New Ranchers, New Needs: Why are first-generational ranchers deciding against traditional climate adaptation strategies?

Project Overview

GW18-020
Project Type: Graduate Student
Funds awarded in 2018: $24,982.00
Projected End Date: 09/30/2019
Grant Recipient: University of California - Davis
Region: Western
State: California
Graduate Student:
Major Professor:

Commodities

  • Animals: bovine, goats, sheep
  • Animal Products: dairy, fiber, fur, leather, meat

Practices

  • Animal Production: rangeland/pasture management
  • Education and Training: networking
  • Sustainable Communities: ethnic differences/cultural and demographic change, local and regional food systems, quality of life, social networks

    Abstract:

    There is a crisis in California's livestock production system, marked by climatic extremes and rapid aging of the rancher population. Amid this crisis, there is both a critical need and an opportunity for a new generation of ranchers who can adaptively manage for an uncertain future. Based on preliminary analysis, California's first-generation ranchers (FGRs) are a diverse demographic who desire to practice sustainable ranching, yet under-utilize traditional ranching information sources and are less likely to use common climate adaptation strategies (e.g., conservative stocking rates) when compared to multi-generational ranchers. 

    The overall project goal is to enhance FGRs’ climate adaptation capacity as well as outreach organizations’ abilities to meet the needs of this new clientele. The project uses mixed-methods (interviews, surveys) of ranchers and shepherds who manage cattle, goats and sheep across California. Project objectives include, 

    1. Conduct a regional comparison of FGRs to determine how decision-making influences adaptation to climate change and quality of life.
    2. Develop appropriate resources and outreach strategies to improve climate adaptation practices and FGR quality of life.
    3. Host three regional workshops to facilitate knowledge exchange.
    4. Improve rancher organizations’ outreach strategies.

    This project incorporates FGR collaborating ranchers, UC Davis Rangeland Extension Specialists, and the network of Cooperative Extension advisors to ensure usefulness of the project from conception to outreach. Outreach will include workshops, presentations, publications and webinar. Expected outcomes include improved climate adaptation for FGRs and targeted outreach efficacy. 

    Project objectives:

    1. Conduct a regional comparison of FGRs to determine how decision-making influences adaptation to climate change and quality of life.
    2. Develop appropriate resources and outreach strategies to improve climate adaptation practices and FGR quality of life.
    3. Host three regional workshops to facilitate knowledge exchange.
    4. Improve rancher organizations’ outreach strategies.
    Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or SARE.