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Rory Crowley

Director of Habitat Programs

Since moving to Chico in 2015, Rory Crowley has served in multiple capacities at Nicolaus Nut Company (NNC), a closely-held family company that owns and manages over 500 acres of almonds and walnuts in the Chico area. Rory learned a new trade from scratch, quickly moving from hole-digger/Equipment Operator to Assistant Operations Manager, Director of Research and Business Development, and finished his time at NNC as Chief Operations Officer and Executive Vice President for Business Development and Field Research.

In January of 2022, Rory came to the Project Apis m. family as the new Director of Habitat Programs.

Rory is a graduate of the 2016 Almond Board of California Leadership Program, where he focused research on issues surrounding almond byproducts and utilization. Through his Leadership Special Project—which received the top honor for his 2016 Class—Rory collaborated with several companies, organizations, and government agencies at local and state levels to find alternative and sustainable uses for almond biomass and co-product, including Sierra Nevada Brewing Company, North State Hulling Cooperative, UC-Davis, CSU-Chico, and the Governor’s Office of Planning and Research. Rory served on the Technical and Regulatory Affairs Committee (TRAC) and the Strategic Ag Innovation Committee (SAIC) for the Almond Board of California and several local and regional boards and committees that serve agricultural and agricultural land stakeholders. Rory is also a Farmer/Mentor at CSU-Chico’s Center for Regenerative Agriculture and Resilient Systems, where his work is showcased on biosolarization, cover crops, and water use efficiency.

Rory has written articles on farming and sustainability in the Sacramento Valley for the Sacramento Bee, West Coast Nut, Growing Produce’s NextGen, and the Chico Enterprise-Record, and has been featured in various publications like the Sacramento Business Journal, Farm Progress, the Almond Board of California’s How We Grow, Project Apis M.’s Seeds for Bees Grower Spotlight and more.

Rory has a bachelor’s degree in philosophy and a master’s degree in ancient history, with a concentration in ancient texts of religious antiquity. Prior to agriculture, Rory served as a Research Fellow for a new museum in Washington, D. C. before he moved back to his wife’s hometown, Chico. He has researched at Princeton, the New York Public Library, the Chester Beatty Library, Oxford’s Sackler Library, the Vatican Library, to name a few.

This research background has served Rory well as he stepped into production agriculture. Though away from the library, Rory had to scratch the research itch, and did so in almond and walnut orchards. More than half a dozen research projects have been fully funded and undertaken at NNC under Rory’s leadership, with world-class researchers and academic institutions, each having the primary goals of advancing scientific inquiry in sustainable agriculture and seeking to make those results understandable, adoptable, and profitable for growers.

Chief among the projects were research with cover crops and soil health. Rory has worked with Dr. Jeff Mitchell and his team at UC Davis to determine tradeoffs associated with winter cover cropping as a means to improve orchard and annual food crop production systems in California. Furthermore, Rory partnered with CSU-Chico’s Dr. Hossein Zakeri to investigate nitrogen fixation with fava beans planted in young walnut orchards. Rory and a team of researchers from UC Davis also pioneered a potentially groundbreaking alternative to chemical soil fumigants called biosolazation, the results of which were recently published in Journal of Applied Soil Ecology.

Rory lives in Chico with his wife, Cassi, their son, Pax (4), their daughter, Milli Jane (2), their son, Judah Paul (4 months), and their awesome cat, Iggy.

Apiary Habitat, Forage, Pollination Management

Seeds for Bees with Project Apis m. (S5, E35)

Feb. 13, 2023

Density, Diversity and Duration. These are the three Project Apis m. objectives when selecting the best Seeds For Bees plantings. Today, Rory Crowley and Stetcyn Malonado join us to talk about the importance of planting grou…

Guest: Rory Crowley