Martin Ranch 3

New Agricultural Conservation Agreement reached at Martin Ranch 3!
The Martins extend agricultural legacy across county lines
By Samuel James Adams

The Solano Land Trust proudly announces its partnership with local and longtime farmers and landowners TR and Dorothy Martin to preserve their 101-acre walnut orchard and working farm in Solano County. They recognized the value of the land and determined to preserve a place where food and fiber can be produced by the next generation of farms in the class one soils of the Dixon Ridge Agricultural Region.

“There’s ninety acres of Yolo-Brentwood loam, which is the best soil in the world,” TR says. “It’s about ten feet deep. And it’s not stratified soil but uniform soil. The water we have is as good as it’s going to get.”

TR and Dorothy have already conserved land in Yolo County through the Yolo Land Trust. By undertaking a conservation agreement with Solano Land Trust, finalized May 10th, the Martins extend their legacy by preserving productive agricultural lands on both sides of Putah Creek, the region’s most important riparian feature.

Over half of Solano County’s land is in agriculture, with nut orchards, tomatoes, nursery plants and livestock leading the industry. A healthy agricultural economy supports local jobs and benefits Solano County residents by sequestering carbon, growing nutritious food locally, and maintaining scenic open spaces between cities. But its importance doesn’t end there.

TR feels concerned that our society is letting too much productive land be lost to policies that undervalue agriculture and to parties who, unwittingly or not, fail to recognize and utilize California’s natural advantages when it comes to farming and ranching.

The food chain eventually will break at one point, and you’ll be rationing, if we keep going the way we are, TR says. It’s important that we save the land we can. The property is the finest land in the world. We have the climate. We have the water.

TR Martin has spent sixty-seven years farming alongside his wife Dorothy. He’s seen agricultural approaches change and society’s perception of agriculture change too.

But through all these changes, he’s been able to depend on one certainty: that the land in Solano County grows amazing food. The productive potential of the land here is what persuaded a young man to drop out of dental school and answer a calling to make a life in farming.

“The only problem I see with agriculture now is the fact that the people take it for granted and the politicians think it’s a place to cover with blacktop,” TR said. “They have no idea what it costs and how we produce the food. The land is here forever if you protect it. And that’s what I’m trying to do with my legacy.”

Solano Land Trust already holds conservation agreements that protect more than 2,200 acres in the Dixon Ridge Agricultural area. A partnership with another landowner in the area could conserve an additional 1,000 acres of prime agricultural land within a year. 

Conservation agreements give landowners an opportunity to sell future rights to develop the property so that they can make sure their land remains permanently in agriculture. Landowners who sell their development rights to Solano Land Trust are free to use the proceeds however they wish, just as any homeowner can when selling a house. Farmers and ranchers can use funds received through the sale to invest in their farms or ensure they are in a strong financial position to transfer the land to the next generation

Note: this project received funding from California Climate Investments.