Welcome to the first issue of the Dirt newsletter for NCAT's Western region. Serving Arizona, California, Hawaii, Nevada, Oregon, and Washington, the Western office staff are helping producers throughout the region address challenges and find solutions for sustainable agriculture, sustainable energy use, and rural community development. Read on to learn about our work, and how we might be of assistance to you.
Western Regional Director
Rex Dufour has worked for NCAT for more than 20 years, and currently serves as the Regional Director for NCAT's Western office. He opened the office in Davis, California, in 2001, and since that time has led the staff in hundreds of hands-on projects involving integrated pest management, cover cropping, organic certification, sustainable and organic production practices, soil health, and more. Rex holds a bachelors in biology from Colorado College and a masters in science in integrated pest management from the University of California, Riverside. He served with the Peace Corps and then spent six years managing integrated rural development projects in Thailand and Laos, working with rural poor as well as host country officials. Rex has forged important partnerships across the western United States with educational institutions, government agencies such as the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture's (USDA) Natural Resources Conservation Service, and other sustainable agriculture and energy-related organizations. He brings this wealth of experience and knowledge to bear on issues confronting farmers and ranchers across the West, and is especially concerned with helping underserved and disadvantaged producers. He welcomes your calls and notes: firstname.lastname@example.org, 530-792-7338.
USDA/Beginning Farmer Rancher Development Project
In September of 2014, UC Berkeley and NCAT finished up their first collaboration on a 3-year USDA-funded Beginning Farmer Rancher (BFR) Development Project. Earlier in the year, a new group of collaborators submitted a second proposal to build and expand on the work of the first BFR grant, and UC Berkeley, NCAT, and several other collaborators will be working on this project for the next three years to support beginning farmers in the Bay Area and the Central Valley through a series of workshops, one-on-one technical assistance, developing informational pieces, and support of regional learning hubs which work with beginning farmers.
"Beginner" hedgerow, planted in early 2014, and designed and planted by NCAT staff. The farmer was so enthused about this hedgerow he decided to plant 3 parallel 100 meter-long hedgerows at another location.
Site of future hedgerow adjacent to almond orchard, in Stanislaus County. NCAT staff designed the hedgerow to be planted". Folks in the picture include (left to right) Roberto Perez, farmer, Thea Rittenhouse (NCAT Staff), Tomas Aguilar-Campos (NRCS)
Work on both these hedgerows (and with the farmers in Stanislaus and Merced Counties) is funded by two consecutive projects funded by USDA/NIFA/BFRDP (Beginning Farmers Rancher Development Program).
Helping Oregonians With Perennial Fruit
Last month Rex Dufour and NCAT horticulture specialist Guy Ames traveled to Corvallis, OR, to speak at the small farms conference hosted by Oregon State University. Talking to a standing-room-only crowd, Rex and Guy focused on climate change and its impact on perennial fruit production during their workshop. A presentation by John Stevenson, Oregon State University Regional Extension Climate Specialist, provided research data on Oregon's climate that showed shifts in water supply from snow to rain, a steady rise in average temperatures, and a decrease in cooler days. Rex and Guy related these climate-related challenges to perennial fruit and nut production, including drought, frost, flooding, and extreme weather events, and discussed steps growers can take to build resilience into their farming operations through diversification, water stewardship, and soil building. They have also written a publication about the topic, Climate Change and Perennial Fruit and Nut Production: Investing in Resilience in Uncertain Times.
May 18, 5-7 PM
Food Safety and Organics: Field Border Management
Agriculture and Land-Based Training Association Rural Development Center
June 6, 3-6 PM
Pastured Pork Workshop
Soil Born Farms
2140 Chase Drive
Rancho Cordova, CA 95670
Contact Clara Villalobos Andino at email@example.com
New Publications, Videos and Webinars
Online courses that allow you to delve more deeply into these topics through self-guided and comprehensive multi-lesson tutorials. Click here to access these great resources.
Specialty Melon Production for Small and Direct-Market Growers
Selling to Institutional Markets: Strategies and Considerations for Montana Producers
Contact the Western regional office at 3635 Russell Blvd.
Davis, CA 95617.
We would love to hear your input! What can we do to help you?
Give us a call (toll free): (800) 411-3222
Local Solutions for a Sustainable Future!