Cooperative Extension San Joaquin County
University of California
Cooperative Extension San Joaquin County


U.S. Food Market Estimator

Have you ever wondered how much beef or lamb is consumed in Mendocino or Lake Counties daily, weekly, monthly or annually? Or how much is produced?  Would you like to know how much is produced in other counties or in the whole state of California?

Well, thanks to the The
Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture at Iowa State University you can now find out. The Center has developed a unique tool known as the U.S. Food Market Estimator.  The tool has a series of drop down menus that will give you lots of information about the food market but it's not just about meat. Other foods such as vegetables, fruits and nuts are listed too. This tool would be useful to our niche meat producers looking at capturing a share of the traditional market or finding out what the potential of "going local" would really mean. Take a look and play with it for a while. You'll be amazed!

Posted on Thursday, January 14, 2010 at 3:42 PM

Future UCCE Prescribed Grazing Range Research

Below is some exciting news that will impact Lake & Mendocino County livestock grazers. I'll be participating in some of the effort so stay tuned for more information.

Prescribed Grazing Research Funded –

Cooperative Extension Specialist Ken Tate has been awarded a three-year, $484,488 grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture  for his project entitled, “Prescribed grazing to restore rangeland soil quality, plant diversity, water quality and agricultural productivity.” Others working with Tate include Assistant Professor Valerie Eviner, Cooperative Extension Specialist Mel George, graduate student Leslie Roche, Toby O’Geen, assistant soil research specialist in Cooperative Extension from Land, Air and Water Resources and Assistant Professor Mark Lubell from Environmental Science and Policy.

The team will survey 1,500 ranchland managers to help determine social-cultural-economic-institutional factors driving grazing decisions and understand how managers receive, assess and use grazing management information. They will quantify the differential effects of season and intensity of cattle grazing, and associated interactions, on multiple ecosystem services. Finally, they will develop an online network that allows users to access research-and-management-derived information about prescribed grazing and restoration; receive assistance in developing grazing management and effectiveness monitoring options for site specific restoration applications; and participate in interactive prescribed grazing/restoration information exchange.

Posted on Tuesday, January 5, 2010 at 2:46 PM

Bison in your future?

Happy New Year!
I thought the following might interest you since we do produce Bison in Mendocino & Lake Counties. I've orded a copy of the book mentioned below.

National Bison Association working to increase production
By Ann Bagel Storck on 1/4/2010
The National Bison Association announced a campaign to encourage new producers to get into the business, and to encourage existing ranchers to increase their herds.

Among the association's efforts is the recent release of the all-new Bison Producers' Handbook. The 280-page handbook contains material written by more than 30 experienced bison ranchers, processors and marketers, and is designed as a resource for new producers and veterans alike. For information about obtaining the handbook, visit

This year the National Bison Association also will be conducting a series of workshops, funded through a grant from the USDA's Agricultural Marketing Service, to assist small-scale bison producers in using farmers' markets as a successful sales outlet.

"American consumers are playing a key role in restoring the buffalo herds that once roamed across North America because their strong demand for delicious, healthy bison meat is encouraging ranchers to increase their herds," said Dave Carter, executive director of the National Bison Association. "The continuing consumer demand in the midst of a recession affirms that once people taste bison they are likely to make it a part of their diet. They know that the great taste, low fat and high protein characteristics make this all-natural meat a great value."

Posted on Monday, January 4, 2010 at 1:48 PM

Cattle Grazing and Fire Protection

A 14-year study by the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Agricultural Research Service (ARS) scientists in Oregon found that rangelands that have been grazed by cattle recover from fires more effectively than rangelands that have been protected from livestock. These surprising findings could impact management strategies for native plant communities where ecological dynamics are shifting because of climate change, invasive weeds and other challenges.

Much of the rangeland in the western United States is threatened by the spread of cheatgrass and medusahead, invasive non-native annual grasses that fuel wildfires and readily infest landscapes, especially after fires. These rangelands historically were burned by wildfires every 50 to 100 years, but over the past century, these fires have been suppressed by humans. This suppression allowed some dead plant litter to accumulate, but when cattle were introduced to the region, their grazing helped keep litter accumulation in check.

Rangeland scientists Kirk Davies and Jon Bates and research leader Tony Svejcar, who work in the ARS Range and Meadow Forage Management Research Unit at the Eastern Oregon Agricultural Research Center in Burns, Ore., carried out studies comparing how native plants on grazed and ungrazed sagebrush rangelands recovered from fires. All the sites had similar vegetation profiles and were virtually free of cheatgrass.

In the grazed areas, cattle consumed around 40 percent of the available forage, which removed much of the potential litter. The ungrazed sites, where livestock had been excluded since 1936, had almost twice as much litter as the grazed sites.

The scientists conducted a controlled burn on all the sites in 1993, and then measured vegetation cover, vegetation density and biomass production in 2005, 2006 and 2007. They found cheatgrass had infested a large portion of the ungrazed sites, leaving these areas even more vulnerable to future fires.

However, cheatgrass did not become problematic on the sites that had been grazed. On these sites, native bunchgrass cover was almost twice as dense as bunchgrass cover on the ungrazed sites. The team concluded that the litter in the ungrazed sites fueled hotter fires that killed off much of the perennial vegetation, which allowed quick-growing invasive annuals to become established.

Reprinted from ARS

Posted on Thursday, December 31, 2009 at 5:35 PM

Sheep & Goat Survey

The U.S. Department of Agriculture's National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) is gearing up for the Sheep and Goat Inventory Survey. Conducted each year in January and July, this survey provides critical inventory and production information for all states and the nation.

"During the first two weeks in January, producers will be contacted to participate in the Sheep and Goat Inventory Survey." said Carol House, NASS deputy administrator. "This survey will provide the latest information on conditions and trends in the U.S. sheep and goat industry for 2010."

When contacted by a NASS field office representative, producers will be asked to provide information on the number of breeding and market sheep and goats, lambs and kids born during the previous year, as well as mohair production, wool production and prices. For convenience, producers will have the option of responding to the survey by telephone, mail, during a personal interview or online.

Results will be published in the Sheep and Goats report, scheduled for release Jan. 29, 2010.

Reprinted from ASI

Posted on Thursday, December 31, 2009 at 5:35 PM

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