A new resource called Match.Graze is aimed at helping increase the amount of grazing done in California. The online platform connects landowners that have grazing needs with livestock owners. The resource was developed by the University of California Cooperative Extension. The idea is that by facilitating more grazing activities it can have a meaningful impact on reducing wildfire fuels.
“What we’re doing is encouraging livestock producers to sign up on this website. It’s free of charge. They can tell whatever they want to tell about themselves, create their own profile, and then a landowner can do the same. They can sign up their property, some of their particulars, and what they’re looking for,” said Stephanie Larson, UC Livestock and Range Management Farm Advisor. “Then hopefully people can look back and forth and make a match and we can have grazing in more areas in California to reduce fire fuels.”
Match.Graze is open to livestock owners of all types, including cattle, sheep, goats, and horses. Larson explained that they are working to show community members that there is not only one single way to graze. Individual areas and land parcels can require different approaches to grazing. “We’ve also provided some resources to help people to navigate through the website but then also to better understand grazing,” Larson noted.
The platform provides resources to help identity what animals may be best for individual situations and vegetation types. Match.Graze also provides details about the environmental benefits that grazing can provide aside from reducing wildfire fuels. Grazing plays a role in helping to prevent wildfire damage, but also in recovering from wildfires.
“We are really wanting to focus on the larger scale grazing operations for cattle, sheep, and goats so that we can really make some impacts on reducing the vegetation and reducing fire fuels in California,” said Larson. “We really have to be proactive whether it’s before a fire or after these fires. The vegetation that regrows is going to have to be managed and why not manage that with grazing?”
The website already has dozens of livestock owners and landowners signed up.