True, though it wasn’t always so. The missionaries began raising cattle here for hides and tallow in the 1770s, and the hungry miners of the Gold Rush finally made meat a profitable business. Prior to World War II, Orange County had about 30,000 head at any given time. Since then, our population has grown exponentially and grazing lands were converted into cities. Today, fewer than 600 head of cattle remain. Most are seasonal residents of Rancho Mission Viejo, with a few others in 4H programs, on public display, and in the few schools with “ag” programs. Lawyers in Orange County now outnumber cows about 30 to 1.
Chris Jepsen is the O.C. Answer Man. Have a question? Send it to firstname.lastname@example.org.