Get a group of farmers and ranchers together and they will tell you without hesitation California's historic drought is driving up the cost of food.
The Center for Land-Based Learning, a non-profit teaching people how to farm, held its annual fundraiser at the Oracle Conference Center in Redwood City this weekend. In the glossy lobby, Matt Byrne of SunFed Ranch cut an incongruous figure in his cowboy hat and boots. SunFed is based in Woodland, west of Sacramento. The beef is sold all over the state.
Byrne says the company is trimming its herd because there simply isn't enough water.
"Ranchers usually feel the effects of drought early because each season we count on winter rains to provide the base for our feed for the entire year," Byrne says. "Our operation, especially as a grass-fed operation, is based on raising cattle on grass, not on grain."
That means importing more expensive hay and reducing the number of cattle.