Ranchers Need Processing Capacity as Pastures Dry
By Tim Hammerich with the Ag Information Network of the West
Each week during the pandemic, we have been sharing a few updates on how the agriculture industry is being affected around the state.
This would typically be a prime marketing time for California cattle ranchers, but pandemic-related slowdowns at meat processing plants have created a bottleneck in the beef market. Ranchers say the situation is forcing them into tough decisions about their market-ready animals. One rancher describes the situation as a waiting game, as ranchers monitor cattle markets and the status of grass on drying pastures.
People who need food assistance during the pandemic have started receiving California-grown food through a new federal program. The Farmers to Families Food Box program from the U.S. Department of Agriculture buys fresh produce, meats, and dairy products to be delivered to food banks and other nonprofits. The program intends to help both people in need and some of the farmers, ranchers, and food distributors who lost business due to stay-at-home protocols.
Rural sections of the University of California, Davis, campus are attracting more visitors, as people look for new outdoor recreation spots during the pandemic. But the university says the additional foot and vehicle traffic threatens to harm habitat and agricultural research. Officials say increased dog walking or jogger activity could unknowingly disrupt sensitive research projects and harm farm animals housed on the Davis campus.