Funding Available for Ag Land Preservation

CONTACT: Teresa Schilling (916) 323-1886 pao@conservation.ca.gov

SACRAMENTO – For the third year, the California Department of Conservation (DOC) today announced that funding will be available for projects that protect agricultural land and reduce greenhouse gases. Cities, counties, and land trusts are invited to apply for grants that will help California reduce greenhouse gas emissions, strengthen the economy, and improve public health and the environment.

Grants are made available through California’s Sustainable Agricultural Lands Conservation Program (SALC) and are funded through a portion of cap-and-trade auction proceeds dedicated to greenhouse gas reduction. The amount available has yet to be determined, but totaled more than $37 million last year. While complete applications are due August 1, the DOC encourages submission of pre-proposals by June 1, so that the department can help guide applicants through the process.

The investment we are announcing today to protect thousands of acres of our state’s agricultural lands is a monumental step forward in California’s efforts to fight climate change and preserve invaluable agriculture. This keeps important farmland in production while also helping to manage growth.
— California Resources Agency Secretary John Laird

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 Department of Conservation’s Division of Land Resource Protection (DLRP) administers the program on behalf of the SGC, and contributes expertise to the SALC Program by developing the guidelines used to evaluate proposals, managing an interagency team to review the proposals, and making recommendations for funding. After grants are awarded, DLRP works with applicants to successfully complete projects protecting California’s valuable agricultural resources.

Funding for agricultural conservation easements prevents increases in greenhouse gas emissions that would result if farms and ranches were converted to more intensive land uses, such as urban and suburban development.
— Kathryn Lyddan, Division Director for DLRP

The SALC Program is part of a larger effort by the SGC to help reduce emissions by supporting higherdensity development and low-emission transportation alternatives such as public transit usage and bike trails. The SGC prioritizes funding for projects that benefit disadvantaged communities.

For additional information or for grant application materials, please contact the SALC Program at (916) 324-0850 or www.conservation.ca.gov/dlrp/SALCP/Pages/Apply-for-Funding.aspx.