Stephanie Larson: 2015 Friend of Sonoma County Agriculture

Mar 8, 2016

 From 2015 Sonoma County Harvest Fair:

Stephanie Larson
"This year's Friend of Sonoma County Agriculture is awarded to Stephanie Larson, director of the University of California's Cooperative Extension in Sonoma County and a farm advisor for over 20 years. The award recognizes Larson for her work in providing high-level livestock and range management expertise to local farmers and ranchers and developing economic opportunities to encourage young farmers towards success. From working to increase “agritourism” in Sonoma County to training young “agropreneurs” in ways to increase food production, Dr. Stephanie Larson stands out as a steadfast champion and promoter of Sonoma County's $3 Billion dollar agriculture industry.

Larson is working closely with Sonoma County Tourism, and her efforts are bringing more economic opportunities to local agriculture producers, making their operations more sustainable and economically viable. Her program integrates ecosystem services provided by rangelands and highlights the benefits of using grazing animals as tools to manage local landscapes. As a certified rangeland manager, she works with land managers to help them to make sound ecologic decisions about managing working landscapes for the benefit of all users. Larson is also the current principle investigator for the USDA Beginning Farmer and Rancher program, which is training “agropreneurs” to increase food production throughout a five county region. Larson is working to develop an incubator farm that will provide opportunities for these beginners to learn their skills and increase local food access. “Programs like this are important to combat the shrinking acreage available for growing crops and the climbing prices of farmland, particularly in Sonoma County,” says Larson."