California Farmland Conservancy Program

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The California Farmland Conservancy Program (CFCP) is a statewide grant program that supports local efforts to establish agricultural conservation easements and planning projects for the purpose of preserving important agricultural land resources. 

CFCP was created by the California Farmland Conservancy Program Act of 1995 to:

  • Encourage voluntary, long-term private stewardship of agricultural lands
  • Protect farming and ranching operations in agricultural areas from nonfarm or nonranch land uses that may hinder or curtail such operations
  • Encourage long-term conservation of productive agricultural lands in order to protect the agricultural economy of rural communities, as well as that of the state, for future generations of Californians
  • Encourage local land use planning for orderly and efficient urban growth and conservation of agricultural land
  • Encourage local land use planning decisions that are consistent with the state's agricultural land conservation policies
  • Encourage improvements to enhance long-term sustainable agricultural uses​​

CFCP provides grants to qualifying applicants, primarily land trusts, to purchase agricultural conservation easements.  Each easement project must meet standards for the State's investment, including a willing seller, documented development pressure, local government support, and match funding.  Agricultural conservation easements involve extensive negotiation and relationship-building between the participants.  The use of agricultural conservation easements represents a long-term commitment by landowners, local governments, and land trusts to conserve and steward agricultural land resources.  CFCP also provides policy planning grants to develop and evaluate local and regional land conservation strategies and potential conservation projects.

 Since its inception, CFCP has completed more than 184 agricultural conservation easements on 59,498 acres of strategically important farmland.  Funding has come from a variety of sources, including the General Fund, the Environmental License Plate Fund, the Soil Conservation Fund, and proceeds from Propositions 12, 40, and 84. For every dollar spent by CFCP on easements, match funding has generated another $1.04 for agricultural land protection. 

$1.3 million was made available in 2018 for easement acquisition grant funding under the California Farmland Conservancy Program (CFCP).

Other Information and Resources

The application process takes between four and six months. After projects are approved, the easement acquisition process can take anywhere between six months and two years. Title issues are common causes for delay.

DLRP staff are available to work with eligible applicants regarding a project's suitability for funding under CFCP. 

After completed applications are submitted, they are reviewed for consistency with requirements. Proposals are recommended to the Director of the Department of Conservation (Department) for funding no more than 180 days following confirmation that each application is complete. The Director makes the final determination regarding which projects are awarded.  

Applicants whose projects are approved for funding will enter into a grant agreement with the Department. ​The signed grant agreement includes conditions for funding disbursal, a budget, and an implementation schedule for completing the project. Grants must be completed within two years.  ​