Q&A on Easements

Publication 3507, Prune

Agricultural Conservation Easement Basics:

  • Each agricultural conservation easement is tailored to the desires of the landowner.
  • The landowner retains the ownership and continued use of the land.
  • Central Valley Farmland Trust is not involved in the day-to-day operation and the public is not allowed on a property with a conservation easement.
  • The land may be sold or transferred to heirs in a will or a trust, but the easement remains in place allowing that property to stay in agriculture for future generations.
  • Property taxes and capital gains may be minimized by placing a conservation on your land.

Q: What do landowners need to know to explore working with CVFT?

A: The most important aspect in deciding whether or not to place an ACE on one’s property is having full and complete information on the implications and process. ACEs are not for everyone or every property. We meet directly with each landowner and make a deliberate and concerted effort to impart comprehensive information and provide timely and accurate responses to their questions. The final decision rests with the landowner. CVFT assists in the decision process, but will NEVER pressure a landowner if it is not the right decision for all parties.

Q: How do ACEs serve as a ‘tool’ for farmers?

A: 1. The landowner can preserve the land as a testimonial to his or her ancestors who originally settled the land and would want it to remain in agriculture. 2. The proceeds from the sale of an ACE can be used to pay down debt and or acquire additional property. 3. As an estate planning tool enabling the transfer of assets among siblings prior to the death of the landowner. 4. As a tax planning tool by donating all or a portion of an ACE.

Q: As CVFT expands their territory, what does this mean to the non-farmer who has an affinity to farms and farmers?

A: By placing ACEs in more countries throughout CA, the viability of the Central Valley’s productive farmland base is enhanced; the inherent open space characteristics associated with permanent working landscapes is preserved; the inherent habitat value of open farmland is preserved; and our food source, safety and security is enhanced.

Q: Is expanding CVFT’s territory a forecast of the future, like into Madera County recently? Does CVFT have plans to continue expanding its geographic service area? Why or why not?

A: We do not have definitive plans to expand beyond the current five service area counties. Having said that, we are most interested in helping preserve prime irrigated farmland in the Central San Joaquin Valley for future generations. If we are asked to assist in that effort and it includes areas beyond our current service area, we will give it full consideration.

Q: Where can landowners or other folks interested in this topic learn more?

A: Visit our website (www.cafarmtrust.org), attend one of our outreach meetings, or call us directly (916-687-3178). We will gladly visit with you to determine if the property meets basic selection criteria guidelines and whether it makes sense to proceed to the next level of discussion. Remember, placing an ACE on one’s property is a voluntary decision which must be based on full and complete information.