NCAT is a national organization comprised of five regional offices with headquarters in Butte, MT. NCAT collaborates with many government agencies and nonprofit organizations in the throughout the country, offering training and consultation on an array of topics relating to sustainability in agriculture. Established in 2001, the NCAT’s Western Office is located in Davis, California – It is a hub for our work throughout California, Nevada, Washington, Oregon, Hawaii, and Arizona. Our office staff are specialized in training, technical assistance, and support related to sustainable agriculture production, providing individual assistance to farmers and ranchers on a variety of topics. We are here to help farmers interested in sustainable agriculture and can provide support and resources on a range of issues including soil health, transition to organic farming, develop a marketing plan for your new farm business, integrate livestock or poultry into your farm business, need support decipher your soil test, find out about USDA cost share programs, need assistance with implementing CAP 138 plans, or someone to give advice on your cover crop rotation.
Western Regional Director
Rex Dufour has been with NCAT since 1994, and opened the California office for NCAT in 2001. The focus of his work is training agriculture professionals on organic practices and certification, ecological pest management, ecological soil management, and on-farm beneficial habitat. He has been trained by the International Organic Inspectors Association (IOIA)as an organic crop inspector, and is registered with Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) as a Technical Service Provider (TSP) in California and Nevada. Rex can speak Lao and Thai.
Ann is a sustainable agriculture specialist who has organized and led workshops for farmers and other agricultural professionals on topics such as organic regulations, the organic certification process, recordkeeping for crop and livestock producers, production of poultry on pasture, enterprise planning and business decision-making, and representation and labeling for market differentiation.
Ann has been an organic inspector for California Certified Organic Farmers (CCOF) and other organic certifiers since 2000. She served four years on the board of directors of the International Organic Inspectors Association (IOIA). She has helped develop organic system plan templates for CCOF, the Montana Department of Agriculture Organic Program, and USDA’s National Organic Program.
She holds a bachelor’s degree in biology from Lewis and Clark College and a master’s degree in international agriculture development with specialization in agronomy from the University of California-Davis. She has lived and worked with farmers in Central and South America and the Salinas Valley and Central Coast regions of California.
Omar Rodriguez is a Sustainable Agriculture Specialist in NCAT’s Western office. His background in international agricultural development has served as a useful resource in working with minority, Spanish speaking and other disadvantaged populations across California. His professional experience includes a two-year stint in the Peace Corps, plant science and climate change research, small scale farming, and farmer organizing. He sincerely appreciates any opportunity to work directly with farmers.
Jamie is a Sustainable Agriculture Specialist with NCAT. Jamie’s work focuses on project development, farmer outreach and education, and on-farm conservation planning with specific emphasis on improving soil health. She holds a MS in agriculture, food, and environment, and an MA in urban and environmental policy and planning from Tufts University. Jamie has experience in food system modeling, agriculture policy, soil health, water systems, and climate change mitigation.
Martin most recently served as the Integrated Pest Management Specialist with the city of Davis, California. He is also a licensed Pest Control Advisor and has experience as a teacher, farm manager and extension agent with the University of Arizona. Martin adds his technical writing and outreach experience to the NCAT team.
Current Projects at NCAT West:
-Latino Farmer Conference:
The LFC is a yearly conference that takes place in a different location each year. Workshops and content are developed with the help of a variety of stakeholders including farmers, government agencies, and private businesses. The Latino Farmer Conference is an all-Spanish language conference, it is designed this way in an effort to bridge one of the primary gaps that this demographic faces in accessing reliable information and resources.
-Healthy Soils Program: Technical Advisor (Funded by CDFA)
NCAT West is serving as technical advisors for the 2020 HSP application period. The Program offered through the CDFA provides funding to farmers who are interested in implementing sustainable practices on their farm. There are over 25 projects to choose from which include compost application, windbreaks, and hedgerows among many others. The maximum amount which will be paid over a two year period is $100,000. Per the agreement, it is the farmer’s responsibility to continue the selected practices on to the third year.
We can help farmers interested in the project with information and application assistance in English or Spanish.
Projected release of the application is Feb 2020; Projected due date is March 2020.
-EDF Orchards Alive:
This project would transform the bare ground commonly found below pecan orchards into a multi-benefit habitat site and a model for orchard management. Diverse plantings of cover crops will add life to the understory in these orchards which will include a mix of different species specifically designed to support native pollinators, or other beneficial insects (i.e. predatory species that help with pest control) This project is aimed at demonstrating the potential benefits to biodiversity of growing cover crops. We will be monitoring two specific pests (Black margined aphid and yellow pecan aphid) as well as changes in the density of predatory species which prey on aphid this population.
EDF Monarch Habitat:
Many of the insect species we depend on for their pollination, pest control, and recycling activities are some of the unintended casualties of the systems we have put in place to provide food for our growing population.
The Monarch butterfly is emblematic of many of the broader challenges we face as land stewards and protectors of the environment.
NCAT West is partnering with Environmental Defense Fund to establish native plants and milkweed in order to encourage monarchs along their yearly migration. The monarchs of North America are subdivided into two major populations, the Eastern and Western, which are separated by the Rocky Mountains. For this project we are focusing on the Western monarch which has suffered slightly greater losses than its Eastern cousin. Given that habitat destruction is one of the leading causes of the 98% drop in monarch numbers over the past thirty years, this project aims to bring farmers and land managers into the fold in order to address the challenge head on.
Together with several California farmers, we are working to plant hedgerows and fields of diverse native annuals and perennials. The addition of milkweed is one of the keys to creating habitat for our western monarchs. In addition to milkweed, adult butterflies also need diverse nectar sources in order to round out a healthy diet. Milkweed itself serves primarily as a nursery and food source for the monarch caterpillar. The plant itself contains a chemical cocktail which when ingested by the caterpillar, makes it unpleasant to would-be predators.
If you would like to learn more about hedgerows and the funding sources available to establish them on your farm, please contact NCATs Western office at 530-792-7338
-Partnership with CLBL – Developing Orchard Crops and Vineyard Management Apprenticeship Program to Train Beginning Farmers and a Skilled Workforce (Funded by: Specialty Crop Block Grant)
NCAT will collaborate with CLBL in developing curricula as well as technical informational materials in print, audio, and video formats to address the wide range of learning styles of participants in this project. NCAT will develop some of the print, audio and video materials in Spanish, and translate some materials into Spanish. NCAT will also provide face to face outreach about this project to appropriate groups and organizations in the cities listed above.
-UCD Pastured Poultry Beginning Farmer Rancher Development Project
In the latest iteration of an ongoing partnership with the International Rescue Committee, NCAT is developing a series of courses aimed at teaching fundamental gardening skills to a population of recent immigrants from Afghanistan, Iran, Korea, and Mexico.
During the period including 2020-2023 NCAT West will develop 3 day-long trainings for veteran farmers across the northern region of California. The project also includes a week-long Armed to Farm training which is to take place in the San Diego area. Please contact NCAT West for more information: 530-792-7338
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The Dirt E-Newsletter
See past issues of our newsletter, The Dirt. It showcases the Western Regional Office’s efforts, programs and services. Browse them to see the important sustainable agriculture and energy work we are doing in the West.
NCAT collaborates with many government agencies and nonprofit organizations in the region, offering training on an array of topics relating to sustainability in agriculture. The NCAT/ATTRA California office has five staff members, all with different areas of expertise who are available to assist farmers and ranchers throughout California, Nevada, Washington, Oregon, Hawaii and Arizona. The specialists focus on training, technical assistance, and support related to sustainable agriculture production. They provide individual assistance to farmers and ranchers on a variety of topics.
Whether you are a farmer wanting to transition to organic farming, develop a marketing plan for your new farm business, integrate livestock or poultry into your farm business, need someone to decipher your soil test, find out about USDA cost share programs, need assistance with implementing CAP 138 plans, or someone to give advice on your cover crop rotation… we are here to help! Call our office at 530-792-7338 or email us at the contacts listed below.
NCAT’s Western office is located on the historic Glide Ranch in Davis, California. As a region, the west is blessed with a huge range of climates that vary across latitudes as well as a diverse geography, both of which add to the region’s potential for agricultural diversity. We also share our home with a diverse population of native born people and immigrants. These realities make the western office one which has the pleasure of working with a huge diversity of farmers as well as crops and cropping systems. Of course, we can’t do it alone, thankfully we are able lean on the other 5 NCAT offices across the country as well as partnering organizations.