A Santa Maria couple has agreed to donate a 450-acre avocado and lemon ranch in southern San Luis Obispo County valued at $11.3 million to Cal Poly San Luis Obispo.
Stuart “Stu” and Jan Bartleson and university officials made the announcement at a press conference held at Bartleson Ranch on Los Berros Road, three miles south of Arroyo Grande.
The donation of a working and income-producing avocado and lemon ranch increases Cal Poly’s agricultural land holdings to more than 10,000 acres, including the 6,000 acres adjacent to the San Luis Obispo campus, and the 3,200-acre Swanton Pacific Ranch and 600-acre Valencia property, both in Santa Cruz County.
“We are extremely grateful for this donation and its far-reaching potential for future generations of Cal Poly students,” said Cal Poly President Jeffrey D. Armstrong.
The donation will vastly expand the 11 acres of lemons and 15 acres of avocados already growing on campus. Both crops are used to enhance students’ educational experience. The new ranch has 104 acres of avocados and 131 acres of lemons.
“The Bartlesons’ generosity will enable longer-term research projects, provide numerous internship opportunities for students and facilitate income-producing industry partnerships for the college,” said Andrew Thulin, dean of the Cal Poly College of Agriculture, Food & Environmental Sciences.
Bartleson said he was thrilled at the possibility of donating the land to Cal Poly.
“It’s exciting to think about this being kept as ag land and carrying our name in perpetuity,” he said. “I’m also excited to think that the ranch will help prepare today’s students to become tomorrow’s ag industry leaders.”