Newsroom

Welcome to the online newsroom for the California Farmland Trust.  Here you’ll find all the elements you need to craft a story on California farmland conservation.  For media inquiries, please contact Melanee Cottrill at (916)687-3178 or by email.

Press Releases

Prosperi Farm Protected

A farming family with Italian roots looks at the next 100 years on the land

ELK GROVE, CA: The Prosperi family farm began in 1920, nearly 100 years ago. Today, several generations later, the family is still farming and has permanently protected their 228 acres from development, so they can continue to farm for at least 100 more years.

The City of Madera is rapidly growing, like most other cities in California, and acres upon acres of prime farmland throughout the region are paved over every year. But thanks to the Prosperi family and the California Farmland Trust (CFT), these 228 conserved acres will help balance the city’s growth, supply local industry, and allow this farming family to continue feeding your family.

The Prosperi family’s cluster of three farms is run by Denis and Terri, their son Kyle and his family, along with their cousins Michael Prosperi & Karla Bauman. They grow a variety of wine grapes that supply nearby wineries like Quady Winery and The Wine Group. These properties have been home to wine grapes since 1948 when the original farm holdings grew after Victor Prosperi, Denis’ father, purchased additional acres. 

“Working with Charlotte Mitchell and her staff was a very pleasurable experience because of their knowledge and professionalism,” says Denis Prosperi. “My family and I are very happy that we were able to make sure the land that I and my children grew up on will forever be dedicated to food production.”

The family owes their farming heritage to their grandfather, who arrived in California from Italy in 1905. He worked for the Sugar Pine Lumber Company and in 1920 bought his first 20-acre farm in the LaVina area. He had three sons who all farmed until they passed away. Now the current generation, and many more to come, can freely carry on their family’s tradition of land stewardship without the threat to convert to other uses. 

“Like most farm families in the Central Valley, the Prosperis’ have been working this land for generations,” says CFT Executive Director, Charlotte Mitchell. “We were honored to help them forever protect the legacy of this fertile farmland.”

The Prosperi farms are located in a scenic agricultural area that supports numerous orchards and vineyards. However, these lands are facing increasing growth pressure from the nearby City of Madera and are in need of protection. Now, these lands cannot be developed and will forever feed our families.  

Hooper Ranch Protected

Merced County family protects an original farmstead creating a

living legacy of their grandmother’s grit

ELK GROVE, CA: One woman’s toughness lives on after more than 100 years. Following her husband’s passing in 1922, Marie Jorgensen Andersen, an immigrant from Denmark, was left with 600 acres, her kids, and the Great Depression soon to come. With help from her neighbors and an immigrant’s determination, she inspired her kids and grandkids to stay with the land that had provided so much. Now, after all this time, her grandchildren, including the Jorgensen Family and the Hooper Family, have ensured her legacy of caring for the land will live forever.

The California Farmland Trust (CFT) is pleased to announce the permanent conservation of the Hooper Family’s 275 acres of farmland near the City of Gustine. This conserved property completes the process by the family to protect all 600 acres, including the adjacent Jorgensen Ranch protected in 2008, of the original family farmstead started in 1908 by Marie and her husband. The Hooper family worked with CFT and the USDA’s Natural Resource Conservation Service to place a conservation easement over this prime farmland in the heart of the Central Valley.  

“I used to think it was just my dad who loved this land, but as my siblings and cousins began to look back we realized it was our grandmother who really set this all in motion,” said Jim Jorgensen, CFT board member and Jorgensen Ranch owner. “She was the stalwart, it was her grit and determination to learn from her neighbors about farming this land that kept it from being paved over or sold off. We are eternally grateful.” 

“It is no small matter that four generations claim this farmland as the seedbed of our distinctive American narrative and tradition,” shared De-Anne Hooper, a family spokesperson. “My cousins and I are committed to showing our gratitude by upholding our forbearers’ farming legacy; keenly mindful of this opportunity to persevere in our family’s efforts to sustain the environment, improve and enrich our lives, and positively impact posterity. ”  

The Hooper land sits approximately two miles from the City of Gustine. The property is managed under a rotational field crop farming operation that includes processing tomatoes, green peppers, string beans, lima bean seeds, alfalfa, and safflower. This easement frees the land from the possibility of development so it can continue to grow our food and inspire future generations who may want to farm here someday. 

“The mission of the California Farmland Trust is to help farmers protect the best farmland in the world,” said CFT Executive Director Charlotte Mitchell. “This project embodies that mission, protecting the farmland and the family legacy. We are honored to be able to forever shepherd Marie’s legacy of hard work and determination.”

This project was funded by the NRCS with funding from the ACEP program.  

“This is the first ACEP agricultural land easement to be funded in Merced County,” said NRCS State Conservationist Carlos Suarez. “It is truly a win-win, not only protecting hundreds of acres of prime soils for future farming generations, but also expanding on existing agricultural conservation in the area.”

For more information or photos, please contact: 

Melanee Cottrill, mcottrill@cafarmtrust.org or (916) 687-3178

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A Good Life

100 Years of Family Farming  “It’s been a good life,” Pete says softly with a wistful smile.  He and his wife of 63 years, Kathy, are seated at their oak kitchen table, where they still welcome friends every Friday evening.  At 89, Pete’s voice is sometimes so soft...

Meet Jim

At 93 years young, Jim Messick started to wonder what would happen to his farm without him.  And then he started to worry about what would happen to his farm without him.  Would it be broken up into tiny pieces, or turned into a parking lot?  Jim knew he didn’t want...

“Old Aggie” – A Fresno State Icon

“Old Aggie,” is an old 1938 International farm truck that was a symbol of Fresno State’s dedication to agriculture. Looking back, “Old Aggie” was rescued by Bill Jones, former California Secretary of State, from the wrecking yard in 1969...

Brandstad Farm: Cherries

Preserving the Past, Stewarding the Future The Brandstad Family grows cherries, walnuts, and olives on their farm in San Joaquin County. Their 150-year old farming legacy and a partnership with our land trust forever protected this special farmland in 2014 – and...

As Long As We Have Enough

As Long As We Have Enough Living and working on a conserved farm “I haven’t been anyplace that I enjoy more than here.”  There is nothing but humble honesty in farmer Tom Ulm’s voice, nothing but sincerity in his eyes, as he admits his adoration for the family...

Brandstad Farms

Preserving the Past, Stewarding the Future: The Brandstad Family has already conserved 175 acres of their family property and now the remaining 158 acres are in the final stages of completion – on its way to a forever-farm ...

Galeazzi Farms

Galeazzi Farm Forever Conserved Under the cool canopy of a grove of mature walnut trees, one can visualize the past and future generations of farmers and families playing and tending to these trees, their branches heavy with bounty. This picture is no truer than on...

Accreditation

The California Farmland Trust is proud to have been an accredited land trust since 2008.  We were one of the first land trusts ever to be accredited.  The accreditation seal is a mark of distinction in land conservation.  It is awarded to land trusts meeting the highest national standards for excellence and conservation permanence.  Each accredited land trust completes a rigorous review process and joins a network of organizations united by strong ethical practices.

More Information

For more information, contact Melanee Cottrill at (916) 687-3178 or by email.