Grass-Fed Beef Industry Crippled by California Drought

grass fed

While much-needed rain is in the forecast for California this week, the drought has already taken its toll across the state. One of its victims: the grass-fed beef industry.

According to the Los Angeles Times, grass-fed beef pioneers Marin Sun Farms is about to start feeding grain to its cattle. “There’s just not enough grass to keep them alive.”

Marin Sun owner David Evans, who has been raising grass-fed beef on his family’s fourth-generation Marin County ranch since 1998 told the Times, “We kept thinking we’d be fine, but we didn’t get any rain and we didn’t get any rain and we just reached a breaking point where we decided we had to pull out this other marketing plan.”

And it wasn’t an easy decision. The company’s marketing director told the Times that the company will still be selling some grass-fed beef as it’s available but “What this drought has done is really force us to diversify our program when we’re facing seasons like this winter. It was either do this or go out of business.”

Others in the industry are struggling as well, reports the Times. “Anya Fernald, owner of Belcampo Meat, another sustainable beef purveyor, is feeling the drought too, but she says she’s sticking to her grass-fed guns. Even if that might mean shipping 2,000 heads of her Northern California herd to wetter grazing grounds in the Dakotas. And she’s aggressively culling her herd to get the numbers down.”

Grass-fed beef is becoming a popular meat choice for shoppers wishing to avoid grains—often genetically modified—that are fed to most cattle.

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