By Michelle Borges
Raised by farming parents in Salinas, “the salad bowl of the world”, Jesus Barba was surrounded by farming on a daily basis but did not pay much attention to it. His academics also lacked focus, as he struggled in high school and often found himself kicked out of class.
But then a teacher at Everett Alvarez High School in Salinas encouraged him to join Future Farmers of America and mentored him as he attempted a series of experiments to explore possible careers. Raising lambs and pigs, judging horticulture and participating in public speaking competitions is where Barba found his passion and his path to a college degree.
“Agriculture has always been around my family, in the sense that they have always worked the fields,” he said. “I want to stop this trend and be the one inside the company and not the one on the ground picking up the products.”
In addition to a host of crop and animal related projects, Barba has also taken business-related courses in the Agriculture program, where he followed local businesses and chaired fundraising activities.
“These experiences made me feel like this was my place, and I decided to take a leap of faith and carry on! ” he said.
This month Barba, a first generation college student, will graduate summa cum laude with a degree in agricultural business, sowing a seed for even greater success.
“It’s amazing and fulfilling,” he said. “My parents didn’t have the opportunity to continue their education – they only passed in fifth grade – so being able to get my baccalaureate is a great accomplishment. I was able to make them proud and show them that the hard work and the struggle is worth taking. “
It was during a college visit organized by a high school in the state of Chico that Barba fell in love with nature on campus, the surrounding environment and a sense of community. Two of its high school agriculture teachers were also former students of Chico State with great approval for its programs.
“All the trees were beautiful, the weather was perfect, and I felt stress relieved while visiting the campus due to the environmental vibe the campus created. I also wanted to explore the different types of farming in Northern California through my potential courses and internships, ”said Barba.
Barba illustrated his academic success by obtaining recognition from the Dean’s List every semester. He was also the student representative on the Dean’s Research Committee of the College of Agriculture this semester, and a teaching assistant for agricultural ecology with Professor Richard Rosecrance.
Barba enjoys working with all of the college faculty, he said, noting that he is in touch with each of his professors and appreciates the knowledge and diversity they bring to his studies. He loves learning new subjects and being exposed to real world content, such as issues facing agriculture. Understanding concepts like water issues and climate change exposed him to what needs to be done for the future of agriculture.
One of her favorite memories was attending the Produce Marketing Association Show with Professor Marnie Dalton in Monterey. This exhibition was about networking with industry professionals and learning about the culture of the fruit and vegetable industry.
“It was amazing to see what the agriculture industry really is. I was able to learn so much about the industry, ”said Barba, noting that before college he really only knew the products, but now has confidence in orchards and cattle.
Professor Christine Carroll is Barba’s academic advisor. He appreciates her teaching style because she focuses on the learning aspect more than the grade itself. Barba said he thinks Carroll really cares about students’ success as well as their understanding of the material in the classroom, and the appreciation is mutual.
“Jesus is an extremely intelligent student who always goes above and beyond every topic and every task. He excels in the classroom and is truly dedicated to the agriculture industry, ”Carroll said.
Barba is delighted to start his career in the agricultural industry. His future plans are to continue his education by pursuing a master’s degree and maybe even a doctoral or MBA program over the next few years. Once he has acquired enough experience in this field, he plans to start his own business in the field of agriculture. This summer, he will continue to work in the agricultural industry as he prepares to apply for graduate studies.
Much like his experiences in high school, those in classrooms in Chico State, and his studies of almonds and nuts on the college farm, Barba said he was convinced that continuing to work in the field would open up for him. eyes on opportunities he didn’t even know about as much as possible.
“This chapter of my life has really taught me that hard work and struggle is worth taking,” he said. “I am so grateful for the experience I gained at the College of Ag and for the welcoming environment that Chico State brings to its students. Without it, I wouldn’t have pushed myself as much as I did. The person I am today is because of Chico State.
Michelle Borges is a public relations intern and a senator student at the College of Agriculture. She is majoring in Agriculture, with an option in Agricultural Science and Education, and a minor in Agricultural Affairs and Journalism.