Producers raising goats, sheep and swine will benefit from a bill signed into law this week that eases restrictions for on-farm slaughter operations.

The bill, sponsored by the California Farm Bureau, makes it easier to sell livestock at the farm where it was raised. According to the bill’s author, Asm. Marc Levine of San Rafael, this creates a much-needed opportunity for craft ranching and butchery operations and will strengthen local food systems. The measure aims to reduce transportation, animal stress and scheduling delays.

“Providing these small businesses with more flexibility through on-farm harvest is a more humane way to treat the animals and is better for our environment,” said Levine in a statement.

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Gov. Gavin Newsom has also signed a measure that seeks to bolster research into emerging infectious diseases related to agriculture. The hope is to head off viruses like COVID-19 before they jump to humans and lead to the next pandemic.

“Diseases, pests and other contaminants threaten the integrity, reliability and sustainability of our food systems, which if left unchecked, threaten human health,” explained Sen. Melissa Hurtado of Sanger, the bill’s author.

The resulting fund will support research grants at various California State University campuses. The measure had initially proposed $700,000 for CDFA to allocate to CSU Fresno, but amendments later removed that and the state has not designated any funding.