Solano Land Trust, a Bay Area-based conservation group, purchased their third farmland easement in the Davis-Dixon area, bringing their total controlled area to nearly 1,000 acres of farmland.
The most recent purchase is part of the Dixon Ridge, an area of high quality farmland along the I-80 corridor. The Miles/Kidwell easement is nearly 488 acres in size.
In the case of the Miles/Kidwell land purchase, the Solano Land Trust performed a conservation land easement, which bought developmental rights, but not ownership rights.
“This means that the land can never be developed – ever,“ said Nicole Byrd, executive director of the Solano Land Trust.
In an easement purchase, the SLT pays the owners of the property a portion of the equity they have in the land. The farmer can still use the land for farming purposes and also receives a tax break in property and estate taxes.
Local farmer and SLT Board President Ian Anderson said in a press release that this easement is part of a larger vision.
“Protecting this property helps maintain agricultural viability in this region,“ Anderson said. “We all love the rural character of Solano County and the way we preserve that is by helping to keep agriculture viable.“
Not only does the easement purchase process benefit the area by preventing the transformation of agricultural land into commercial, but it also helps stimulate local economic development.
“The owners of the land involved in the most recent easement were able to reinvest, to buy more land,“ Byrd said. “Some of the land they retained for themselves, and some they were able to incorporate into the project. It is a very profitable venture for the landowners.“
SLT obtained funding for the purchases from Dixon and Davis.
“The City of Davis is proud to have worked with a local farmer, the City of Dixon, the Solano Land Trust and our state and federal partners to protect this important farmland forever,“ said Mayor of Davis Ruth Asmundson in a press release. “The result is a positive outcome for all parties involved and is a tangible legacy for future generations.“
In contrast to the Miles/Kidwell easement, the SLT also has full developmental rights to some pieces of land. Full ownership is part of the vision of maintaining Solano County‘s agricultural regions.
“We are looking at some purchases in other areas of Solano County as well,“ Byrd said. “We are looking at nearly 1,500 acres of unincorporated land near Fairfield, which we think could be put to good use.“
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