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Five Reasons Why Organic Ranchers Are Essential to California’s Future

by Laetitia Benador |

CCOF recently launched our “Meat Matters” Campaign with the goal of expanding meat processing capacity in California and advancing organic livestock production as a solution to California’s toughest challenges.

We started by asking: Why should California support ranching?

Here are just five reasons why we need ranchers more than ever:

  1. Ranchers, and the lands they steward, provide essential products like food and fiber for everyone.
  2. Ranching is the economic backbone of many rural communities across the state.
  3. Consumers are buying more organic and grassfed meat because they value a sustainable future.
  4. Grazing livestock eat large amounts of fine fuels, lowering wildfire risk on 40 million acres.
  5. Well-managed grazing helps soils sequester more carbon, making ranchers and their four-legged flocks key players in combatting climate change.

Read the science behind these five reasons and learn about what challenges ranchers are facing in CCOF’s newest edition of our Certified Organic magazine.

Now, we are taking action: What are we doing to solve ranchers’ challenges?

We are doing the research. The UC Davis Food Systems Lab is undertaking a comprehensive study of the state’s meat processing system. The results will help us create solutions that are rooted both in science and in on-the-ground realities.

We are crafting innovative strategies for marketing challenges. Organic producers without access to certified organic processing need intermediate marketing and labeling options while CCOF and our partners work to increase access to facilities. Join us for a webinar, “Organic Labeling and Marketing Strategies for Meat Producers,” on May 18 and look out for more labeling resources this summer!

We are tackling gaps in statewide infrastructure. We are advocating for the passage of Assembly Bill 125, a food and farm resilience bond, which includes important funding for meat processing infrastructure and workforce development. The bill would provide grants to upgrade, expand, and build new meat processing facilities and establish or expand career training programs.

We are expanding on-farm slaughter options. We are working with Assemblymember Levine to pass Assembly Bill 888, which legalizes herdshare sales of lamb, goat, and swine by allowing for the on-farm slaughter of a limited number of animals under specific conditions. Read the Ag Alert article about the bill to learn more.

We are aligning with partners to cocreate a plan of action. We recognize that processing challenges are widespread and that solutions to producer and processor needs are not one-size-fits-all. CCOF has partnered with a coalition of agricultural, environmental, and academic stakeholders to craft and implement solutions together. The California Meat Processing Coalition is exploring solutions that will remove burdens on small meat producers and processors, expand meat processing options, and invest in infrastructure.

We invite you to join us! Please respond to this email ( to learn more about this campaign and how you can get involved.