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NR 2006-23
August 30, 2006

Contact: Ed Wilson
Mark Oldfield
Don Drysdale
(916) 323-1886

YOLO COUNTY PRIME FARMLAND PRESERVED FOR AGRICULTURE

Local contact: Kathryn Kelly, Yolo Land Trust, (530) 795-3110

A 137-acre Yolo County farm with significant agricultural, historical and aesthetic value has been permanently shielded from development and set aside for agriculture. The Pollock Farm has been placed in an agricultural conservation easement thanks to the efforts of the owners -- a longtime Yolo County farming family -- and the Yolo Land Trust. The California Department of Conservation and the Great Valley Center provided funding support for the project.

“This project is another step in our effort to maintain agricultural production on some of the best soil in the world,” said Secretary for Resources Mike Chrisman, a fourth-generation rancher. “Development whittles away a good portion of California’s tremendously fertile farmland each year. Keeping as much of our farmland in agriculture as possible is vital to the future of our state.”

The farm, owned and farmed by Herb and Lynnel Pollock with their sons Brad and Greg, grows a variety of commodities, including specialty seed crops. With a farming history in Yolo County dating to the 1890s, the Pollock family is a leader in the local agricultural community.

In addition to serving two terms as Yolo County Supervisor, Lynnel Pollock has been president of the Yolo County Farm Bureau, was one of the founders of the Yolo Land Trust and currently is the executive director of the Cache Creek Conservancy.

“As a county supervisor, I have seen the intense pressure there is to develop prime farmland such as this farm,” she said. “We purchased this farm with the intention of permanently protecting it with an agricultural conservation easement. It gives me great satisfaction to look across these fertile fields and know that this land is preserved for farming.”

Herb Pollock heads the family’s farming operation and has served the agricultural community in various positions over the years. He currently serves on the California Corn Growers Association and is on the board of the Knights Landing Ridge Drainage District.

“My family began farming in Yolo County over a hundred years ago and my boys are continuing that heritage,” he said. “This soil is the best there is. It is essential to protect it, because once it’s lost, it is lost forever, and there’s no replacement.”

Located within 1.5 miles of Woodland’s sphere of influence and just southeast of the community of Yolo, the farm is adjacent to an Interstate 5 interchange. The property fronts a three-quarter-mile reach of Cache Creek, which provides important wildlife habitat. The property is known to have historical and cultural significance. It was part of the Yolo Orchards, an early agricultural enterprise in the county. Buildings onsite include an old Wells Fargo stage stop and bank building dating back to the late 1800s.

“We are delighted and honored to have worked with the Pollock family and our funding partners to protect this farm,” said Kathryn Kelly, executive director of the Yolo Land Trust. “It is really exciting to know that generations in the future, this farm will be growing food for someone’s great, great grandchildren and will be providing habitat and open space in Yolo County.”

The annual value of Yolo County's farms and ranches is more than $300 million in direct production. The Yolo Land Trust is a private, non-profit corporation founded in 1988 by farmers, community leaders and conservationists dedicated to protecting Yolo County's farmland and habitat lands.

“Between 2000 and 2002, Yolo County lost, on average, 11 acres of farmland every day to development,” Department of Conservation Director Bridgett Luther said. “Given the Pollock Farm’s location, it’s not hard to imagine pressure from commercial and residential developers in the near future. This property is a great example of what our California Farmland Conservancy Program (CFCP) is designed to protect.”

The CFCP is designed to ensure that the state's most valuable farmland will not be developed. Although California 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.

Begun in 1996, the CFCP has provided $47 million in grant funding to permanently shield 33,000 acres of the state’s best and most vulnerable agricultural land from development.

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