UC Cooperative Extension Placer/Nevada has a variety of programs to help small scale farmers and ranchers succeed as producers. The Ag Futures and Sierra CRAFT (Collaborative Regional Alliance for Farmer Training) projects are two of our projects.
The Placer County Ag Futures Project is working to ensure that we have a vibrant, diverse farming and ranching community in Placer County in 30 years.
The face of Placer County agriculture is changing. Renewed interest in local food has driven a proliferation of small farming and ranching operations. At the same time, we’re missing an entire generation of young farmers and ranchers—the next generation of producers who will meet this growing local demand.
In the fall of 2007, a group of farmers and ranchers gathered in Auburn to discuss their vision for Placer County agriculture in the next 30 years. Out of this meeting, the Placer County Ag Futures Project was born.
Our vision for the next 30 years
In 2037, we envision that Placer County will have a vibrant and diverse farming community that is fully integrated into the larger community. As demand for local products continues to increase, we will be more self-sufficient in terms of our food and fiber supply and in terms of our agricultural infrastructure. Most importantly, the effort to bring this vision to reality will be led by farmers and ranchers.
To achieve this mission, we have established the following goals:
Outreach and Education
A successful farming community is a profitable and productive farming community. In addition, we need a new generation of farmers to carry Placer County agriculture into the next 30 years. To address these needs, we are creating an internship program designed to train aspiring new farmers while assisting established growers. We are also expanding business planning, production and farm marketing educational offerings designed to help new and established growers alike. Finally, we will be working with local, state and federal agencies to raise awareness about Placer County agriculture and its importance to our communities.
If you are interested in having us come speak to your high school or community college class about local agriculture, send us an email.
Connecting People with the Land
Real estate values continue to rise beyond the ability of farmers and ranchers to purchase agricultural land. Despite this trend, land is available for farming and ranching. The Placer County Ag Futures Project is working to develop a database of private and public land that can be used for farming and ranching. We will also be developing sample farm leases and other information to help farmers and landowners work together to bring land back into agricultural production.
The local food movement is similar to the organic movement 15 years ago. Moving forward, the Placer County Ag Futures Project will develop projects and programs designed to increase opportunities for marketing local food and fiber to consumers.
Ag Futures and Sierra CRAFT are funded in part by WSARE
Sierra Collaborative Regional Alliance for Farmer Training (CRAFT) is a farmer-led coalition of small farmers from Sierra, Plumas, Yuba, Nevada, Placer and Eldorado Counties in the Sierra Mountains of California. The original CRAFT was formed by a small group of growers in upstate New York in 1994 and has since been replicated by farmers in several other regions of the country because of their great success in facilitating community within agriculture and providing practical on-farm training.
The mission of Sierra CRAFT is threefold:
- Provide on-farm field days throughout the year to facilitate the exchange of information among farmers and ranchers;
- Create and manage a listserv to facilitate communication among farmers and ranchers; and
- Provide regular farm business planning classes to encourage the adoption of business practices that will improve the economic viability of Sierra Nevada farms.
Sierra CRAFT is funded by a grant from the Western Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education Program of the United States Department of Agriculture and is wholly administered by farmers and ranchers in the Sierra Nevada Mountains.
Since we are farmer-driven, we encourage established farmers and ranchers, young people just getting started, and everyone in between to get involved to make this effort a success!
It's easy to start networking with other farmers and ranchers!
The Sierra CRAFT listserv is an online forum for farmers, ranchers, farm and ranch employees and interns who work on farms and ranches in Sierra, Plumas, Yuba, Nevada, Placer and El Dorado counties in the Sierra Nevada Mountains of California. Farmers and ranchers in these counties are encouraged to discuss farm- and ranch-related issues of common concern.
Join the Sierra CRAFT listserv today!
To discourage other uses of this forum, we have restricted listserv membership to commercial farmers, ranchers, farm and ranch employees and interns who work on farms and ranches.