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Petaluma ranchers beefing about slaughterhouse access

Matt Brown, PETALUMA ARGUS COURIER

Last month, Pam Torliatt loaded 25 grass-fed black Angus beef cows onto trucks and shipped them off for sale. The mass exodus represented a quarter of the herd she raised with partner Leo Ghirardelli on organic pastures in Tomales and Pepper Road west of Petaluma.

Since starting the Progressive Pastures label in 2006, Torliatt has peddled beef at Petaluma Market, giving local customers the satisfaction that their food was raised, harvested and sold within a 16-mile radius.

But all that is coming to an end after this year.

Marin Sun Farms, which owns the slaughterhouse on Petaluma Boulevard North — the only USDA-certified meat processing plant in the Bay Area — has informed ranchers that, starting in January, it will no longer process animals for private labels such as Progressive Pastures.

“This puts us out of the business of selling to the retail market,” said Torliatt, a former Petaluma mayor. “Knowing that our community is losing the ability to harvest locally, it’s going to have a tremendous impact on agricultural infrastructure. It’s going to have a negative affect on local agriculture.”

Read more at https://www.petaluma360.com/home/a1/10320684-181/petaluma-ranchers-beefing-about-slaughterhouse

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Marin County ranchers, residents debate slaughter proposals

Robert Digitale, THE PRESS DEMOCRAT
Efforts by the Marin County ranching community to obtain more local options for killing and processing livestock have run into opposition from residents who don’t want slaughter operations there.
The Marin County Board of Supervisors next week will consider language that would allow ranchers to bring mobile slaughter units onto their properties for cattle and other livestock. The provisions also would allow permanent, small-scale poultry processing facilities on farmlands.
Marin ranchers echo what their counterparts around the North Coast have long maintained: A lack of slaughter facilities in the region threatens to hold back the growth of niche livestock operations that offer grass-fed beef and other premium meats. Petaluma does have a slaughterhouse in operation for cattle and other animals, but for years the region’s ranchers have taken sheep, hogs and poultry to processing plants in the Central Valley.
“If the consumers want a local food movement, then the county needs to support it,” said Lisa Poncia, who owns Stemple Creek Ranch outside Tomales with her husband Loren, a fourth-generation rancher there.
Read more at: Marin County ranchers, residents debate slaughter proposals | The Press Democrat

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Petaluma’s Marin Sun Farms merges with Marin meat business 

Robert Digitale, THE PRESS DEMOCRAT
Petaluma meat processor Marin Sun Farms is merging with Mindful Meats, a Point Reyes Station business that sells organic meats processed from the region’s dairy herds.
As part of the merger, Mindful Meats will become an organic beef product line of Marin Sun Farms. Marin Sun’s founder David Evans will remain CEO, and Mindful Meats CEO Claire Herminjard will become co-executive of Marin Sun.
Financial details of the merger weren’t disclosed.
Marin Sun operates the North Bay’s last slaughterhouse for beef and other animals. The company employs 55 workers at its Petaluma plant, plus a butcher shop staff of 10 at its Oakland store and four employees at its Point Reyes Station butcher shop and restaurant.
Mindful Meats touts its “dual purpose” use of organic dairy cows that for years provide milk and then are used for meat.
Source: Petaluma’s Marin Sun Farms merges with Marin meat business | The Press Democrat

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Meat processor moving operations to Petaluma

Robert Digitale, THE PRESS DEMOCRAT
Meat processor Marin Sun Farms is moving its “cut-and-wrap” butcher operation from San Francisco to the once-shuttered Petaluma slaughterhouse that it purchased and reopened last spring.
The San Francisco-based company, owned by fourth-generation rancher David Evans, on Friday announced that at year’s end it would consolidate “all harvesting, processing and distribution operations” at its plant on Petaluma Boulevard North.
“It’s going to bring about 35 jobs to Petaluma,” Evans said Friday.
He acknowledged the consolidation would save the company some money, but said the larger benefit would be to have his operations less spread out and closer to the North Bay ranchers who raise pasture-fed beef and other animals.
“And,” he said, “it fits better with the culture of Petaluma and the North Bay than it does in downtown San Francisco.”
A Sonoma County farm official and a local rancher applauded the news for bringing jobs and production that will add to the area’s specialty food sector.
Read more via Marin Sun Farms moving 35 jobs to Petaluma | The Press Democrat.