Farm Trails Board of Directors Issues Statement Opposing Measure J

Sonoma County Farm Trails is OPPOSED to the proposed local ballot Measure J, that is put forth by the Coalition to End Factory Farming to prohibit the operation of those local farms asserted as Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs). We join in the Sonoma County Family Farms Alliance effort and the “No on Measure J” campaign in urging our friends and members to consider helping to defeat this misguided measure that will be detrimental to our local farming community and economy.

Measure J targets Sonoma County family-owned farms that have been producing fresh, nutritious, and sustainable food for over 100 years. Measure J will devastate local food production, which would make our region more dependent on out-of-area production—driving up food costs and limiting food security—especially during major disasters. It would lead to higher greenhouse gas emissions for food transportation far from source, and put our county at a disadvantage for preserving open working landscapes.

During their May 14th meeting, the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors heard a presentations from Sonoma County staff, including the Sonoma County University of California Cooperative Extension and the Sonoma County Agriculture Commissioner, that quantified the enormous economic damage that this measure would cost our local economy. The report acknowledged $259 million in locally produced agricultural products would be lost. In addition, a study by the Agribusiness Institute at Cal State Chico expected a $121 million hit on affiliated businesses, such as veterinarians and animal feed providers, as well as tourism. The report also noted a $38 million reduction in consumer spending attributable to jobs lost because of Measure J. This measure would limit jobs and limit the amount of local ethically grown and raised food in our shared community. Click here to read the full report and presentation. 

The goal of this effort is to limit animal agriculture production. Sonoma County family farms adhere to established standards for ensuring animal welfare, and a significant portion of farms follow organic practices. Many of our local farms also promote third-party certification programs for humane and ethical treatment of farm animals. The restrictions imposed by Measure J are simply excessive and unnecessary.

Furthermore, this measure would diminish carbon sequestration efforts currently underway through grazing practices. It hinders our progress on fire-safe landscapes that incorporate grazing for firebreaks around our communities, as it removes an estimated 2.9 million farm animals from Sonoma County. If this measure passes, the agricultural grazing of thousands of acres of pasture and open space could be lost forever and those lands potentially converted to development.

Sonoma County Farm Trails mission is to “ensure the continuing economic viability of Sonoma County agriculture by instilling an appreciation of ag as a vital part of our community/lifestyle.” Measure J conflicts with our shared mission of keeping farms forever. We want to ensure that Sonoma County’s agriculture landscape continues to thrive as a bucolic, sustainable, fiber- and food-producing region for generations to come. We stand with our family farmers and invite you to join the effort or learn more at NoOnMeasureJ.com.

Also read the Sonoma County Chapter of CAFF's position on Measure J here.

Sonoma County Farm Trails is a 501(c)(6) nonprofit organization that has worked for over 50 years to promote farmers and to educate the public about the importance of supporting local agriculture. Sustainable, small-scale, and humane animal agriculture has been an integral part of Sonoma County Farm Trails since its founding. Approximately one-third of our membership is involved in animal agriculture, either raising animals at any scale for food and fiber, using locally sourced products from animal ag (creameries, butchers, food purveyors, restaurants), or selling locally raised meat, dairy products, or fiber (farmers’ markets, grocery stores).

Sonoma County Farm Trails Board of Directors, July 9, 2024