Agriculture, Ranching, Supporting MALT

Corporate Sponsor Spotlight: Straus Home Ranch

May 5, 2020

MALT protected since 1992, Straus Home Ranch is a vibrantly beautiful place. Owned and operated by Vivien, Michael and Miriam Straus — three of MALT founder Ellen Straus’s children — this 166-acre farm is nestled in a stunning cove on the eastern shore of Tomales Bay. 

The ranch’s rolling hills rise up from the Bay, and its rich green grasses and abundant water support young grazing heifers from the Taylor family’s Bivalve Dairy. The heifers will one day supply organic milk for artisan cheese made at the Taylors’ Bivalve Creamery. In addition to the black-and-white dairy cows dotting the hills, this ranch is home to a thriving events venue in the recently restored historic barn and iconic original farmhouse. 

The soil and grasslands at Straus Home Ranch are the happy benefactors of many new carbon farming practices identified in this ranch’s 2018 Carbon Farm Plan. Last year the Straus siblings spread compost on one of their upland pastures and added critical cross fencing to facilitate livestock rotation. This year, in addition to correcting some erosion that came with last winter’s heavy rains, the Straus siblings are looking forward to adding a windbreak planting and increasing vegetation in a few of the drainages that bisect the ranch. All of these practices will help the land hold on to water into the dry summers, increase forage for the cows, improve soil health and sequester carbon. 

“We want to leave this land better than when our parents left it to us,” say Vivien. “When our parents protected this place with a MALT conservation easement, that was just the beginning. It is our job to keep this ranch running and adapt as we learn how to do everything better.” As excited about the tree planting and new fencing as she was about the compost application last year, Vivien credits MALT’s Stewardship Assistance Program (SAP) with helping her and her siblings along the way. “SAP is awesome! I am so grateful to have MALT’s team of experts; they’re always willing to help us, answer our questions and offer suggestions.” 

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Learn more about MALT’s SAP program.