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Grants to California Agencies, Nonprofits, and Tribes for Land Preservation Efforts

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

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

Agency: State

GrantWatch ID #152896

Grant Description

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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 submitting a 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.

Investment Targets

Not more than twenty five percent (25%) of available funding is available for fee acquisition projects. Funds not awarded for fee title acquisition projects may be awarded to fund easement acquisitions or planning grants.

SALC will aim to award 20% of available funding for acquisition grants to fund projects that:

  • Provide secure land tenure to a beginning or Veteran farmer or rancher, a farmer or rancher who is a member of a Federally recognized or nonfederally recognized California Native American tribe on the contact list maintained by the Native American Heritage Commission, or to a farmer or rancher that is a resident of a priority population, or 
  • Provide meaningful benefits to a priority population, as defined in these Guidelines.

SALC will aim to award 5% of available funding for acquisition grants where a a farmer or rancher who is a member of a Federally recognized or non-federally recognized California Native American tribe on the contact list maintained by the Native American Heritage Commissionor a tribal non-profit with 501(c)3 status is either the applicant or a co-applicant on the project.

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 Section 3:

For examples of eligible projects and a list of eligible costs, see:

Need help writing this grant?

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.

Nonprofit organizations must hold a tax exemption as defined under Section 501(c)3 of the Internal Revenue Code and further qualify under Internal Revenue Code Sections 170(b)(1)(A)(vi) or 170(h)(3).

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)

Additional Geographic Information:

APPENDIX H – Priority Populations-Important Farmland Map:

Pre-proposal Conference:

May 12th SALC Acquisition Pre-proposal Workshop (Online)

Interested in submitting an application for a SALC acquisition grant? Pre-proposals are required and this workshop will help you prepare yours. Join us for this online workshop to learn more about the pre-proposal and application process.

Please familiarize yourself with the guidelines and the pre-proposal & application requirements in advance of the meeting.

​Thursday May 12
1:00 p.m. – 2:00 p.m.

Register here​​:

Pre-Application Information:

Acquisition Pre-proposal due: June 15, 2022
Determination of available funding: September 2022
Acquisition Applications due: September 9, 2022
Project Awards: December 2022

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

Submittal of a pre-proposal worksheet for prospective grant applications is mandatory to be eligible for SALC acquisition funding. Grant applications are due September 09, 2022 and will not be accepted unless a pre-proposal worksheet was received for the project by the June 15, 2022 deadline. Pre-proposals and applications must be received electronically by 11:59 p.m. on the deadlines.

SALC Round 8 guidelines and documents:

SALC resources:

Additional Funding 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
Keali’i Bright, Division Director

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