Rancho is closed.

Rancho has closed.  We don’t know why.  No transparency.
David Evans, owner of Marin Sun Farms, has purchased the plant. This is very good news for all specialty farmers, like us.  His intention is to do custom only slaughtering and cut and wrap.
The next big push is to get our politicians to put their weight on the USDA to get through permitting quickly.  So do keep at it, if you have e-mailed them.  Do it again.

Here is some wording:

“Dear (Mike Thompson, Jared Huffman, or whomever you relate too):  We are thrilled with the purchase of Rancho and the intent to reopen the plant.  Can you use any of your influence to get the plant through the paperwork, permitting etc. to get it open.  Our farmers are spending precious dollars to transport animals far away and return them for us to purchase. “

I was asked what the cost to me would be if we had to transport, permanently several hours away. Isn’t it just the time to drive there and a little stress on the animals?” Short term, yes. It is a full days drive, gas, and the cost to bring them back to Santa Rosa to be cut and wrapped.

Long term we can’t manage that process.  Here’s why.  Take pigs as the example.  Today I can take one, two or six pigs to town.  I can do it myself.  My little trailer works and I am comfortable driving.  If I have only two that are ready to go I can take two and it takes about 30 minutes round trip.   If I have to go 3 hours away then I have to consolidate my trip in order to make that affordable.  I would have to take 10  or more pigs at a time which means I need a bigger trailer, a guy to haul it (I am not comfortable with that large of a load alone), that “guy” needs to be paid and insured.  That is my smallest concern.  The bigger issue is now I need to change my breeding pattern.  I have to breed my pigs in a timely fashion so they grow out close to the same weight for transporting at the same time.  That means I need a bunch more mama’s having babies at the same time.  Babies on pasture are so cute but as many of you know they herd around like a gang from New York.  Keeping them in the pasture takes a set of constant eyes to make sure they don’t travel too far from the pasture.  We can do this easily when we have only 2 or 3 sets of them at a time.  More means putting up permanent fencing.  That won’t work with the cows and chicken movement over the pasture to feed the soil….it goes on and on….

So a small little thing like a trip to Modesto is a long term nightmare for us with consequences we can’t absorb.Thanks for the support.  We are doing fine and see a bright light coming our way (hopefully that is sun after a lot of rain this week).

Your hopeful farmer,

Tara F. Smith