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Here, you can view recent press releases about California Farmland Trust. For media inquiries, please contact us at (916) 687-3178 or by email.

Press Releases

California Farmland Trust Welcomes Lauren Fox as Program Associate

California Farmland Trust Welcomes Lauren Fox as Program Associate

California Farmland Trust (CFT) is pleased to welcome Lauren Fox to the CFT team. Lauren will serve as the program associate.

Lauren joins the organization as a 2021 University of Nevada, Reno graduate, where she earned a Bachelor of Science degree in community health sciences.

Growing up in Elk Grove, Lauren is no stranger to the Central Valley and California’s agricultural economy. Her family’s roots stem back to farming, which helped Lauren develop an appreciation for the land and the natural resources it provides. Seeing the push for development in her hometown, Lauren is eager to contribute to more farmland protection in California, as it influences our health and sustainability.

“Lauren brings unique experiences, a fresh perspective, and forward-thinking mindset to California Farmland Trust,” said Charlotte Mitchell, executive director at CFT. “Given her education in public health and connection to the area, Lauren is motivated to make a positive difference in our local communities. We are happy to welcome her to the organization.”

As the program associate, Lauren will work in collaboration with the conservation director to assist in facilitating transactions, help monitor project stewardship, and provide administrative support throughout the whole organization.

“I am excited to join the California Farmland Trust team and have the opportunity to build a bridge between public health and the agriculture industry,” Lauren said. “I have studied how the environment impacts our health, and I am looking forward to creating awareness about the benefits land conservation has on long-term well-being. I hope to be an example of how you do not have to have a direct agriculture background, to be an advocate.”

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For more information or photos, please contact:

Adriana Toste, atoste@cafarmtrust.org or (916) 667-2217

Find us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter: @cafarmtrust

Bill Hoobler and Mike Machado Appointed to California Farmland Trust’s Board of Directors

Bill Hoobler and Mike Machado Appointed to California Farmland Trust’s Board of Directors

California Farmland Trust (CFT) is proud to introduce well-respected industry professionals and community members, Bill Hoobler and Mike Machado, as new board members.

Hoobler and Machado have been active supporters of CFT for several years and bring a wealth of institutional knowledge and deep-rooted passion to the organization.

“Bill and Mike both offer a talented skillset and valuable expertise to the board, and their combined knowledge in policy and finance will be tremendous additions to our organization,” said Charlotte Mitchell, executive director at California Farmland Trust. “We are thrilled to have such accomplished individuals join the board and look forward to working towards continued success, in service to our critical mission.”

Since 2018, Hoobler has served as a CFT committee member and dedicated his professional life to the agriculture industry. He worked in the Farm Credit system for over 39 years, specializing in lending and crop insurance, before retiring in 2016 and starting his own crop insurance agency in Patterson.

“Being involved with CFT since 2018 has been rewarding,” Hoobler said. “California farmland needs to be protected and CFT is just one way to assure that farmland will remain farmland, forever.”

Machado, a Linden native, grew up on his family’s over-100-year-old farming operation and returned to the family business after serving in Vietnam. Machado also served 14 years to the California State Legislature, where he focused on water, banking, insurance, and budget accountability. In 2015, Machado and his family placed an agricultural conservation easement on their family farm, and later in 2021, Mike protected an additional two parcels.

“Without agriculture, we don’t eat,” Machado said. “Without farmland, we don’t have agriculture. That is why the work of California Farmland Trust is so important.”

Hoobler and Machado join the existing 11 members of CFT’s board of directors and will both serve on the Budget, Finance, and Risk Management committee.

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For more information or photos, please contact:

Adriana Toste, atoste@cafarmtrust.org or (916) 667-2217

Find us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter: @cafarmtrust

California Farmland Trust Protects 253 Acres of Almonds in East Merced County

California Farmland Trust Protects 253 Acres of Almonds in East Merced County

California Farmland Trust is proud to announce the recent permanent protection of 253 acres of almonds in Merced County, owned by The Myers Irrevocable Flying M Ranch Trust.

Established in the 1950s, Flying M Ranch began farming and ranching in the area of Merced, plentiful with rich agricultural soils and riparian areas. As generations of the Myers family have taken over the operation, they have remained focused on their farming roots and ways to be leaders in facing agriculture’s most persistent challenges, including the preservation of vital natural resources.

This 253-acre property placed in an agricultural conservation easement (ACE) with CFT is one of the many conservation easements protecting the working landscapes of Flying M Ranch. Approximately 5,900 acres of grazing land on their farm has been preserved through other conservation organizations, and the Myers are actively pursuing another ACE with CFT.

“The idea of putting a conservation easement on the property was to keep the ranch in a perpetual state, and we like the idea of keeping it continuous,” said Wes Myers, Flying M Ranch Trust co-trustee. “CFT understands farming and ranching, which is why we chose to work with them on this project.”

Funding for this conservation project was provided through the Agricultural Land Mitigation Program (ALMP), which is administered by Department of Conservation (DOC) on behalf of the California High-Speed Rail Authority.

“The growth pressure from the City of Merced and even surrounding communities like Planada, in combination with the Myers desire to be stewards of the land, are all contributing factors that make this farm a quality project for permanent protection,” said Chelsea Slaton, conservation director at CFT. “Given the resources and geographical features of this farm, protecting this property will help sustain long-term production of agricultural commodities for years to come, and we commend the Myers for their stewardship.”

CFT’s portfolio of protected farmland is most prevalent in Merced County and Flying M Ranch adds to these efforts. CFT has now protected 11,669 acres of farmland on 36 farms in Merced County.

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For more information or photos, please contact:

Adriana Toste, atoste@cafarmtrust.org or (916) 667-2217

Find us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter: @cafarmtrust

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Peaches yielded the sweet smell of success

By Vicky Boyd   Standing on the family’s original “Home Ranch” near Ballico, California, Gail Ferrari Martin recently described the arduous journey her father took from a teenager on his own to becoming one of the world’s top canning peach producers. To honor...

Planting the Seed

Aunt’s words of wisdom spurred support for farmland conservation By Vicky Boyd Growing up, Webster Williams’ and Bonner Mendez’s aunt — Alberta Webster Lewallen — used to tell them, “You can never create more land. Don’t ever sell the land.” This was something...

The Road to Conservation

The Road to ConservationBy Vicky Boyd The family history of Jim Jorgensen and his sisters, Joanne Mills and Janice Jorgensen, is deeply rooted in California agriculture. The three were raised on a farm where their parents, William P. and Elinor Jorgensen, grew walnuts...

Concrete California

A Family’s Story of Perseverance To Jean Okuye, nothing is more important than her family and friends.  That’s why, in 1980, Jean didn’t hesitate when a sudden death left untended the family farm where her husband Paul was raised.  She and Paul immediately...

A Good Life

100 Years of Family Farming  “It’s been a good life,” Pete says softly with a wistful smile.  He and his wife of 63 years, Kathy, are seated at their oak kitchen table, where they still welcome friends every Friday evening.  At 89, Pete’s voice is sometimes so soft...

Meet Jim

At 93 years young, Jim Messick started to wonder what would happen to his farm without him.  And then he started to worry about what would happen to his farm without him.  Would it be broken up into tiny pieces, or turned into a parking lot?  Jim knew he didn’t want...

“Old Aggie” – A Fresno State Icon

“Old Aggie,” is an old 1938 International farm truck that was a symbol of Fresno State’s dedication to agriculture. Looking back, “Old Aggie” was rescued by Bill Jones, former California Secretary of State, from the wrecking yard in 1969...

Brandstad Farm: Cherries

Preserving the Past, Stewarding the Future The Brandstad Family grows cherries, walnuts, and olives on their farm in San Joaquin County. Their 150-year old farming legacy and a partnership with our land trust forever protected this special farmland in 2014 – and...

As Long As We Have Enough

As Long As We Have Enough Living and working on a conserved farm “I haven’t been anyplace that I enjoy more than here.”  There is nothing but humble honesty in farmer Tom Ulm’s voice, nothing but sincerity in his eyes, as he admits his adoration for the family...

Brandstad Farms

Preserving the Past, Stewarding the Future: The Brandstad Family has already conserved 175 acres of their family property and now the remaining 158 acres are in the final stages of completion – on its way to a forever-farm ...

Accreditation

The California Farmland Trust is proud to have been an accredited land trust since 2008.  We were one of the first land trusts ever to be accredited.  The accreditation seal is a mark of distinction in land conservation.  It is awarded to land trusts meeting the highest national standards for excellence and conservation permanence.  Each accredited land trust completes a rigorous review process and joins a network of organizations united by strong ethical practices.

More Information

For more information, contact us at (916) 687-3178 or by email.