We often hear laments from beginning farmers and ranchers that starting a small or family-scale organic dairy or livestock operation is simply not possible in California. Issues of land access and affordability, organic feed scarcities, and lack of mentorship opportunities are cited as a few of the many reasons why breaking into animal-based farming is nearly impossible. Yet with the average age of U.S. farmers fast approaching 60, these hurdles must be overcome. Creative strategies are sorely needed for passing on farms to the next generation. For livestock farmers, the absence of slaughterhouses dedicated to processing organic animals has forced most to forgo pursuing organic certification, even though their land management and animal rearing practices meet the organic standards. Listen to two successful farmers tell how they are meeting these challenges. Bring your questions and be prepared to engage in the conversation.
Beginning Farmers & Ranchers
D | 10:30 am
Markegard Family Grass-Fed
Doniga Markegard is dedicated to finding ways to regenerate lands and community through ranching practices that build soil, sequester carbon, capture and purify water, and enhance habitat. Along with her husband and four children, Doniga owns and operates Markegard Family Grass-Fed, LLC raising grass-fed beef, lamb, pastured pork, chicken and dairy supplying the Bay Area with local, nutrient dense foods. The family ranch leases land throughout the Bay Area spanning over 10,000 acres.