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FACTS & INFORMATION

  • Who is advocating for such a far-reaching measure affecting the agricultural industry?
    An animal extremist group based in Berkeley recently qualified a “Prohibition on Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations” initiative with the Sonoma County Registrar of Voters Office. The extremists’ goal is simple: to eliminate animal agriculture and food production and in doing so, decimate our local agricultural economy, which is largely comprised of multi-generational farming families. Measure J would prohibit any new CAFO’s from being established, and force the shut-down of family farming operations that are designated as CAFO’s (including nearly all the egg, poultry, and dairy industry in Sonoma County) within three years of the measure’s passage.
  • What impact will Measure J have on family farmers?
    Many of our farmers are multi-generational family farmers. Measure J will no doubt put Sonoma County family farmers and diverse agriculture out of business.
  • What is a “CAFO”?
    A CAFO is a designation by US EPA by which appropriate regulations and oversight are employed to ensure the protection of natural resources. The designation of a CAFO includes confinement for at least 45 days or more. In Sonoma County, even organic, pasture-based dairies can be designated as a CAFO in that they house their animals in the winter months to offer clean-dry bedding, housing, and food to the animals while ensuring the protection of soil and pasture health.
  • Does a CAFO mean an animal is confined at all times?
    No. Operations that utilize the outdoors and pasture to raise their animals who may need to house them for more than 45 days in a year can be a CAFO. In Sonoma County, the confinement of animals in the winter months is done to offer clean-dry bedding, housing, and food while ensuring the protection of soil, pasture health, and natural resources. The winter months include more than 45 days.
  • What types of family farms are classified as CAFO’s that would be affected by Measure J?
    Those that supply eggs, meat, and milk to companies like Petaluma Egg Farm, Rocky and Rosie (Free Range Organic Chicken), Clover Sonoma, and Straus Family Creamery would be directly affected by Measure J.
  • Are there any protections against animal confinement in our area?
    Yes. California’s Proposition 12, arguably the nation’s strongest animal welfare law, already provides protections against the continued confinement of animals (specifically veal calves, breeding pigs, and egg-laying hens), and ensures these animals are given the ability to move around freely, even in an operation considered a CAFO. At the local level, farms that would be affected by Measure J already follow third-party animal welfare standards, including audits to ensure the care and well-being of farm animals.
  • How would local farm workers be affected by Measure J?
    The farms targeted by Measure J employ many people. As part of their employment, many of these farm workers are provided with housing. Should Measure J pass, these farm workers will not only be unemployed, but will no longer have housing for themselves and their families.
  • If Measure J passes, would it increase greenhouse gas emissions?
    Yes. By essentially shutting down certain agricultural businesses in Sonoma County, to address future food shortages that would be caused by Measure J, trucking companies would likely have to drive long distances to import our food from areas outside our region, state, or even country. An increase in long-distance truck trips will undoubtedly increase particulate emissions and other harmful greenhouse gases.
  • If Measure J passes, would it impact our local economy and drive up food prices?
    Yes. If Measure J passes, it would likely leave multi-generational farming families without a livelihood and ability to sustain their businesses, putting local employers out of business and costing numerous jobs. To make matters worse, by reducing the availability of fresh, sustainable dairy and poultry products, these products would have to be sourced from other regions or states, increasing transportation costs to get food into our community, further driving up the cost of many poultry and dairy products.
  • If Measure J passes, would it increase the scarcity of locally-sourced food in Sonoma County?
    Yes. The passage of Measure J would drastically reduce the availability of locally-sourced, ethically-raised animal products in Sonoma County, including milk, eggs, meat (chicken and duck), and cheese. This would likely force consumers to buy more food produced outside the county or even the state from areas with fewer animal protections than California offers.
  • If Measure J passes, would it affect the County's budget?
    Yes. The passage of Measure J implies the regulatory enforcement of the Ordinance by the Sonoma County Department of Agriculture/Weights & Measures, requiring additional monies to fund the Department. In addition, the passage of Measure J also requires that the County of Sonoma be responsible for retraining any farm employees who are displaced from their farm jobs as a result of Measure J. Both of these require taxpayer dollars to implement.
  • What are the steps in the initiative process, and when will an election on Measure J be held?
    After a signature-gathering effort led by supporters of Measure J, the Sonoma County Registrar of Voters Office received the proponent’s petitions in an attempt to place Measure J on the ballot on March 4, 2024. On March 27th, the Registrar of Voters certified that the petitions contained a sufficient number of valid signatures to be considered for the ballot, and as a result, the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors initiated an independent study to evaluate the initiative’s impacts as outlined in California Elections Code § 9111. On May 14th, the Board of Supervisors received the 9111 report, and voted to put the measure before voters as required by law, though, in doing so, the Board of Supervisors simultaneously voted unanimously to oppose Measure J, citing the existential threat to Sonoma County agriculture. The election for Measure J will be held on November 5, 2024, and appear on the general election ballot for registered voters in Sonoma County.
  • Are there individuals or organizations opposed to Measure J?
    The Sonoma County Farm Bureau, Sonoma County residents, and Sonoma County multi-generational family farmers that produce eggs, milk, poultry, and meat products stand in solidarity against Measure J. You can join our coalition of those opposed to Measure J by clicking here, and also look through our endorsements list to get a more comprehensive look at those opposed to Measure J.

Frequently Asked Questions

Sonoma County Calf with Bottle
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