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photo credit: Flicker/Jill Clardy

Sonoma County's rolling hills may be emerald green right now, but the region is still in "extreme drought," per the U.S. Drought Monitor.

The ongoing drought is making it harder for California ranchers to provide water for livestock, forcing some to downsize their herds.

Loren Poncia the co-owner of Stemple Creek Ranch near Tomales in Marin County.  

"We sold quite a few mama cows and we moved a lot of cattle off of our ranches to other places further north in other parts of the state that had water," Poncia said.

He said last month's historic rain storm that deluged Northern California with several inches of rain has brought about a reprieve from downsizing herds.

"Now that it has rained and we are starting to have some stock water and we actually got a pretty decent start to the grass growing, we've brought most of those cattle back home."

But long-range weather forecasts show dry conditions continuing.

A survey by the American Farm Bureau finds more than 65-percent of farm and ranch businesses in the Western U-S report selling off portions of herds is prevalent in their areas.  

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