Sunday, July 27, 2014
YOLO COUNTY NEWS
99 CENTS

Local farmer trusts in assurance of land preservation

Tony Martin takes a visitor on a tour Thursday of his farm near Winters that has been permanently preserved for agricultural use, thanks to an ag conservation easement. Sue Cockrell/Enterprise photo

By
From page A1 | April 05, 2013 |

Tony Martin, a fifth-generation Yolo County farmer whose family never had more than a small amount of land to pass along, has in his lifetime accumulated 237 acres of property that stretches along Putah Creek.

And he’ll be able to keep that farmland intact for future generations — something he owes in part to the Yolo Land Trust, which partnered with other agencies to permanently protect it with an agricultural conservation easement.

Yolo Land Trust was founded in 1988 with the established goal of preserving Yolo County’s agriculture by providing local farmers a viable financial alternative to selling land for residential construction.

“In my lifetime, I’ve seen what development has done to good farmland,” the 59-year-old farmer said. “Everybody wants to live in the country with a few acres, but once those few acres become living quarters they come out of production.”

Approximately 50,000 acres of California farmland are converted to urban uses every year. Almost 600,000 acres were converted between 1988 and 2000 alone, according to a 2003 analysis by the UC Davis department of human and community development.

Martin, who says his land has some of the highest-quality soil and water available, was himself approached by a developer looking to buy his property. Thus began Martin’s pursuit of a method of shielding his land from potential urbanization.

The farm, which is one mile east of Winters, was found to have potential for conversion to non-agricultural use by the California Department of Conservation and the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service. The Yolo Land Trust worked with these organizations to acquire the easement.

“It would be a mistake for future generations to convert this land,” he said. “We need quality food supply. … The population is growing by leaps and bounds; we need to eat something.”

Aside from that, there is some historical significance attached to the farmland. It was once owned by the co-founder of the town of Winters, Theodore Winters. More than 150 years ago, he used it for horse racing, growing tobacco and other field crops.

Martin’s farmland increased in acreage over the years through the purchase and amalgamation of smaller neighboring farms. Under the easement, it will never be broken into its original pieces, said Yolo Land Trust executive director Michele Clark.

“A key benefit for farmers like the Martins is making certain that the farm they took years and years to compile would stay as a single farm,” Clark added. “They can be assured that it will always be a big, productive farm.

“In addition, the landowners are paid for the conservation easements, so there is a financial incentive.”

The Martin property joins the more than 10,000 acres of farmland protected by the Yolo Land Trust. An exact number on acreage conserved since its founding was not available due to the large number of contracts completed in 2013.

“This year was a particularly good year for us,” Clark said. “Some of these projects have been in the works since 2009, and we’re finally able to close them. They all happened to align for closure at the same time.”

For the continued preservation of the more than 50 Yolo County farms under conservation easements, the Yolo Land Trust elected four individuals to officer positions Wednesday: president Kathy Ward, vice president Kristen Bennett, treasurer Chris Sinclair and secretary Charles Tyson.

Two board member spots also were filled in the recent rotation. The replacements are Carol Murphy, controller at Capay Organics (holder of a conservation easement at its farm in Capay), and Chuck Moore, a Davis native and vice president of Farm Credit West.

Clark said the new board members were welcomed to the Yolo Land Trust with this mission in mind — to recruit “community members with a connection to agriculture in the county.”

And the effect the Yolo Land Trust has on Yolo County’s agriculture is tangible, she said, not just to those within its farming community but to its residents as well.

“The benefit to everyone is that we can buy local food, that we have open space connected with farming, and that we have the habitat available for animals like Swainson’s hawk to fly over our farms,” Clark said.

— Reach Brett Johnson at bjohnson@davisenterprise.net or 530-747-8052. Follow him on Twitter at @ReporterBrett

Comments

comments

  • Recent Posts

  • Enter your email address to subscribe to this newspaper and receive notifications of new articles by email.

  • .

    News

    Community gardens stretch food dollars, study finds

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A1 | Gallery

     
    Zombies by rail: It’s not just a show, it’s a trip

    By Evan Arnold-Gordon | From Page: A1 | Gallery

    Fatal Covell Boulevard crash recalled in court

    By Lauren Keene | From Page: A1

     
    Humphrey Fellows will host Global Forum

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A1 | Gallery

    Wildfire spurs evacuation of 700 homes

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

     
    State can’t say if it’s meeting drought goal

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

     
    Rairdan joins race for Davis school board

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A2

    Ukraine launches offensive to retake Donetsk

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

     
    Israel extends Gaza truce through Sunday

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

    New ordinance aims to prevent nut thefts from orchards

    By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: A4

     
    Biggest book sale to date opens Friday at Davis library

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

    Luna family matriarch turns 100

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4 | Gallery

     
     
    Discussion of oil by rail EIR planned Sunday

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

     
    Mace Innovation Center is focus of meeting

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

    Freeway crash injures two drivers

    By Lauren Keene | From Page: A5

     
    Museum wants your old Davis High School yearbooks

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

    Affordable housing forum planned in Davis

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A5

     
    Protesters gather at Primate Center

    By Tanya Perez | From Page: A8

     
    State awards $40,000 for historic property survey

    By Lily Holmes | From Page: A8

    Free blood pressure screenings offered

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A9

     
    Vanguard hosts economic development director

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A9

    Get a sneak peek at documentary trailer

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A9

     
    Davis Chamber Choir sings short summer program

    By Jeff Hudson | From Page: A9

    Tasting event benefits Yolo Land Trust

    By Lily Holmes | From Page: A9

     
    At the Pond: From Davis, it’s easy to get back to nature

    By Jean Jackman | From Page: A10 | Gallery

    Tickets on sale now for DHS Hall of Fame dinner

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A11

     
    .

    Forum

    Feels like a million miles away

    By Creators Syndicate | From Page: A7

     
    Here’s what you need for a perfect wedding

    By Marion Franck | From Page: A7

     
    Check doctors’ vitals before they check yours

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

    Husband’s let himself go

    By Creators Syndicate | From Page: A14

     
    Questions on water rights

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A16, 1 Comment

    Campus turns on the tap

    By Our View | From Page: A16

     
    So, what’s in a week’s worth of waste?

    By Michelle Millet | From Page: A16

    Pat Oliphant cartoon

    By Debbie Davis | From Page: A16

     
    Golf tourney was a big success

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A16

    We can do more to help

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A17

     
    New playground is wonderful

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A17

    Just Us in Davis: Little Rock Nine hero to celebrate with Davis youths

    By Jann L. Murray-Garcia | From Page: A17 | Gallery

     
    .

    Sports

    Sutherland presents 1st clinic; golf column on its way

    By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

     
    New Korematsu teacher is an American Ninja Warrior

    By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

    Furyk opens 3-shot lead in Canadian Open

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

     
    Gray wins 6th straight, A’s 4 HRs beat Texas 5-1

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

    Kershaw throws 2-hitter as Dodgers beat Giants 5-0

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

     
    Nibali set to cruise to Tour victory

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

    Area sports briefs: River Cats take Game 1 of doubleheader

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: B4

     
    .

    Features

    .

    Arts

    .

    Business

    Companies will collaborate on crop insect control

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A13

     
    Developer’s commitments: affordable and green

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A13 | Gallery

    Go back to school with Great Clips

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A15

     
    Lagerstrom represents Davis at Mary Kay seminar

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A15

    UC Davis Health System earns ‘Most Wired’ award

    By Charles Casey | From Page: A15

     
    Bartholomew hires new associate

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A15

    Yolo County real estate sales

    By Zoe Juanitas | From Page: A15

     
    .

    Obituaries

    Carlton Hope Meister

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

     
    Jonathan Eric Hollander

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

    .

    Comics

    Comics: Sunday, July 27, 2014

    By Creator | From Page: A6