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Marin County, California, the second largest oyster producer in the state.
It's also home to a shrinking number of dairies that are finding it tough to cope with increasing
environmental regulations: Rules that protect the bay, and the oysters, from potentially
harmful runoff created by cows.
Back in the '50s there were well over 200 dairies in west Marin or Marin County, period.
Today there are 23 or 24 dairies.
And what do you attribute that to?
A lot of regulation.
Now those dairy farmers are teaming up with scientists from UC Cooperative Extension to
create solutions, like these sediment basins that trap water runoff at the dairy.
There the sediment can settle, and manure can settle and then all the nutrients and
pathogens that are attached to them are here in this kind of material rather than making
it all the way down to the creek.
And what flows to the creek eventually flows into the bay where water quality is closely
monitored. When levels are too high, oyster farmers are unable to harvest — a problem
that used to create tension between these two important farming communities.
I think the dairymen understand that oyster farming is an important part of the community
and the economy here, and they like oysters, too, so I think they'd like to see us around.
And we buy their milk!
This area kind of from the top of the hill as you go down, this is our silage field.
This fifth-generation farmer admits it's the small steps and the big partnerships that
have meant growing harmony between dairy and oyster farmers. Both of whom are crucial to
the economy of Marin county and the future of farming.
These are all family-run farms and family-run oyster productions they're local business
folks and I'd just like to see that strength of that community maintained.
So seven generations in California, five generations in West Marin.
In Marin County, Kristen Simoes, for UC Davis.