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Sustainable Agricultural Land Conservation (SALC)


FUNDING LEVEL: Continuous allocation of 10% of Affordable Housing and Sustainable Communities funding
ADMINISTERING AGENCY: Natural Resources Agency, Department of Conservation, Program guidelines by the Strategic Growth Council
ELIGIBLE APPLICANTS: Counties and/or cities are eligible to apply as the lead applicant(s) in collaboration with other partners (e.g., agricultural organizations, land trusts, open space districts)

Program Description

The Sustainable Agricultural Lands Conservation (SALC) Program is a component of the Affordable Housing and Sustainable Communities (AHSC) Program. This program provides grants and/or loans to projects that will achieve GHG reductions by protecting agricultural lands through investments in strategic planning and agricultural easements, with the goals of avoiding greater GHG emissions from non-agricultural development and sequestering carbon. Other benefits include ensuring food security, energy conservation, protecting wildlife habitat and supporting both flood mitigation and groundwater recharge. Competitive projects leverage protection of strategically located, highly productive and critically threatened agricultural land. Funding is also available for Sustainable Agricultural Land Strategy Plans to inventory and evaluate which lands are most productive and critically threatened and to develop local plans to protect them. Project examples include the development of community consensus-building for an agricultural land strategy, identification of potential agricultural easement projects and innovation incentives for GHG reduction through financial or technical tools.

Visit the Strategic Growth Council’s grant page to learn more.

Successful Project Outcomes

  • GHG emission reductions through changes in development patterns
  • Increased carbon sequestration
  • Improved watershed health and groundwater recharge
  • Increased access to recreational and educational programs for disadvantaged communities
  • Strengthened agricultural economy

Funded Projects

Butte County (2014-2015) – The county received $100,000 to develop a Sustainable Agricultural Land Strategy. The purpose of this planning effort is to identify the county’s most productive and critically important agricultural land, develop a model program and adopt the necessary policies to ensure that these lands are not prematurely or unnecessarily converted to more intensive non-agricultural uses. GHG benefits will be realized by avoiding the conversion of prime agricultural lands to more intensive non-agricultural uses. Implementing a model sustainable farm program through best management practices will reduce industry wide GHG emissions and capitalize on agriculture’s potential to sequester carbon.

Mono County (2014-2015) – The Eastern Sierra Land Trust has been awarded $917,500 to purchase a 2,475 acre property owned and operated by the same family for multiple generations. The property is summer grazing ground for a large cow-calf operation. There are approximately 1,800 acres of irrigated pasture and 683 acres of non-irrigated grazing. The property is a key component of the approximately 23,000 acres of open pasture and rangeland that surround Bridgeport. The Bridgeport Valley forms the largest single concentration of privately-owned land in Mono County. The federal Natural Resources Conservation Service has designated this property as Grassland of Special Environmental Significant (high-quality grasslands that are under the threat of conversion to cropping, urban development and other non-grazing uses).

Tulare County (2015-16) – Sequoia Riverlands Trust has been awarded $1,600,000 to conserve a 260-acre organic citrus orchard in Tulare County, located three miles south of Porterville and 18 miles east of Hwy 99 at the base of the foothills. The farm is in the “citrus belt” of Tulare County with extensive citrus orchards planted in all directions. The farm is one of very few organic citrus orchards in Tulare County, if not the state and has 80 varieties of fruit planted. Under the name of “Buck Brand Citrus,” the landowner is a pioneer in the organic citrus industry.

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