Almond Board of California

Almond Board: Farmland Trusts

Taylor Hillman Almond Update

In this week’s Almond Update, we hear about one farmer’s decision to place an agricultural conservation easement on his property. Sabrina Hill talks with Tom Ulm, president of Ulm Farms in Modesto.


Listen to the interview:

For more on Central Valley Farmland Trusts, click here.

From the Central Valley Farmland Trust:

The Central Valley Farmland Trust (CVFT) is engaged in the protection of productive farmland in the Central San Joaquin Valley. Farmland protection is accomplished in the following ways:

  • Acquiring agricultural conservation easements (ACEs) from willing landowners on a voluntary basis and annually monitoring those ACEs to insure compliance with the terms and conditions.
  • Acquiring land through donations.
  • Working in partnership with private and governmental conservation agencies and organizations.
  • Working cooperatively with other land trusts.
  • Purchasing fee land.
  • Public outreach and education to help promote farmland conservation and ag sustainability.

Why it should matter to you:

California’s moderate climate, fertile soil and diverse land resources allows year-round production of many agriculture commodities. The state produces more than 400 crops, and its top five commodities are:

  1. Milk and cream
  2. Grapes
  3. Nursery products
  4. Almonds
  5. Lettuce

California leads the nation in agricultural production, but it is home to less than 4% of the farms in the United States. About 90 percent of The Golden State’s farms are family-owned. But this farmland is disappearing at an alarming rate.

In California the majority of Prime Farmland is located in the San Joaquin Valley. The San Joaquin Valley boasts of a combination highly productive soil, abundance of irrigation water, lengthy growing season, technology, and adaptive delivery systems. This agriculture region is not and cannot be duplicated anywhere else in the world.

Unfortunately we lost 560,000 acres of Prime Farmland between 1984 and 2008. To put this in perspective it equates to 875 square miles of lost farmland. This loss can be attributed to urbanization, low density rural residences; mining and ecological restoration projects resulting in fewer jobs and lower tax revenue for counties and cities.

Unless you work on a farm or are employed through your county or city government you may not have felt this loss. But over time, you and your family will be directly impacted through the loss food produced in California. Without farmland, fruits and vegetables currently available at your super markets and local farmers market will disappear. Local markets and larger corporate grocery stores will be forced to purchase goods from outside California, making “locally grown” a thing of the past. And in the extreme, we’ll be importing the majority of our food from foreign countries where cleanliness and food processing standards are questionable at best and often nonexistent.

We’re currently dependent on foreign countries for much of our oil and gas. Do you really want to be dependent on foreign countries for one of our most basic needs?

You can make a difference! Get involved by making a donation, becoming a member or sponsor. If you prefer to donate your time, call Darcel at (916) 687-3178 to discuss the volunteer options or go to Become a Volunteer. Your involvement at any level will be greatly appreciated and you will be helping to preserve farmland, our most precious resource.

Give to protect the farms that feed your family today

Central Valley Farmland Trust Mission:

The mission of the Central Valley Farmland Trust is to work with landowners and conservation partners to preserve agricultural lands in the California Central Valley for future generations.