provides training for equipment manufacturers and dealers, agricultural operators, farm management companies, irrigation system specialists, water management software companies, water districts, and utility companies in counties most severely impacted by the drought. The training offers a variety of basic and advanced courses for professionals to update their technical skills and gain exposure to new advances in irrigation technology. Training courses take place at the ITRC’s Cal Poly facilities.

One year into the program, the ITRC has completed the first half of the classes in which more than 266 professionals participated in 25 classes and logged more than 6,300 hours of training. Course subjects included flow measurement, irrigation scheduling, drip irrigation design, chemigation, pumps and distribution uniformity.

The ITRC launched its second round of classes July 28 to help the irrigation community continue to deal with the drought. Information on upcoming classes can be found at www.itrc.org under ITRC Classes.

About Cal Poly’s Irrigation Training & Research Center
The ITRC is housed within Cal Poly’s College of Agriculture, Food & Environmental Sciences’ BioResource & Agricultural Engineering Department. The ITRC was formed in 1989 and continues to be self-supporting through contracts. Its work is comprised of approximately 65 percent direct technical assistance, 15 percent training, and 20 percent research via both government and industry contracts. The ITRC is led by its founder, Chairman Charles Burt, and Director Stuart Styles, both of whom are internationally recognized irrigation experts.

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