Here in the Sierra Nevada foothills, the needs of local farmers and ranchers are changing and our agricultural lands are at risk.
Across the state, California loses approximately 40,000 acres of farmland each year, and this trend is affecting us right here in the Yuba and Bear River watersheds. More and more, local landowners are feeling the pressure to subdivide or convert their land from agriculture to other uses, like commercial or residential development. The Nevada County Food System Assessment, published in 2020 by the Nevada County Food Policy Council, identified that protecting and expanding agricultural land is a key strategy for creating more community health. According to the assessment, the county needs almost 20 times the acreage currently used to grow fruits, vegetables and nuts to meet current consumer demand. To address these challenges and protect our local farmlands, Bear Yuba Land Trust uses a tool called an agricultural conservation easement. This solution offers financial incentives to landowners and peace of mind that local agricultural lands will be protected forever.