Author Archives: Annie Hamilton

USDA-Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Project

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USDA-Beginning Farmer and Rancher

Development Project

NCAT is working in collaboration with the University of California Berkeley and other partners on a USDA Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Project (BFRDP). This summer we have been organizing and planning many different workshops throughout Northern California and the Bay Area, along with providing technical assistance and training to beginning farmers and ranchers.



Latest BFRDP Grower Meeting:
On July 13, NCAT staffers Thea Rittenhouse and Rex Dufour met with three Bhutanese beginning farmers and Liya Schwartman of California Farmlink to support this group’s efforts to get a farm lease and develop a cropping plan and a realistic business plan.  Also attending was beginning farmer Khalid Berny, who is in discussion with the Bhutanese about leasing land on his farm. This kind of small group or one-on-one technical assistance is made possible by USDA’s BFRDP program.

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Bhutanese farmers discuss acquiring land at the BFRDP meeting July 13. Left to right: Abir, Ram, Hom,


September NCAT BFRDP workshop events:


Practical Ecological Pest Management

September 2, 6- 7:30 p.m.

ALBA – 1700 Old Stage Road, Salinas, CA

Instructor: Ann Baier, NCAT

Contact: Nathan Harkleroad


Business Planning (5 part series)

September 23 and October 7, 14, 21, and 28, 5:30-8:30 p.m.

Soil Born Farms – 2140 Chase Drive, Rancho Cordova, CA 95670

Instructor: Thea Rittenhouse, NCAT

Contact: Clara Villalobos Andino



A Message From The Western Regional Office Director Rex Dufour

It’s always busy in NCAT’s Western Regional office, but spring and summer are perhaps busier times because farmers are preparing to plant, planting, and then managing their crops in the fourth year of drought in California. We provide information about how to deal with these challenging circumstances through workshops, free phone consultation, and the ATTRA website.… Continue Reading

Meet Ann Baier!

Meet Ann Baier!

    As a Sustainable and Organic Agriculture Specialist with NCAT in California, Ann Baier answers farmer and rancher questions and facilitates practical workshops. After earning a bachelor’s degree in biology from Lewis and Clark College, Ann completed her master’s in International Agricultural Development at the University of California at Davis in 1990 with a… Continue Reading

The Buzzing Struggles Almond Growers Face  

The Buzzing Struggles Almond Growers Face  

In our work with almond growers in Stanislaus and Merced Counties, we’ve met several almond growers who are attempting to raise bees in order to decrease the money they spend on hive rental, which can be between $150-200 per hive, and two hives are recommended per acre of almonds.  Even for a small orchard of… Continue Reading