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Ask Supervisors to Uphold $5 Million Promise for Farmland Preservation

Photo credit: Derek Neumann

May 31, 2020

On Tuesday, June 2, the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors will consider whether to fulfill their commitment to allocate nearly $5 million for farmland preservation. Some Coyote Valley agricultural property owners are interested in selling their land for preservation. If the Board of Supervisors does not take action now this opportunity could be lost.

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 potentially in Coyote Valley.

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 MOU will ensure the funds will be used as intended and in a timely manner.

Under the terms of the MOU, the near $5 million in funds must be used to acquire agricultural easements within one of two priority farmland conservation areas most at risk of development – Coyote Valley or San Martin.

Why It Matters

Be it the climate crisis or a public health crisis, our local farms are essential to our community’s health and resilience. Farmland in Coyote Valley is a source of locally-grown food and absorbs carbon into the soil and can provide habitat for wildlife. Yet the farmland there remains vulnerable to development. We need to permanently protect these lands for the long-term sustainability and health of our region.

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.