Cover photo for California Farmland Conservancy Program

California Farmland Conservancy Program (CFCP)

California Department of Conservation

Closed October 11, 2021


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


CFCP may award grants to local governments and private nonprofit (501(c)3) organizations which have the conservation of agricultural lands among their defined purposes. For more details on the types of grants that are funded, see Grant Categories.

Government organizations:

Eligible governmental organizations include cities, counties, resource conservation districts, and regional park or open-space districts or regional park or open-space authorities that have the conservation of farmland among their stated purposes.


To be eligible to apply for CFCP funds, 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) (Public Resources Code Section 10221). ​

Agricultural conservation easement projects are considered eligible for grant funding if they meet the following criteria (Public Resources Code Section 10251):

  • The parcel proposed for conservation is expected to continue to be used for, and is large enough to sustain, commercial agricultural production. The land is also in an area that possesses the necessary market, infrastructure, and agricultural support services, and the surrounding parcel sizes and land uses will support long-term commercial agricultural production.

  • The applicable city or county has a general plan which demonstrates a long-term commitment to agricultural land conservation. This commitment shall be reflected in the goals, objectives, policies, and implementation measures of the plan, as they relate to the area of the county or city where the easement acquisition is proposed.

  • Without conservation, the land proposed for protection is likely to be converted to non-agricultural use in the foreseeable future.​


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.


Similar Programs



October 11, 2021


California Department of Conservation (CADC)

Financial Instrument

Grant, Easement

Total Program Funding


Image Credit


Updated September 28, 2021

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