Farmland for All: Buy-Protect-Sell Pilot

In order to forward the goals of the Vital Lands Initiative and in response to the input of our agricultural community stakeholders, Sonoma County Ag + Open Space is developing a “Farmland for All” program.

The Farmland for All program will be a toolkit containing multiple tools and strategies focused on enhancing equitable access to agricultural land for agricultural producers.

The first tool in the Farmland for All toolkit is a “buy-protect-sell” strategy, whereby the organization will seek out and purchase a farm or ranch property from a willing seller, protect it with a conservation easement, and sell the conserved land to a qualified buyer.

Ag + Open Space will begin use of the buy-protect-sell approach by piloting this tool with one property in 2024-2025. As part of the buy-protect-sell pilot, the organization will also explore the use of conservation easement enhancements such as an agricultural conservation covenant requiring ongoing agricultural production on the property and an affordability covenant consisting of resale restrictions designed to maintain the property’s affordability over time. The easement and covenants may reduce the property’s appraised value, potentially making it more affordable for agricultural producers.

Based on the insights gained through this pilot, staff may seek direction to continue piloting the use of buy-protect-sell with additional properties or to create an ongoing Farmland for All buy-protect-sell program that would continue to protect additional properties through this process for the foreseeable future.

​The Farmland for All Program, including the buy-protect-sell pilot, will add to and enhance the tools that the organization currently uses to conserve agricultural land. While we develop these new tools, we will be continuing, and expanding, our ongoing traditional agricultural land conservation efforts. Check back soon for more information.