Merced student awarded $2,500 scholarship to study organic agriculture

08/05/2014 6:50 PM

08/05/2014 6:51 PM

Philip Fagundes from Merced is one of four students nationwide to be awarded a $2,500 college scholarship to further his education in organic agriculture.

Fagundes, 21, due to graduate from California State University, Fresno, next spring with an agriculture business degree, won a 2014 Horizon Organic Producer Education scholarship, which is awarded to deserving students who are children or grandchildren of Horizon Organic’s more than 600 family farmers.

Horizon Organic is the first national organic dairy brand to offer a scholarship program designed to build the next generation of organic leaders. Fagundes is a two-time recipient of the scholarship.

Fagundes said organic horticulture involves raising cattle without antibiotics and not using pesticides while farming. After graduating, he said he will return to work on the Merced area dairy where he has worked since he was a child.

“The organic approach is definitely working,” Fagundes said. “The public’s tastes are moving forward; they like natural foods, especially in the bigger cities.”

Fagundes is the son of Horizon farmer Ralph Fagundes, who owns and operates Fagundes Brothers Dairy with his brothers in Atwater.

“I want to use my research skills to develop better methods of organic farming and educate people on why organic is an important part of the dairy world,” Fagundes said.

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