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).
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