Land for
Agriculture

A Sonoma County farm
Boxes of blueberries

Land for Food

The land we protect produces milk and cheese, grass fed meats, seasonal vegetables and fruits, pasture raised eggs, orchard crops like apples and pears, honey, and wine. 87% of these protected lands permit grazing, livestock production, cultivation, crop sales, beekeeping and the raising of fish and poultry. In addition, a total of 35,825 acres of grazing land is protected forever ensuring a strong local food source.

A rancher and his children looking at his cattle

Land for Farmers + Ranchers

Conserving our working lands plays an essential role in maintaining viable and productive agriculture, especially as land prices rise and development pressure grows.

Conservation easements can:

  • Give farmers the economic boost they need to keep or enhance their agricultural operation.
  • Lower the cost of the land, making more land available to a broader section of the community.
  • Provide funds to enable intergenerational succession, keeping family farms and ranches in business.

Nearly all of the farms and ranches we’ve protected with easements are still family farms and ranches today; 98% of the working farms and ranches we’ve protected are still used for agriculture.

In 2020, the Sonoma County agricultural industry provided over 7,200 local jobs -- 158% above the national average.

Sonoma County cheese

Land for Jobs

Farms, ranches, dairies, and other agricultural operations provide jobs and revenue to the local economy, and supply our community with locally produced food, fiber, and other crops. In 2018, the total value of crops produced in Sonoma County exceeded $1 billion, a 24% increase over the previous year. By preserving a critical mass of farms and ranches we are not only supporting farmers and ranchers we are also supporting important agricultural service businesses like veterinarians, feed stores, creameries, and processing facilities.
A pasture at sunset

Land for Beauty + Resilience

By protecting farms, ranches, and dairies we are preserving our scenic rural landscapes and creating a climate resilient agricultural community. Many of Sonoma County’s farms, ranches and dairies are on open land with acres of grassland. These grasslands play a crucial role in sequestering carbon from the atmosphere and ensure humans and wildlife will be able to adapt to changes in the climate.

Featured Stories

Leveraging outside funds for local farms

We access state and federal funding sources to stretch our sales tax dollars. Most recently, we’ve garnered funds from the following sources: Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP) Through the USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service, we have brought in $11.5 million ...

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Thinking (+ conserving) outside the box

Keeping agriculture thriving in Sonoma County has myriad benefits, including providing local food security, protecting groundwater basins, avoiding urban sprawl, retaining scenic beauty and the county’s rural character, and protecting biological diversity and wildlife habitat. Agriculture in our region is ...

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COVID-19 Agricultural Economic Impact Report

In response to the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on the Sonoma County agricultural community, Sonoma County Ag + Open Space commissioned an economic study to examine the effects of the pandemic on food-producing businesses in Sonoma County from 2020 to 2023.

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