In 1984, Baugher Ranch Organics had just 130 acres of conventional almonds and a mission to convert to organic farming. Today, the family business owns 640 acres, works with farmers across the state of California, and is a leading global supplier of organic almonds.
Baugher Ranch’s mission is “to provide quality, organic almonds for the benefit of growers, customers, and employees while maintaining long-term business viability.”
To Baugher Ranch Organics, “long-term business viability” is rooted in sustainability. A new on-site solar system, biodiversity and pollinator habit programs, water efficiency and energy reduction practices, and employee / community benefit programs are just some examples of a well-rounded sustainable business model.
But it can also be seen in their care for their employees. Vice President Ron Lautrup says sustainability is “having viable business longevity and a key part of that is treating our employees with integrity and respect.” At Baugher Ranch, most employees have been with them for decades. For President and CEO Nisha Carrow-Baugher, it is important that her employees can purchase homes, cars, have insurance, and are treated like family, which promotes a healthy community.
As growers and suppliers of organic almonds for almost 40 years, the Baugher family knows that growing organic requires a commitment and passion for “quality, organic almonds.”
During the early 1980’s, Nisha’s parents, Chris and Marcie Baugher, made the decision to transition their commercial almond orchard to organic. While organic farming has grown increasingly popular recently, it was not the norm in the eighties and nineties. Chris and Marcie had limited farming resources and were ostracized by neighbors and others, yet they remained committed to learning and finding ways to succeed with biological organic farming and processing. Despite the difficulties with farming organic those first 20 years, Chris and Marcie slowly built a reputation for quality throughout the organic community, both in the US and aboard.
Even today Nisha says “the mindset of becoming organic is huge. It is a different farming process from conventional — each lot, each piece of ground is unique, and farmers have to be creative, thinking out of the box, to be organic. It’s pretty challenging, but on the flip side you’re contributing to sustainability, you’re increasing overall soil fertility building systems, and having a positive impact on our environment and communities.”
While the future is ultimately unknown, and the pandemic has changed the agricultural industry, Baugher Ranch’s mission stays the same. As a second-generation family business, Nisha hopes to “keep going along” by expanding the business, continuing to support her local community, increase organic education, support existing and new organic farmers, and anticipates passing down the business to the third generation of the Baugher family.