Don B. Huntley College of Agriculture

Westwind Ranch Crop Research Project (RFP)

Request for Technical Assistance for Westwind Ranch Crop Research Project (RFP)

 

The Cal Poly Pomona Department of Plant Science is requesting the establishment of a public/private partnership for technical assistance for growing produce on the Westwind Ranch, located in Chino, Calif. The successful applicant for this partnership will work in conjunction with the plant science department to design and install a production and research study that will provide us with information about new and alternative crops that be produced on the Westwind Ranch.

Project leaders:

Dave Matias, Cal Poly Pomona Farm Manager,

Adam Mason. Cal Poly Pomona Assistant Farm Manager

Valerie Mellano. Plant Science Department Professor and Chair

Katie Horvath, Agribusiness Management Department Lecturer

Introduction:  The successful applicant for this RFP will assist in designing and installing a production and research study that will provide CPP with information about new and alternative crops that can be produced at Westwind Ranch in Chino, CA.  The successful applicant will have access of up to 20 acres on land throughout the year contract period to use for research, production and experimentation of plants that can be grown.  The successful applicant will need to arrive at a contract agreement that has the approval of the Cal Poly Pomona Foundation.  The contract details will include payment from the company to CPP for access to the land. 

Currently we grow forage and hay crops that we utilize for our animal unit, or that we sell to local dairies. In addition, we grow pumpkins on a short-term basis for our campus-based Pumpkin Festival. Proceeds from these crops fund our farming operations overall in the College of Agriculture at Cal Poly Pomona.

We are proposing that we plant a nitrogen fixing vegetable crop on the property during the 2016-2017 growing seasons.  In this process, we are looking to not only plant crops that bring in more revenue, but that provide us with soil building capacity and nitrogen fixation for future crop rotation purposes.

This project will be student driven, and include both graduate and undergraduate students in data collection.  The following data will be collected:

  1. Cost of production:
    • Cost of materials, including seed, irrigation equipment, fertilizer materials, labor to plant, labor to harvest, pest management, marketing costs
  2. Pest monitoring: 
    • Pests will be monitored throughout the growing season to determine if pests present in the area or that the crop will bring in that will be detrimental to the crop. 
    • Also noted will be the activity of any naturally occurring biological control agents
  3. Soil-building capacity: 
    • Soil testing will be conducted prior to planting to determine the existing nutrient levels and soil nutrient levels after the crop is harvested.
    • Any soil nutrient (primarily nitrogen) increase will be noted and taken into consideration when choosing the crop to follow and any fertilizer applications associated with future crops.  The intent is to minimize water quality issues by providing nitrogen and other nutrients in a slow-release form, preferably from a leguminous, nitrogen fixing source that will also add organic matter to the soil.
  4. Seasonal appropriateness:  Since Westwind Ranch is seasonally both colder and hotter than where we grow at Cal Poly, we will determine if there is a better season for growth of this crop or if we will be able to produce all year round.
  5. Marketing information: Potential marketing opportunities will be examined and revenue from both will be determined.
    • On-campus retail, Farm Store
    • Off campus retail, such as farmers’ markets
    • Wholesale to grocery chains
    • Canneries       

Proposals regarding the technical assistance which can be provided should not exceed 3 pages.  It should include a budget that will be paid to CPP and acres which would be needed to reasonably and efficiently conduct this study.  The successful applicant will provide implements for planting and harvesting the crop that is selected for growing trials.  It is assumed it will be green beans, but it is possible that other plants may also be suitable for the terrain and climate.

Include the following:

  • Background and expertise of applicant
  • Proposed project (acreage needed) and other inputs to successfully implement project
  • Proof of appropriate insurance, certifications,
  • Budget
  • Contact Information

Proposals are due 15 business days from initial posting. (5/17/16) due 6/8/16.

The successful applicant will need to arrive at a contract agreement that has the approval of the Cal Poly Pomona Foundation.

For more information contact Dr. Valerie Mellano at (909) 869-2809 or email at: vjmellano@cpp.edu.