SLT in the News

Solano Land Trust aims high to protect more agricultural land

Author: Janet Mackey, Conservation Director
Date: Jun 11, 2013

Landowners love the land they work, and many dream of protecting it from development and preserving its natural qualities for generations to come. Conservation agreements (also known as conservation easements) provide a means for landowners to permanently conserve their property, while continuing to own and use the land and to maintain the ability to sell it or pass it on. Additionally, landowners who choose to donate qualified conservation easements will likely see tax benefits for their contribution. Solano Land Trust welcomes the opportunity to talk with landowners about how we can work together to protect the lands they love.

Solano Land Trust currently holds agricultural conservation agreements on 23 properties in Solano County. This amounts to more than 8,000 acres of agricultural land and natural habitats that are an integral part of the rural character of Solano County and of California’s economy. Each agreement is tailored to protect the special attributes of the property such as high-quality agricultural soils, productive ranch land, natural resources, or scenic values.

Solano Land Trust has a goal of protecting an additional 20,000 acres with conservation agreements by 2020. This is a very ambitious goal that will require us to do things differently than we have in the past. We cannot rely on being able to purchase easements with money from federal, state, or local governments, because many of these sources that were available in the past have much less funding available given today’s economic circumstances. Rather, we seek to involve more of our community in our land protection efforts.

To reach an important segment of the community, we are developing a program to encourage landowners in Solano County to donate conservation agreements on working farms and ranch lands. We are asking special landowners to join us in this important work to protect the soils, heritage, and heart of Solano County. Our work on this initiative is supported by funds from an anonymous donor and a grant from the S. D. Bechtel, Jr. Foundation. We are preparing materials that will help landowners understand how this important conservation tool - the donation of a conservation agreement - can protect their land, achieve business goals, and make a lasting gift to their community.

Stay tuned for progress. Please contact Janet Mackey with questions or comments at (707) 750-5446 x202 or janet@solanolandtrust.org.