County of Marin - News Releases - Agricultural Survey

For Immediate Release
October 07, 2016

Marin’s Farmers, Ranchers Being Surveyed

UC Cooperative Extension wants to paint a picture of local agriculture

Novato, CA – For the first time since 2002, all Marin County farmers and ranchers are being surveyed about the new and emerging challenges they face so their answers can shed light on the state of local agriculture.

A woman smiles as she hugs a cow's head at a Marin dairy.UCCE Marin’s Lindsey Affonso makes a friend at a local dairy.

The Marin County Farm Advisor’s Office / University of California Cooperative Extension Marin want to better understand the day-to-day operations and priorities of farmers and ranchers and compare findings to those from 14 years ago. Survey responses are requested by Friday, October 21.

“We hope to gain a new perspective on the evolution of producers’ operations since 2002 and identify the emergence and development of new diversification strategies that help make agricultural vibrant in Marin County,” said Julia Van Soelen Kim, UCCE Marin’s Food Systems Advisor. “If we get a high percentage of our farmers and ranchers to respond, we can gather a more complete understanding of their current practices and we can base our future educational program offerings on key opportunities and challenges.”

The 2002 survey proved particularly impactful to the region by providing a snapshot of Marin’s agriculture at the time — who the producers were, the sizes and scopes of their properties, their products and markets, and their plans for the future. Sixty-three percent of the producers, whose average age was 54, considered their operations either unprofitable or marginally profitable, yet 90 percent had no plans to sell their operations in the next five years. Eighty-six percent had one to four family members involved in the operation, and 71 percent had a family member planning to continue with the operation.

“It will be extremely valuable to see how those numbers have changed,” said Farm Advisor David Lewis. “The 2002 survey shaped Marin policies to support local agricultural production and diversification. The 2016 survey is an opportunity to learn about the growth and advancement of agricultural diversification though this County policy support.”

All Marin producers are urged to take the survey ucanr.edu/2016survey or request a paper copy and postage-paid return envelope by contacting Lindsey Affonso at laffonso@ucanr.edu or 415-473-4204. The survey takes an average of 10 minutes to complete, with more complex agricultural operations taking about 15 minutes.

Once collected and analyzed, the study’s results will be shared on the Grown in Marin website and will be used to inform future areas of work for UCCE Marin and the county as a whole. 

Contact:

David Lewis
Farm Advisor
Office of the Farm Advisor/University of California Cooperative Extension

1682 Novato Blvd.
Suite 150B
Novato, CA 94947
(415) 473-4204
Email: David Lewis
Marin UCCE website