Stephanie Larson, Range & Livestock Advisor
Working with Agricultural Commissioner staff from the Marin Organic Certified Agriculture program, we helped local organic dairy and livestock producers meet new pasture use criteria. These criteria require that herd forage needs be met by pastures for a minimum of 120 days a year. The result of our efforts is that these dairies and ranches have maintained their organic certification and reduced their feed costs.
Our local advisors and staff are partnering with researchers from UC Berkeley and UC Davis to identify livestock grazing practices that will lead to increased stores of carbon in ranch soils. The benefits of these increases to local ranchers and dairy farmers will include increase the amount of water stored in the soil resulting in higher production and longer growing seasons for forage. There may also be additional benefits to the ranch bottom line through increases in prices paid for agricultural projects.