Ask Supervisors to Uphold $5 Million Promise for Farmland Preservation

Photo credit: Simon Huynh

On Tuesday, June 2, the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors will consider whether to fulfill their commitment to fund nearly $5 million for farmland preservation. There are negotiations with local farmers for agricultural conservation easements that are dependent on this funding being approved by the Board of Supervisors. If they do not take action, those potential agreements could be derailed.

Please email the Supervisors today using the form below requesting they uphold their promise to preserve local farmland.

What’s Happening

Almost one year ago, the Board of Supervisors approved a one-time Reserve for Agricultural Conservation Easements of almost $5 million for farmland preservation. This reserve was intended to fulfill the County’s local match obligation for the $15 million it received from the State Department of Conservation for the acquisition of agricultural conservation easements.

Now, the Board of Supervisors must take the final step. It will require four of the five Supervisors to approve a transfer of the funds to the County Planning Department. Then they must also approve a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the Santa Clara Valley Open Space Authority (OSA) that would allow for the purchase of agricultural conservation easements.

The County and OSA have been working with private property owners on potential easement purchases. Some of those negotiations are near completion, although they will still require final approval by the State. Authorizing the transfer of funds and the MOU will ensure the money will be used as intended and in a timely manner.

The MOU also builds upon the partnership of the OSA and the County to implement the Santa Clara Valley Agricultural Plan and completes the Supervisors request for a strategic plan as to the expenditure of the funds.

Why It Matters

Be it the climate crisis or a public health crisis, our local farms are indispensable to our community’s health and resilience. In addition to sequestering carbon, farmland provides open space, flood control, fire hazard mitigation, and wildlife habitat. Our local farms are a source of fresh healthy food and help provide food security. Yet farmland in our valley remains very vulnerable to development. We need to permanently protect these lands for the long-term sustainability and health of our region and to mitigate the negative impacts from sprawl development and climate change.

What You Can Do

Please join me in asking the Supervisors to approve the transfer of funds and MOU to uphold their commitment to preserving our farmland most at-risk of development.

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