Prime farmland in Yolo County conserved for agriculture

Graphic: Winters Express
Graphic: Winters Express

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Another Yolo County farm with significant agricultural value has been permanently set aside for agriculture. Thanks to the efforts of the owners, Jim and Claire Haag, and the Yolo Land Trust, the Haag Walnut Orchard has been placed into an agricultural conservation easement that will keep the farm permanently in agriculture.

“Claire and I are delighted to have completed this project with the Yolo Land Trust,” said Jim Haag.  “Our 70-acre farm is just north of Esparto.  By placing a conservation easement on our walnut orchard, we are able to attain our goals of ensuring that it stays forever in agriculture and also provides a refuge for wildlife and plant diversity.”

For the Haags, protecting the agricultural productive capacity of their orchard forever is a dream fulfilled.

“We have to conserve it now for those who come after us, generation after generation,” said Mr. Haag.

Funding for the conservation easement project was provided by a grant from the State of California Sustainable Agricultural Lands Conservation (SALC) Program. SALC is California Strategic Growth Council program administered by the Department of Conservation. “We are proud to support a program that reduces harmful greenhouse gas emissions while also supporting local farms and farmers around the state,” said Louise Bedsworth, Executive Director of the Strategic Growth Council.

Additional grant funding was provided by Yolo County, the John and Eunice Davidson Fund, and Pacific Gas and Electric Company. The Haags also made a significant contribution to the Yolo Land Trust to complete the transaction.

“Permanently conserving prime farmland is one of the most important things we can do as a community,” said Lynnel Pollock, President of the Yolo Land Trust. “We are delighted and honored to have worked with Jim and Claire Haag and the funders to conserve this farm. Besides growing walnuts, the orchard provides habitat for a variety of wildlife that will continue to thrive.” Over thirty species of birds have been identified among the native grasses, hedgerows and shrubs the Haags have cultivated on their farm.

The Haag Walnut Orchard will remain privately owned and on the County tax rolls.  No further public investment will be required to keep the land in productive agriculture or for the annual monitoring by the Yolo Land Trust.

The Yolo Land Trust, a California nonprofit organization, was founded 30 years ago and remains dedicated to conserving Yolo County’s land resources.  The Yolo Land Trust has helped landowners place conservation easements on 65 farms throughout Yolo County, permanently conserving these farms for future generations to enjoy.  For more information on the Yolo Land Trust, visit: www.theyololandtrust.org

Jim and Claire Haag have been employing innovative agricultural land conservation strategies on their farm for forty years. Their farming practices have attracted thousands of loyal customers who buy delicious fresh walnuts from the farm via the internet.  Besides selling off-site to the local Yolo community, the Haags developed an online customer base located throughout the United States and Canada, with customers in Japan and the United Kingdom as well. They also ship their ultra-pure walnuts to parents of allergic children who participate in a doctor-supervised “Introduction to Nuts” treatment program. Learn more about the Haag Walnut Orchard at www.walnuts.us

The SALC Program is part of the California Climate Investments Initiative, a statewide program that puts billions of cap-and-trade dollars to work reducing greenhouse gas emissions, strengthening the economy and improving public health and the environment — particularly in disadvantaged communities. For more information, visit California Climate Investments atwww.caclimateinvestments.ca.gov

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