Monterey County farms will be
permanently shielded from development
under deals finalized today by the
Department of Conservation (DOC) and a
local land trust. The farms are owned by
the Dolan family in the Salinas Valley
and comprise 483 acres. The Monterey
County Agricultural and Historical Land
Conservancy received $1,033,000 from
DOCs California Farmland Conservancy
Program (CFCP) to fund the easement
purchase, and the conservancy will hold
the easements on the properties.
Californias tremendously fertile
farmland is whittled away by
development. Ensuring that we keep our
farmland in agriculture is vital to the
future of our state, said Secretary for
Resources Mike Chrisman, a
fourth-generation rancher. This project
is another step in our effort to
maintain agricultural production on some
of the best soil in the world.
One farm, 281 acres
of strawberries, is located 1.5 miles
northeast of Castroville. The other, 202
acres of vegetable row crops, is 1.5
miles southwest of Greenfield.
represents more than 40 percent of
Monterey Countys total economy,
Conservancy Managing Director Brian
Rianda noted. You cant have
agriculture without farmland, so
preserving as much as we can is vital.
Were grateful for the states support
of our efforts.
Farmland Conservancy Program,
administered by DOCs Division of Land
Resource Protection, is designed to
ensure that the state's most valuable
farmland will not be developed. Local
governments and non-profit organizations
can apply for CFCP funds to purchase
development rights from willing
landowners, thus creating permanent
leads the nation in agricultural
production, farmland is being converted
rapidly for development and other uses.
Nearly 54,000 acres of irrigated
farmland were taken out of production in
the state from 2000-02.
Theres enough room
in this state to accommodate both a
growing population and agriculture, DOC
Luther said. The agricultural
conservation easements funded by the
California Farmland Conservancy Program
are an important tool in striking a
balance beneficial to all.
Begun in 1996, the
CFCP has provided $47 million in grant
funding to permanently shield 33,000
acres of the states best and most
vulnerable agricultural land from
development. The state budget allocated
$15 million of Proposition 40 bond funds
to CFCP for fiscal year 2005-06. An
additional $9 million of Proposition 40
bond funds are targeted for farmland
conservation in the upcoming fiscal
CFCP funds are still
available for new grant proposals.
Landowners and trusts are encouraged to
Division of Land Resource Protection
for grant application information.
DOC also offers other land resource
protection programs through the
Williamson Act and Farmland Security
Zones that provide financial incentives
to keep land in agricultural use for
periods of 10 and 20 years.