Cover photo for California Farmland Conservancy Program

California Farmland Conservancy Program (CFCP)

California Department of Conservation

Closed November 25, 2022

The California Farmland Conservancy Program (CFCP) is a statewide grant program that supports local efforts to establish agricultural conservation easements and land improvement projects for the purpose of preserving important agricultural land resources and enhancing sustainable agricultural uses.

CFCP was created by the California Farmland Conservancy Program Act of 1995 to:

  • Encourage voluntary, long-term private stewardship of agricultural lands

  • Protect farming and ranching operations in agricultural areas from nonfarm or nonranch land uses that may hinder or curtail such operations

  • Encourage long-term conservation of productive agricultural lands in order to protect the agricultural economy of rural communities, as well as that of the state, for future generations of Californians

  • Encourage local land use planning for orderly and efficient urban growth and conservation of agricultural land

  • Encourage local land use planning decisions that are consistent with the state's agricultural land conservation policies

  • Encourage improvements to enhance long-term sustainable agricultural uses


Eligible Project Type(s):

  • Agricultural Conservation Easements: Grants to protect agricultural lands under threat of conversion to nonagricultural uses through the acquisition of voluntary, permanent agricultural conservation easements.

  • Land Improvement Grants: Grants for the improvement of lands protected by a conservation easement or similar long-term conservation agreement as determined by the Department’s Director if the improvement will directly benefit the protected land.

Eligible Applicants:

  • ​Tax-exempt nonprofit organizations qualified under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code and qualified to do business in this state. Eligible non-profits must have as their primary purpose the preservation, protection, or enhancement of land in its natural, scenic, historical, agricultural, forested, or open-space condition or use (“Primary Purpose").

  • The state or any city, county, city and county, district, or other state or local governmental entity, if otherwise authorized to acquire and hold title to real property and if the conservation easement is voluntarily conveyed.

  • ​A 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 to protect a California Native American prehistoric, archaeological, cultural, spiritual, or ceremonial place, if the conservation easement is voluntarily conveyed. ​


Match Funding

Match funding is required. Both project types require a minimum amount of match funding. The amount of match is a component of the selection criteria used to evaluate grant applications. Matching funds may be provided directly by the applicant, or from other funding sources (e.g., other grant funds, local government contributions, volunteer hours). Except for the easement monitoring endowment, costs used for match funding must be eligible costs.


Each application for an easement grant pursuant to CFCP must include a matching component of either (1) not less than 5 percent of the value of the grant or (2) a landowner donation of not less than 10 percent of the fair market value of the agricultural conservation easement. Combinations of donations and match must be at least 10 percent of the value of the easement. Up to 50 percent of easement monitoring endowment contributions may be applied toward the match requirement.

Land Improvement:

Each application for a Land Improvement grants pursuant to CFCP must include a matching component of not less than 10% of the proposal’s total cost. Grant applications will be evaluated, in part, based on the amount of matching funds and in-kind services provided.

Application Instructions

The pre-proposal and application templates for agricultural conservation easements and agricultural land improvement grants are provided in Appendix B, Appendix C, Appendix D, and Appendix E of the 2022 CFCP Solicitation & Guidelines (pdf), and are available on the Department’s website. Applicants should familiarize themselves with this solicitation prior to completing the application.

Applicants must submit all required application materials via email to

Pre-proposals and applications must be received electronically by 11:59 p.m. on the deadline.

Each applicant will receive an acknowledgement upon the Department’s receipt of their pre-proposal and application.


Release Date

October 17, 2022


November 25, 2022

Financial Instrument

Grant, Easement

Total Program Funding


Updated March 18, 2024

Image Credit: sonstroem

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