Solano Land Trust Special to the Express Today the Solano Land Trust announces a partnership with longtime local farmers TR and Dorothy Martin. The land trust finalized a conservation agreement with the Martins in May. The agreement preserves Martin Ranch 3, a 101-acre walnut orchard and working farm in the Dixon Ridge Agricultural Area of northern Solano County. The Dixon Ridge is a priority area for Solano Land Trust’s agricultural conservation efforts because of its high-quality soil and the availability of clean water for irrigation. Conservation agreements, also known as conservation easements, give landowners an opportunity to sell future rights to develop the property so that they can make sure their land remains permanently in agriculture. Landowners who sell their development rights to Solano Land Trust are free to use the proceeds however they wish, just as any homeowner can when selling a house. Farmers and ranchers can use funds received through the sale to invest in their farms or ensure they are in a strong financial position to transfer the land to the next generation. The Martins previously conserved a portion of their land in Yolo County through the Yolo Land Trust. By partnering with Solano Land Trust, the Martins have now preserved productive agricultural land on both sides of Putah Creek. “It’s important that we save the land we can,” said ranch owner TR Martin, who has farmed in the area for over sixty years. “The property is the finest land in the world. We have the climate. We have the water. The land is here forever if you protect it. And that’s what I’m trying to do with my legacy.” “Conservation agreements are a tool Solano Land Trust leverages to keep farmland in farming,” said Nicole Braddock, Executive Director of Solano Land Trust. “We partner with willing landowners to preserve local high-quality soils, which are irreplaceable. Areas like Dixon Ridge face increasing development pressure due to the housing crisis. These agreements ensure local agriculture will remain viable into the future.” Some people know the Solano Land Trust by the publicly accessible open spaces and recreation areas it owns and manages, such as Lynch Canyon Open Space and Rush Ranch. But half of the 25,000 acres of the preserved agricultural space is protected through conservation agreements between the land trust and landowners like the Martins. Solano Land Trust already holds conservation agreements that protect more than 2,200 acres in the Dixon Ridge Agricultural area. Partnerships with two other landowners in the area could conserve an additional 1,000 acres of prime agricultural land within the next year. Over half of Solano County’s land is in agriculture, with nut orchards, tomatoes, and livestock leading the industry. A healthy agricultural economy supports local jobs, including crop harvesting, foods processing, trucking and other agricultural industries. Local agriculture also benefits Solano County residents by sequestering carbon, growing nutritious food locally, and maintaining scenic open spaces between cities. Funding for the purchase of this conservation agreement, known officially as the Martin Ranch 3 Conservation Agreement, was provided in part through the State of California, Strategic Growth Council’s Sustainable Agricultural Lands Conservation Program (“SALC”). SALC funds support the acquisition of agricultural conservation agreements on properties at risk of conversion to non-agricultural uses with the goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions to help meet California’s climate action goals. Additional funds for this conservation agreement were provided by the Solano Transportation Authority for their Agriculture Lands Mitigation requirements related to the I-80/I-680 Project. For more information or to arrange an interview with Solano Land Trust Executive Director Nicole Braddock, contact Laura Livadas at 707-709-9025, firstname.lastname@example.org.