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San Francisco, CA - Sustainable Conservation, the award-winning nonprofit organization, has opened an office in Modesto, California to further support California farmers and dairy producers in practices that are both environmentally and economically sound.

"This is a critical time for California agriculture," said Ashley Boren, Sustainable Conservation's Executive Director. "Development threatens to pave over more farms and ranchlands, profitability is squeezed by rising energy and labor costs, government regulations pose more challenges, and environmental conditions need attention. Sustainable Conservation is a catalyst for solutions that keep both the environment and the agriculture businesses healthy."

A.G. Kawamura, California Secretary of Food and Agriculture, said, "It's a great benefit to have Sustainable Conservation working closely with farmers to help them meet their responsibilities to protect the environment and stay profitable. The organization has shown success working creatively with farmers, environmental advocates and government regulators to find and implement practical, lasting solutions to environmental problems. Sustainable Conservation understands the bottom line goal of keeping farmland in production. "

Modesto Chamber of Commerce Chief Executive Officer Joy Madison, said, "It's exciting to have Sustainable Conservation here in Modesto. Their partnership approach to solving environmental problems is more important than ever in sustaining a healthy economy, a healthy environment and healthy communities in the Central Valley. "

Sustainable Conservation has hired Ladi Asgill, a seasoned agricultural economist, to serve as Project Manager based in Modesto. Asgill brings more than 15 years of agribusiness finance and product management experience to the challenges. Previously, he helped renewable energy companies and other Central Valley-based agribusinesses launch and solve strategic business challenges, and managed the permitting and financing of biogas generation facilities located at municipal landfills in California. As product manager with Harris Moran, an international vegetable seed company, he successfully managed the introduction and commercialization of numerous vegetable varieties. Asgill earned a B.S. in tropical agriculture from the University of Sierra Leone, an M.S. in agricultural economics from Texas A&M University and an MBA from Santa Clara University.

"At least 25% of the United States' agricultural production comes from California, with the vast majority from farms in the San Joaquin Valley. California is also a leader in setting environmental standards. I see opportunities to use our strengths in the agricultural industry to develop creative solutions to environmental challenges," said Asgill.

Sustainable Conservation partners with business, agriculture and government to find practical ways that the private sector can protect clean air, clean water and healthy ecosystems. The independent nonprofit organization leads powerful collaborations that produce lasting solutions and sustain the vitality of both the economy and the environment. Recent accomplishments include: establishing a statewide methane digester program for California dairy farmers to generate renewable energy; testing the environmental benefits of a biodiesel fuel additive; demonstrating "conservation tillage," which decreases particulate air pollution while reducing farmers' energy and labor costs; establishing a set of business practices for automobile recyclers to keep toxic materials out of the waterways; and creating a regulatory framework for private landowners to get prompt one-stop approval of sound habitat restoration projects. The organization received the Governor's Environmental and Economic Leadership Award (2004) and earned the highest rating from Charity Navigator, an independent evaluator of nonprofit finance and management.

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