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Ramiro Lobo, Small Farm and Agricultural Economics Advisor for UCCE in San Diego County

Ramiro Lobo has been the Small Farm and Agricultural Economics Advisor for the University of California Cooperative Extension in San Diego County since 1997. Ramiro is one of several Farm Advisors affiliated with the University of California Small Farm Program and his primary responsibility is to conduct research and educational activities to support small-scale agricultural producers in San Diego County. Ramiro’s work focuses primarily on educating small scale producers on topics related to agricultural business and risk management, new crop development and evaluation, new entry grower education, market development through agricultural tourism and direct marketing, and Food and pesticide safety education.

As a founding member of the UC-ANR Agriculture and Nature Tourism Workgroup, Ramiro’s research and extension efforts have contributed to the growth and development of Agricultural Tourism as a revenue generating enterprise for small and medium sized farmers in San Diego County and across California. His research at Certified Farmers Markets and at the Flower Fields in Carlsbad laid the foundation for the development and launch of the San Diego Grown 365 Marketing Program managed by the San Diego County Farm Bureau.

Ramiro’s field research has focused on the development and evaluation of new or specialty crops that are more water efficient and which can be viable alternatives for small and medium sized farmers to replace non-profitable crops they currently grow. These research efforts have contributed to the establishment of blueberries and pitahaya or dragon fruit as viable commercial alternatives for producers in Southern California. The acreage planted to these crops and the interest among growers continue to increase as evidenced by participation on educational activities such as the annual Pitahaya Festival & Research Field Day.

Ramiro has also collaborated with a number of agencies and colleagues from the Western states to develop and implement a number of educational efforts focusing on Business and Risk Management Education and the 2014 Farm Bill. These efforts include the Ag in Uncertain Times & Ag in Uncertain Times en Español Webinar Series and supporting website, which covers a number of topics relevant to small and medium sized farmers. These include but are not limited to the farm bill, food safety, enterprise risk analysis, new crop or enterprise analysis, etc. In addition, the Surviving in Agriculture Risk Management Education Seminar Series has reached and educated more than 200 small-medium sized farmers and dairy producers over the last three years, increasing their ability to identify and manage the sources of risk impacting their farming operations.

Ramiro is on the board of directors representing the local University of California Cooperative Extension office in San Diego County. In this capacity, he will help plan and coordinate a number of conference activities including workshops and field tours.