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Couple gifts ag land to Cal Poly

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A Santa Maria couple donated a massive plot of agricultural land worth millions of dollars to Cal Poly June 8.

Thanks to Stuart “Stu” and Jan Bartleson, the college now owns a 450-acre tract of land at Bartleson Ranch on Los Berros Road about 3 miles south of Arroyo Grande. The land is a working avocado and lemon ranch and was valued at more than $11.3 million, according to university officials.

“It’s exciting to think about this being kept as ag land and carrying our name in perpetuity,” Stu said in a press release. “I’m also excited to think that the ranch will help prepare today’s students to become tomorrow’s ag industry leaders.”

The Bartlesons’ gift is one of the largest land donations in Cal Poly’s history, and increased the school’s agricultural land holdings to an estimated 10,000 acres. Andrew Thulin, dean of the Cal Poly College of Agriculture, Food, and Environmental Sciences, said in the release that the donation would allow students to continue long-term research projects and offered the potential for industry partnerships.

“While the core of our hands-on, learn by doing education will still take place on campus, I’m excited about the opportunities this provides for expanding the learning and research programs for our students, faculty, and staff,” Thulin said.

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