Nevada City, CA – This year, Nevada, Placer, and Yuba counties partnered to create a Disaster Livestock Access Program to support the safe evacuation of livestock from commercial ranch operations during a disaster such as a wildfire. The innovative multi-jurisdictional program was recognized with a 2022 Challenge Award by the California State Association of Counties (CSAC).

“Ranchers are an important part of our community,” said Nevada County Agricultural Commissioner Chris de Nijs. “In the event that Nevada County experiences a fire, this program will give them the ability to save the lives of animals and protect their livelihood.”

“The Nevada-Placer-Yuba Ag. Pass program is an amazing example of the agricultural industry working together with our local public safety partners to build a common-sense program that serves the needs of our ranching community without being overly bureaucratic,” said Placer County Agricultural Commissioner Josh Huntsinger. “Recognizing that natural disasters, and particularly catastrophic wildfire, will continue to factor into our livestock community’s business operations, the Ag. Pass program has already proven its value during the wildfires that have occurred in Placer County since the program’s inception.”

Over three training sessions, over 75 individuals are now certified with Livestock Access Pass cards for when disaster hits.

“The Livestock Access Pass solution is a well-thought-out way to balance the safety of those working in our ag community with the practicality of protecting our $25 million livestock industry during an emergency,” said Yuba County Agricultural Commissioner Steve Scheer. “It’s a program that is strengthened through some very careful collaboration among the three counties, and the effort has gained the appreciation of livestock ranchers throughout the region.”

Support and participation from UC Cooperative Extension, CAL FIRE, and the Sheriff and Office of Emergency Services in all three counties helped make the program possible. These partners all have critical roles in evacuations and protecting life and property against a wildfire.

CSAC Challenge Awards

The CSAC Challenge Awards are the State’s premier program recognizing and elevating the most innovative programs among California’s 58 counties.

“Congratulations to Nevada, Placer, and Yuba Counties and all our well-deserved Challenge Award winners,” said Graham Knaus, CSAC Executive Director. “Counties create, develop, and operate the most essential community services – often with shoestring funding and little to no recognition. CSAC looks forward to honoring the dedicated county leaders and employees who work to improve our communities each year through our Challenge Awards program.”

This year, CSAC received 370 entries, of which 18 were selected to receive a 2022 Challenge Award. Nevada County’s “Disaster Livestock Access Program” received a 2022 Challenge Award in the Rural Disaster & Emergency Response category. Additional information regarding the Disaster Livestock Access Program in Nevada County can be found at