Press Release California Awards $74 Million to Conserve Agricultural Lands across the State, Bolstering Climate Action and Rural Economies


December 15, 2022

SACRAMENTO – Today the California Strategic Growth Council (SGC) approved over $74 million in grants to protect 54,000 acres of agricultural lands at risk of development. The investments are part of Round 8 of the Sustainable Agricultural Lands Conservation Program (SALC), a state program protecting agricultural lands, reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and strengthening primarily rural economies.

"The Sustainable Agricultural Lands Conservation program protects agricultural lands with a goal of reducing carbon emissions, supporting rural economies, and accelerating conservation efforts,” said Lynn von Koch-Liebert, Executive Director of the California Strategic Growth Council. “SALC grants provide much-needed direct investment and technical assistance support to the farmers, organizations, and local governments who are tirelessly working to protect our state’s natural and working lands.”

This is the eighth round of annual funding from SGC’s SALC Program and brings the total acres of agricultural land protected or in the process of being protected through SALC Program grants to 195,000 acres.

"The SALC program continues to move California toward its emission reduction goals while supporting the economic resilience of California’s essential agricultural land,” said David Shabazian, Director of Department of Conservation. “Our department is proud of its role in identifying projects that support local decision-makers in sustainable land-use planning and capacity-building. We also congratulate the applicants who submitted these important projects for funding."

Investments from this round of funding will create 25 agricultural easements in 17 counties as far north as Siskiyou County and as far south as Santa Barbara County. This suite of easements will total approximately 54,030 acres. Safeguarding this agricultural land will avoid an estimated 619,227 metric tons of CO2 equivalent over the next 30 years, which amounts to taking 133,424 cars off the road for one year.

“SALC grants are the most important source of funding upon which the Ag Land Trust relies to preserve Monterey County's prime farmland from urban sprawl,” said Marc Del Piero, Executive Director of The Ag Land Trust of Monterey County, which was awarded three easement grants. “The SALC grants help to preserve economic farming opportunities for family farms and next generation farmers who wish to preserve our farming productivity and our invaluable agricultural soils and open spaces.”

SGC will also award 20 capacity building grants as part of a new component of the SALC program this year. These projects will facilitate the development of agricultural conservation acquisition projects in 33 counties as far north as Del Norte and Siskiyou counties and as far south as San Diego and Imperial counties. While initially the SALC Program had allocated up to $3 million for capacity grants, the Strategic Growth Council voted today to increase the allocation to $4.4 million in response to the high demand for capacity grants from across the state. Capacity grants accelerate progress towards the California’s Natural and Working Lands goal to conserve 30 percent of California’s lands and coastal waters by 2030 by increasing the number of projects supported for future investment.

“Preventing conversion of agricultural properties is key to sustaining the agricultural economy of our region,” said Lauren Miller, Conservation Director of the Sierra Foothill Conservancy (SFC), which received a capacity grant. “The grant for capacity will enable SFC to launch 20,000 acres of working rangeland and tribal lands into project development, ensuring that our staff can apply and secure funding for these critical projects on an expedited basis to serve our 16 partnering landowners, including women ranchers and local tribes.”

Additionally, the SALC Program is awarding three planning grants to two public agencies and one California Native American tribe to support planning for the implementation of Sustainable Community Strategies and the protection of agricultural lands.

SGC administers the SALC Program in partnership with the California Department of Conservation.

SALC Round 8 Awardees:

Easement Grantees

  • Sonoma County Agricultural Preservation and Open Space
  • Solano Land Trust
  • California Rangeland Trust (4 projects)
  • Sutter Buttes Regional Land Trust
  • Northern California Regional Land Trust (2 projects)
  • Santa Clara Valley Open Space Authority
  • California Farmland Trust (2 projects)
  • City of Davis
  • The Land Conservancy of San Luis Obispo (2 projects)
  • Bear Yuba Land Trust
  • Ag Land Trust (3 projects)
  • Siskiyou Land Trust
  • Shasta Land Trust (3 projects)
  • Northcoast Regional Land Trust
  • Sierra Foothill Conservancy

Capacity grantees

  • American Farmland Trust
  • Sierra Foothill Conservancy
  • Land Trust of Santa Cruz County
  • American River Conservancy
  • Siskiyou Land Trust
  • Shasta Land Trust
  • Mother Lode Land Trust
  • Tule Basin Land and Water Conservation Trust
  • San Benito Ag Land Trust
  • Land Trust for Santa Barbara County
  • Placer Land Trust
  • Mendocino Land Trust
  • California Open Lands
  • Sacramento Valley Conservancy
  • Solano Land Trust
  • San Joaquin River Parkway and Conservation Trust
  • Northcoast Regional Land Trust
  • Land Trust of Santa Clara Valley
  • California Farmland Trust
  • The Land Conservancy of San Luis Obispo

Planning grantees

  • San Diego LAFCO
  • Hoopa Valley Tribe
  • County of Tulare

Media Contact

Agustin Arreola

About the California Strategic Growth Council

The California Strategic Growth Council (SGC) is a 10-member council comprised of seven state agencies and three public members with the mission to build healthy, thriving, and resilient communities for all. Funded through California’s Cap and Trade system and the California General Fund, SGC’s grant programs, strategic initiatives, and interagency coordination focus on multi-benefit and community-centric solutions at the nexus of climate and equity. Since 2008, SGC has invested over $2.8 billion in projects strengthening communities and addressing climate change.

About the California Department of Conservation

With a team of scientists and other dedicated professionals, the Department of Conservation (DOC) administers a variety of programs vital to California's public safety, environment and economy. The services DOC provides are designed to balance today's needs with tomorrow's obligations by fostering the wise use and conservation of energy, land and mineral resources.

About California Climate Investments

California Climate Investments is a statewide initiative that puts billions of cap-and-trade dollars to work reducing greenhouse gas emissions, strengthening the economy and improving public health and the environment—particularly in disadvantaged communities.