Sonoma County farmers and livestock flee from Wine Country fires

The Wine Country fires are hitting the heart of Sonoma County farm and dairy land, and many ranchers and farmers had either evacuated or were preparing to evacuate their properties on Monday. The impact on the local agricultural economy could be devastating.

Sonoma County farms house 30,000 dairy cows and 35,000 sheep and goats, according to the 2016 Sonoma County Crop Report. The report lists the value of its agriculture at close to $900 million, with livestock and poultry accounting for $178 million, and about $10 million from vegetable farms. The county also has an estimated 3,000 to 9,000 medical cannabis farmers.

Ranchers faced the immediate challenge of moving farm animals.

Around 8:30 a.m. Monday, Carleen Weirauch of Weirauch Farm & Creamery, a farmstead cheese dairy on Petaluma Hill Road in Santa Rosa, posted a photoon Facebook of her dairy herd with flames on the horizon. She wrote, “Lord please keep my animals safe.” [read more]


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