Land Access Study

The Land Access and Land Tenure for Limited Resource Farmers: Assessment of Conditions and Opportunities in Sonoma County study was developed to better understand the needs of limited resource farmers, and to make recommendations for actions that Ag + Open Space and others can take to support equitable land access, secure land tenure, and associated farm business viability for limited resource farmers in the county.

The term “limited resource farmer” refers to a farmer or rancher who has limited access to the funds and other forms of capital needed to support development of a financially sustainable operation. Farmers and ranchers may have limited resources for a variety of reasons, including: 

  • Deliberate discrimination
  • Lack of generational wealth
  • Historical circumstances 

Limited resource farmers are often highly skilled and experienced agricultural producers – many of Sonoma County’s local food and fiber producers fall within this community. These farmers and ranchers are essential to building a vibrant, diverse agricultural sector, which provides multiple social, economic, and ecological benefits to the county.

Ag + Open Space looks forward to incorporating the relevant findings and recommendations in this study into our own programming, and to sharing them with other interested individuals and organizations across Sonoma County. 

We are deeply grateful to all those who shared their time and expertise with the study team. We hope that this study is simply the beginning of an ongoing open dialogue with these farmers and ranchers, without whom creating a more diverse, resilient, and community-responsive local food system would not be possible.

This study was produced for Ag + Open Space, with input from diverse local agricultural stakeholders, and in partnership with the University of California Cooperative Extension Sonoma and Sustainable Agriculture Education