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Grants to California Agencies, Nonprofits, and Tribes for Initiatives to Preserve Agricultural Lands

Sustainable Agricultural Lands Conservation (SALC) Program - Agricultural Conservation Acquisition Grant


GrantWatch ID#

Funding Source
California Department of Conservation (DOC) - Division of Land Resource Protection
Division of Land Resource Protection
Array ( )

Geographic Focus
USA: California

Important Dates
Conference Date: 03/15/23
LOI Date: 06/16/23
Deadline: 09/08/23 11:59 PM Save

Grant Description
Grants to California government agencies, nonprofit organizations, conservation districts, and tribes for initiatives to preserve agricultural lands. Applicants are required to submit a preliminary application prior to the full proposal. Funding is intended to support land acquisition in order to protect important agricultural lands under threat of conversion to non-agricultural uses.

Under the Cap-and-Trade Auction Proceeds Third Investment Plan and Executive Order N-82-20, California aims to invest California Climate Investment dollars in the conservation of working lands in order to facilitate net climate benefits and long term carbon sequestration in the land base. Preventing the conversion of agricultural land to residential or rural residential development avoids vehicle miles traveled and related greenhouse gas emissions.

Eligible Projects

Agricultural conservation acquisition grants will be provided to fund the purchase of conservation easements or fee title to agricultural land, including where an easement or fee purchase is part of a buy/protect/sell strategy to conserve the land. For purposes of this program agricultural land includes both cultivated and non-cultivated lands that support an agricultural use, including gathering and activities that promote healthy trees, shrubs, and perennial forbs for the cultivation of traditional foods, herbal medicine, fibers (such as basketry material), and dyes so long as such activities are led by or conducted in partnership with an eligible California Native American tribe or members thereof.

Agricultural intensification restrictions on non-cultivated land are permitted if each of the following conditions is met:

  • The restriction is consistent with the property’s current and reasonably foreseeable agricultural use, and
  • Agricultural use of the property is not substantially impaired. 

For details about this funding stream, see:


Additional Eligibility Criteria
Cities, counties, non-profit organizations, resource conservation districts, regional park or open-space districts, regional park or open-space authorities, and federally recognized California Native American tribe or a nonfederally recognized California Native American tribe that is on the contact list maintained by the Native American Heritage Commission, are eligible to apply for funding.

An application can be submitted by either (1) a single applicant where the applicant is the intended easement holder or intended conservation buyer or (2) multiple entities that are collaborating on the acquisition, one of which must be identified as the intended easement holder or intended conservation buyer. The easement holder/conservation buyer must have the conservation of agriculture, rangeland, or farmland among their stated purposes, as is prescribed by statute, or as expressed in the entity's adopted policies. The applicant and co-applicant cannot already have an interest in the property.

Nonprofit applicants that intend to be the easement or fee title holder of the acquired property must be accredited by the Land Trust Accreditation Commission or have adopted equivalent or greater policies regarding conflict of interest, amendments, monitoring, stewardship endowments, and enforcement, as relevant, prior to submission of an application. Those that haven’t must apply with either a co-applicant that has such policies in place or a government entity.

Non-profit applicants must hold a tax exemption as defined under Section 501(c)3 of the Internal Revenue Code and be qualified to do business in the state. Non-profit organization must also have as their primary purpose the preservation, protection, or enhancement of agriculture, farmland, rangeland, or tribal cultural resources).

Additional Geographic Information:

Priority Populations-Important Farmland Map:

Ineligible Associated Costs:
- Costs incurred outside the grant term
- Indirect or overhead costs
- Travel
- Ceremonial expenses
- Expenses for publicity
- Bonus payments of any kind
- Interest expenses
- Damage judgments arising from the acquisition, construction, or equipping of a facility, whether determined by judicial process, arbitration, negotiation, or otherwise
- Services, materials, or equipment obtained under any other State program
- Real estate brokerage fees and/or expenses
- Stewardship or legal defense funds
- CEQA documentation
- Food or beverages (whether or not incurred as part of meetings, workshops, training, ceremonies, or other events)

Pre-Proposal Conference
Workshop 1- Northern California (Virtual and in-person)
CNRA Building, Sacramento
Monday March 13, 2023
11:00 a.m. – 12:15 p.m.
Register at:

​​​Workshop 2- Central and Southern California​​​
(Virtual and in-person)​
Central California: Cooperative Extension, Merced
Southern California: San Diego Farm Bureau, Escondido
Wednesday March 15, 2023
1:00 p.m. – 2:15 p.m. ​​
Register at:

Please note: Additional location and parking details are provided with registration materials​.

Pre-Application Information
FY 2022-23 (Round 9) SALC Dates and Deadlines (subject to change):
- Draft Guidelines available for public comment: February 10, 2023
- Public comment workshops: March 2023
- Public comment closes: March 17, 2023
- Guidelines approved/released: April SGC meeting
- Acquisition pre-proposals due: June 16, 2023
- Acquisition applications due: September 8, 2023

Applicants must identify all existing or potential match funders in their preproposals and applications. Applicants cannot utilize other Department-administered program funding as match toward the purchase price of the property interest.

Initial Screening–Pre-proposals
Because the acquisition grant application process entails a significant amount of work, applicants are required to submit a pre-proposal to the Department prior to applying.

Applicants are required to notify the planning director of the county government within which the project is located about the application.

Guidelines information:

Estimated Size of Grant
There is no maximum award for Acquisition grants.

All projects awarded funding are eligible to receive up to $10,000, in addition to the funding toward the acquisition and associated costs, to develop a management plan for the property, or up to $10,000 to develop a carbon farm plan for the property.

Contact Information
Applicants must submit the entire application to the Department via email at

Contact for Questions
Department of Conservation
Division of Land Resource Protection
Shanna Atherton-Bauer, Program Manager

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