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Farmland Trust in Stanislaus County Lecture 9 Planning Issues in Agriculture.

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1 Farmland Trust in Stanislaus County Lecture 9 Planning Issues in Agriculture

2 The Trust’s History  In 1999, to implement the countywide vision, the Supervisors authorized the Chairman of the Board to appoint a committee to study a land conservation program for Stanislaus County.  On June 9, 2000, after completing its study, the committee members formed the Stanislaus Farmland Trust (“Trust”) and agreed to serve on a voluntary basis as the founding Board of the Trust.  Non-profit 501 (c) (3) corporation.  An all-volunteer 11-member Board of Directors, who live and work in the Stanislaus County.  In 2005, the Stanislaus Farmland Trust joined with 3 other county Farmland Trusts to become the Central Valley Farmland Trust

3 The Farmland Trusts’ Shared Mission and Guiding Principles Mission…  Protect farmland primarily through the purchase and donation of conservation easements from willing seller;  Obtain funding to acquire, hold and oversee conservation easements; and  Promote educational programs, policies, projects, and community involvement to protect farmland and Stanislaus County’s agricultural economy and heritage.

4 Guiding Principles  Private, non-governmental.  Local Control.  Protect Private Property Rights – only voluntary transactions.  Promote Policies for Economic Viability of Agriculture.

5 Agriculture Conservation Easements  Property owner agrees to certain restrictions over the type and amount of development.  Property owner receives payment that reflects the difference between the value of the land without the restrictions of the agricultural conservation easement and the value of the land with such restrictions.  Value is based on a formal appraisal.

6 And…  Donation of conservation easements tax deductions and/or tax credits and to minimize estate taxes.  Title remains with the landowner.  Usually allows any farming activity, the construction of agricultural-related buildings, some housing.  “Runs with the land in perpetuity”.

7 Funding Sources  Public, i.e. park bond money under the Department of Conservation Farmland Conservancy Program.  Private: Individual donations and foundations, i.e. Great Valley Center Ag. Land Transactions Program.  Farm Bill  Mitigation Fees (Kaiser)

8 Guidelines for the Selection of Agriculture Conservation Easements By Farmland Trusts (fairly uniform for most Trusts)

9 Soils…  Farmland evaluated by the California Department of Conservation Farmland Mapping and Monitoring Program as being will receive the highest priority.  Farmland evaluated by the California Department of Conservation Farmland Mapping and Monitoring Program as being “Prime farmland” or “Farmland of Statewide Significance” will receive the highest priority.  The Farmland Trust might also consider farmland designated as property that has significant value to the regional agricultural industry regardless of soil characteristics.

10 Water  The property has a dependable and sustainable supply of high quality water for irrigation.

11 The property is agriculturally viable  The land is large enough to sustain commercial agricultural production.  The property is not substantially surrounded by urban development such that its continued agricultural viability is threatened.  The property may serve as an effective buffer to further urban development of valued agricultural lands.

12 Urbanization pressure  The property may be subject to urbanization pressure within the foreseeable future.

13 Consistent with Community plans and goals  Existing community goals, plans, and political boundaries are compatible with permanent agricultural use of the property:  The property is currently zoned for agriculture.  The property is outside the primary sphere of influence of a city or a community service district.

14 Administration Of The Central Valley Farmland Trust  Selected Board  Supported by the Great Valley Center  And the American Farmland Trust  Both organizations provide Technical and some administrative support.

15 American Farmland Trust  American Farmland Trust is the only national, nonprofit membership organization dedicated to protecting agricultural resources. Founded in 1980, AFT’s mission is to stop the loss of productive farmland and to promote farming practices that lead to a healthy environment. Founded in 1980, AFT’s mission is to stop the loss of productive farmland and to promote farming practices that lead to a healthy environment.

16 “American Farmland Trust is the most powerful force in the struggle to save our nation’s farmland…and the organization that’s done the most to preserve the land that sustains a healthy agricultural economy.” Richard Rominger Deputy Secretary, Deputy Secretary, U.S. Department of Agriculture

17 WHY SAVE FARMLAND?  America’s farmland is its most productive natural resource. The nearly 1 billion acres of land in agricultural use are responsible for:  Serving as the foundation for our food and fiber industry, which provides jobs for approximately 20 percent of the work force and contributes $820 billion to the Gross National Product.  Feeding, clothing and housing 250 million people in the United States and millions more abroad.

18  Generating a net tax surplus for local economies.  Providing scenic open space, many times just a short distance from urban areas.  Offering food and habitat for diverse wildlife.  Providing recreational and tourist opportunities.  Maintaining municipal watersheds. WHY SAVE FARMLAND? … continued

19 WHAT’S HAPPENING TO AMERICA’S AGRICULTURAL RESOURCES?  Every minute, we lose two acres of productive farmland to urban sprawl – shopping malls, housing subdivisions and the like. That’s 1 million acres annually.  Since the first Earth Day in 1970, we’ve lost more than 40 million acres of farmland to development. In North Carolina and Florida, 283,000 acres of cropland disappear each year. In California it’s 100,000.

20 WHAT’S HAPPENING TO AMERICA’S AGRICULTURAL RESOURCES?...and  Each year, we lose 2 billion tons of topsoil to wind and water erosion. As many as 1 billion tons wash into nearby waterways, carrying away the Earth’s natural nutrients and any fertilizers and pesticides that have been applied. This can damage water quality, fish and wildlife habitat and recreational opportunities.  Purchased fertilizers, pesticides and fuel are straining already tight farm budgets and threatening the environment. Farmers spend an estimated $8 billion on fertilizers and $6 billion on fuel each year. The overuse and misapplication of these inputs can threaten the land’s health and a farmer’s profitability.

21 AMERICAN FARMLAND TRUST: SAVING THE LAND THAT FEEDS AMERICA  AFT was founded in 1980 by a group of farmers and conservationists to address the loss of valuable farmland to development.  AFT’s concerns now extend to the quality and quantity of the nation’s agricultural resources. Since its beginning,  AFT, by itself and in concert with others, has protected thousands of acres of farmland across the country.

22  AFT assists individual landowners, private groups and public agencies in meeting their farmland protection goals – goals ranging from protecting farmland from urbanization and eliminating soil erosion to reducing agriculture’s impact on the environment.

23 AFT’s action-oriented programs include:  Public Education  Technical Assistance in Policy Development  Direct Farmland Protection Projects

24 INFORMING THE PUBLIC  AFT’s public education efforts seek to create public awareness of the threats confronting the nation’s farmland and show how these threats can best be addressed.  AFT’s publications, reports and case studies  Aft’s award winning magazine, American Farmland, and its national technical newsletter, Farmland Update  AFT’s conferences, seminars and workshops offer an opportunity for experts to share land-protection strategies,  In November 1995, AFT brought participants together for an International conference on enhancing the environment through agriculture.

25 DEVELOPING FARMLAND FRIENDLY POLICY  AFT helps officials on the local, state and national levels create public policies that address the threats confronting farmland and offer encouragement for good stewardship.  AFT provides technical expertise to policymakers at all levels.  Relying on surveys and research generated by its Center for Agriculture in the Environment on the campus of Northern Illinois University, AFT not only helps to design and implement programs but also mobilizes support behind them.

26 EXPANDING PROTECTION OPTIONS  AFT’s demonstration projects offer examples of how a private organization can help expand the farmland conservation options available to many farmers by working with a few.  LAND PROTECTION – Through land protection projects, AFT works with farmers and other property owners to protect land using conservation easements and other tools.  Easements are legally recorded agreements between the landowner and AFT ensuring farmland remains permanently in agricultural use or open space.  AFT has directly protected more than 45,000 acres of productive farmland in 18 states. AFT has assisted local trusts in protecting thousands of additional acres.

27 AFT  MEMBERS: AFT has some 30,000 members and donors nationwide. AFT’s members include farmers, conservationists, educators and business people.  STAFF: AFT has 35 staff members in six offices. Diverse academic and professional backgrounds allow AFT to tackle agricultural resource conservation from all angles.  OFFICES: National:Washington, D.C. Field:Davis, Calif. Visalia, Calif. Northampton, Mass. Saratoga Springs, N.Y. Ft. Collins, Colo. Ft. Collins, Colo. Center for Agriculture In the EnvironmentDeKalb, Ill.

28 AFT  BOARD OF DIRECTORS: AFT’s Board of Directors represents farming and conservation interests from across the nation.  FUNDING: AFT’s income is derived from member contributions and foundation and corporate grants.  Its annual operating budget is $4 million.  AFT is a nonprofit, tax-exempt, charitable, 501-C-3 organization.

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