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Marin Sonoma Livestock Workgroup

The Marin Sonoma Livestock Workgroup met on August 2 to go over several important topics. The workgroup has expanded and forty people were present.

       Dr. Lauren Gwin reported her research on conventional livestock operations in Marin County. Fifteen producers were interviewed with herd sizes of 200 pairs and above. Stephanie Larson, Livestock Advisor, is continuing interviews throughout Sonoma. Extension livestock advisors John Harper, Mendocino, and Morgan Doran, Yolo, are also conducting surveys and eventually the results will be combined into one report to get an overall regional view of production, marketing, and economic trends. 

       Marin ranchers voiced concerns over the economies of scale and of regional seasonality conflicts for local marketing, since most of the calves are ready at the same time. Ranchers expressed interest in the idea of local processing and marketing if they can be paid a premium for animals. 
       Sam Goldberger reported that he, Phyllis Faber, and John Harper, livestock advisor for Mendocino County, are working on plans for a regional slaughter and processing facility in Ukiah, to fill the needs of the livestock community when the local facility in Petaluma closes in 2009. The project is in the planning phase and next up is a feasibility study. The project now has incorporated a possible biofuel component to render parts.  A facility like this generates a lot of fat and waste that could be used to produce biofuel. The plant would also incorporate services like transport, branding for private labeling and marketing services.
       The Livestock Workgroup brings together producers and those interested in promoting the growth of local agriculture to a forum which explores production, processing, and marketing trends. Those interested in attending a workgroup meeting may visit our website, www.growninmarin.org for announcements and meeting dates.
      Copies of Dr. Gwin’s survey can be downloaded from our Grown in Marin website under Reports.