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ASGA Call #50: Large-Site Solar Grazing at Topaz Solar Farm

February 2 @ 6:00 pm - 7:00 pm EST

February 2 @ 6:00 pm 7:00 pm EST

For this month’s webinar, we’re heading west to hear all about grazing at the 550-megawatt Topaz Solar Farm in San Luis Obispo County, CA. Katie Brown from Althouse and Meade, Inc will talk about the development of this unique project, which was at the time of its completion the largest solar project in the world with over 9 million panels and producing enough electricity to power 160,000 homes. She’ll join the site’s grazier, Frankie Iturriria, who will talk about his experience grazing at the site and the challenges and opportunities that come with large-site solar grazing.


Photo Credit: NASA Earth Observatory


About the Speakers

Katie Brown is a Certified Rangeland Manager, plant and animal scientist who works for Althouse and Meade, Inc. in Paso Robles California. Katie and her husband live on a small farm in San Miguel, California with their two kids and raise painted desert sheep.

She earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Animal Science with a minor in Rangeland Resource Management from California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo. While earning her Master of Science degree in Animal and Range Sciences from Montana State University, Bozeman; she completed research on cattle grazing behavior and invasive weed management. 

Katie currently manages grazing programs at two large solar farms in California: Topaz Solar Farm and California Flats Solar Farm. Katie provides consultation to solar farms throughout the U.S. to develop restoration, vegetation management, and grazing programs.

Frankie Iturriria is a first-generation born sheep producer from Bakersfield, CA. His parents, Paco and Maria Luisa, immigrated from the Basque region of Spain in search of a better life. 

Frankie is involved in production agriculture. He raises Rambouillet ewes in the Wasco, CA area under the name of I & M Sheep Company. I & M Sheep has been in operation since 1958. Frankie also has a full-time job working for Grimmway Farms in Bakersfield. He is a Farm Manager and manages around 5,000 acres of vegetable production, mainly carrots and potatoes.

Frankie graduated from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo with a B.S. Degree in Agricultural Business. Frankie married the love of his life, Renee, in 2007; and together, they have a pair of twin boys, Adrian and Marcos. He hopes to one day pass the love of sheep along to them, just like his father did to him.

Frankie has been a member of the Resource Council for the last few years and is currently on the Public Lands council for ASI. He is also a board member of the CA Woolgrowers Association and served as President from 2013-2015.  


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