SOS for Farming is Save Our Soil
Land trusts and agricultural conservation easements are “tools” for farmers to use, says long-time San Joaquin Valley agricultural reporter Don Curlee. However, he finds that they are not being utilized as well as they could be.
Agricultural conservation easements, often funded by state and federal agencies or locally through mitigation funds, enable farmers to sell their development rights just like a commodity. When the purchaser is an agricultural land trust, like Sequoia Riverlands Trust or Central Valley Farmland Trust, the farmland is secured in perpetuity. The land trust is charged with protecting the agricultural conservation easement and builds a stewardship fund to budget for this ongoing and future obligation.
If we are to “save our soil” and offer farmers economic benefits for conserving farmland, then agricultural conservation easements are one of the most versatile business tools for a farmer to use.