Funding Available for Conservation of At-Risk Ag Land

The screenshot above of the www.firstgenerationfarmers.org homepage shows part of the 520-acre property to be preserved through a SALC Agricultural Conservation Easement.

The Sustainable Agricultural Lands Conservation Program (SALC Program) is now accepting applications for Agricultural Conservation Easement grants and Agricultural Land Strategy and Outcome grants.

SALC is the first program in the country to invest in farmland conservation for its climate benefits. California has been losing 50,000 acres of farmland per year, on average, and those converted, urban acres can contribute 70 times more greenhouse gas emissions compared to farmland acres. CalCAN began advocating for such a program in 2013 with the release of our report, Triple Harvest: Farmland Conservation for Climate Protection, Smart Growth and Food Security in California.

Launched by the Strategic Growth Council (SGC) in 2015, the SALC Program dedicated $4.6 million to agricultural conservation easements and planning grants in its first year. In 2016, it awarded $37.4 million in grants to preserve 20 properties, protecting 19,000 acres of agricultural land. Among the properties that will be shielded from development are a 129-acre farm just outside of Salinas on some of the most productive and desirable land in Monterey County, and a 520-acre property adjacent to Discovery Bay on which fifth-generation family farmers grow organic produce and run a non-profit agricultural education program.

The 520 acres (highlighted in purple above) were nearly sold to a developer between 2013-2016. The SALC easement protecting them now will prohibit the eastward expansion of the town of Discovery Bay. In addition to growing organic produce, the fifth generation farmers who own the property also run a farm incubator program, an afterschool program, and a farm program for special education students. The farm has donated more than 60,000 pounds of organic produce to local food banks.

The 2016-17 SALC Program Guidelines and Request for Grant Applications are available here.

  • Pre-proposal deadline: June 1, 2017
  • Application deadline: August 1, 2017

Organizations interested in applying for funding are encouraged to submit a pre-proposal to receive technical assistance in identifying their eligibility and developing their application. Interested landowners should contact a land trust in their area to begin the application process. Visit California Council of Land Trusts to find a land trust near you!

Have questions? Contact the SALC Program team at (916) 324-0850 or cfcp@conservation.ca.gov for more information.

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