Sunday, March 1, 2009

Placer Ag Futures Project

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. We developed the following vision for the next 30 years of agriculture in Placer County:

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.

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.

Expanding Markets
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 local consumers.

Finally, we've also realized that each of these priority areas require us to strengthen the sense of connection within the farming community. Indeed, this sense of community is vital to rebuilding a vibrant small farm sector in Placer County.

For more information about internships and the Placer Ag Futures Project, please contact UC Cooperative Extension at 530/889-7385.


  1. What is the story with the picture above and all the medals?

    Is the internship for this organization different than the internship on your farm? If so, how?

  2. The photo is from the first annual (and hopefully not the last) farmer olympics - held at Thompson Ranch during Sierra Nevada Small Farm Progress Days last October. We competed in moving a wheelbarrow full of pumpkins up a hill, setting up electric fence, cutting a log with a 2-man cross-cut saw, and a mushy persimmon relay!

    The interhsnip is separate from ours - the Ag Futures Internship Program will allow interns to rotate through 5-6 farms (everything from livestock to forestry to orchards to vegetables). It's less focused but provides more variety.