We continue to support the viability of Marin's family farms and ranches through our Grown in Marin, Livestock and Range, Food Systems, and Sustainable Agriculture programs. Read on for some examples of the impact of our work from 2016.
Honoring Agricultural Diversification
Marin farmers and ranchers have paved the way for a bright future through agricultural diversification. Over the last 10 years, this diversification has taken the form of raising pastured and grass-fed livestock, increasing acreage in fruit and vegetable production, transitioning to Organic, producing value-added artisanal goods, and marketing directly to customers. To honor and celebrate these accomplishments and set direction for the next wave of innovation, this all-day conference was hosted by our Sustainable Agriculture Team in partnership with the Agricultural Institute of Marin, Marin Agricultural Land Trust, Marin County Farm Bureau, Marin Organic, and Marin Resource Conservation District. Over 70 of Marin's farmers, ranchers, and agriculture supporters joined together to celebrate the accomplishments of the agricultural community over the last 40 years to diversify farming operations and to look to the future (read more).
Prioritizing food safety through good agricultural practices
Ensuring that crops grown and livestock products produced are safe for customers is job one for Marin’s farmers and ranchers. More than 30 producers participated in a four-part workshop series to advance their knowledge of food safety and skills in protecting that safety. Participating growers developed their own farm food safety plans, with additional opportunities to meet one-on-one with UCCE resources to elevate their own practices. More about the information shared and resources for those that could not attend are available online.
Dairies advance their tools for water quality management
In June 2015, the San Francisco Regional Water Quality Control Board approved its General Order for Confined Animal Feeding Operations. This order, in conjunction with a pre-existing Conditional Waiver for dairy farms, requires existing dairy operations to complete and implement five management plans – Facility Operations, Waste Management, Nutrient Management, Grazing Management. We are partnering with the California Dairy Quality Assurance Program and Western United Dairymen to provide three years of educational and on-farm support to complete these documents. These offerings include office hours for Marin dairy farmers to get one-on-one assistance in completing required calculations and plan forms as well as make connections to technical and financial assistance.
Eggs from the range
Since 2010 the number of Marin farmers raising pastured poultry for eggs has grown to the point that they make up more than 15% of Marin’s annual crop value. These farmers are generally selling direct to customers on their farms or at farmers markets. A group of more than 30 small scale pasture poultry producers attended a one-day workshop to learn about food safety, public health and flock health, and to connect with other producers in the region to share their know-how and local innovations. Information and presentation provided at the workshop are available online.