The California Cattlemen’s Association (CCA) recently sent a letter to Gov. Gavin Newsom (D), asking for the authorization of emergency livestock grazing on state lands to mitigate the feed shortage due to drought.
“As you are aware, California’s unprecedented drought has severely limited the availability of rangeland forage for livestock; the drought has also limited the availability of livestock feed such as alfalfa hay, and prices for such feed have become prohibitively expensive,” the CCA letter stated.
CCA stressed the drought and feed prices have resulted in California ranchers making the difficult decision “whether to liquidate their herds and even whether to sell their prime rangelands for development.”
The letter asks Newsom to direct the California Natural Resources Agency (CNRA) to “evaluate grazing grounds and livestock feed opportunities that could be made available on state-owned and -managed lands.” CCA asks CNRA to work with area extension agents from the University of California Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources, as they are familiar with local state-owned land and have established a relationship with the area ranchers.
California’s land management agencies manage nearly 7 million acres of state-owned lands within California. Only 138,612 acres—or about 2 percent—of state-owned lands are leased or permitted for livestock grazing.