For Immediate ReleaseJanuary 23, 2018
County’s contribution to MALT purchase preserves 705 acres for agricultural use
San Rafael, CA – Marin County Parks has taken another step to help preserve a family ranch in West Marin and keep it in agricultural production in partnership with the nonprofit Marin Agricultural Land Trust (MALT).
With funds from the Measure A Farmland Preservation Program, the Marin County Board of Supervisors on January 23 approved a grant agreement worth $1,817,950 to help MALT purchase an agricultural conservation easement over Taylor Ranch in Point Reyes Station, which has operated as a family-owned dairy for more than 40 years.
The Board action comes five weeks after a similar arrangement helped save the nearby 609-acre Furlong Ranch. Taylor Ranch is situated between two other MALT-protected ranches on the north and east and another privately owned ranch to the south. Protection of Taylor Ranch creates a string of MALT-protected ranches between Marshall and Point Reyes Station near the eastern shore of Tomales Bay.
The Measure A Farmland Preservation Program, with origins in a 2012 quarter-cent sales tax approved by Marin voters, is dedicated to protecting and preserving working farms and ranches at risk of subdivision and development. The Taylor family faced a need to pay down debt and possibly sell off a portion of the property prior to involvement by MALT and the County of Marin.
“By using these funds strategically, we’re doing what we can to maintain family farms and boost our ag economy while simultaneously preserving and protecting the natural resources of these open spaces,” said Craig Richardson, Marin County Parks Senior Open Space Planner.
The appraised fair market value of the Taylor easement was $3,594,000. The County grant covers half the acquisition cost, including half of the administrative costs, and MALT is contributing the balance.
An agricultural conservation easement does not convey ownership of a property. Instead, it conveys certain rights to the easement holder and/or obligations to the landowner. In this case the easement will require that economically viable agriculture will continue on the land while balancing protection of the natural resources of the property in perpetuity. If the easement was not purchased over the land, and the land were sold for non-agricultural use, it is unlikely that it would be available to an agriculturally minded buyer in the future.
Through the Farmland Preservation Program, easement transactions involve negotiations between willing landowners and qualified nonprofits. Previous matching grants from the program were used to preserve the Murphy Family Fallon and Thacher ranches near Tomales, the Furlong, Gallagher North Bend and Martinelli ranches near Point Reyes Station, the Dolcini Ranch west of Novato, the Jacobsen Ranch southwest of Petaluma, and the Evans-Giacomini Ranch north of Nicasio.
All told, more than $9 million of Measure A Farmland Preservation funds have been matched by MALT to preserve almost 5,000 acres of local agricultural lands since the tax measure was approved in 2012. The quarter-cent retail transactions and use tax not only is intended for farmland preservation but also for care of Marin’s existing parks and open spaces and to support regional community parks projects and programs.
Craig RichardsonSenior Open Space PlannerMarin County Parks
Marin Civic CenterSuite 260San Rafael, CA 94903(415) 473-7057Email: Craig RichardsonMarin County Parks website