Welcome to the online newsroom for the California Farmland Trust.  Here you’ll find all the elements you need to craft a story on California farmland conservation.  For media inquiries, please contact us at (916) 687-3178 or by email.

Press Releases

San Joaquin County Easement Creates 200-acre Greenbelt Near Farmington

San Joaquin County Easement Creates 200-acre Greenbelt Near Farmington

Following their brother’s stewardship lead, Tom Murphy and Chester Murphy have protected 72 acres of farmland destined to be developed in San Joaquin County. Combined with their brother Bill, the Murphy family now has collectively created a 200-acre greenbelt in the area of Farmington, California, east of Stockton.

“Highway 4 is a major east-west artery connecting the Bay Area to the Sierra Nevada,” shared Charlotte Mitchell, California Farmland Trust’s (CFT) executive director. “Protecting the important farmland along this artery sends a clear signal to local planners that urbanization along this corridor needs to be thoughtfully planned.”

Marked by a little red brick house built by their grandfather in the 1930s, the property was initially used for dryland cattle grazing. Once the ground was leveled and pumps were installed, the prime soil was planted with irrigated row crops and currently has a 6-year-old almond orchard.

“Permanently protecting the Murphys’ farm will not only ensure scenic views along Highway 4 but will encourage ongoing production of a permanent orchard crop that employs low-carbon best management practices,” said Chelsea Molina, CFT conservation director. “In addition, Duck Creek, which flows along the farm’s northern boundary, provides both riparian habitat and a corridor for wildlife.”

Funds for the conservation easement were made available through the California Strategic Growth Council’s (SGC) Sustainable Agricultural Lands Conservation Program (SALC) in collaboration with the Department of Conservation. SALC is part of California Climate Investments, a statewide program that puts billions of Cap-and-Trade dollars to work reducing greenhouse gas emissions, strengthening the economy, and improving public health and the environment — particularly in disadvantaged communities.

“Congratulations to the Murphy family and California Farmland Trust for working together to permanently protect these 72 acres in San Joaquin County,” said Jessica Buendia, SGC’s Acting Executive Director. “By expanding its land conservation legacy, the Murphy family is helping to achieve California’s climate goals while ensuring this land will continue to produce fresh, healthy foods as part of the state’s agricultural economy.”

The Murphys’ property compliments the existing 14 easements and 2,872 acres permanently protected by CFT in San Joaquin County.


For more information or photos, please contact:

Adriana Toste, or (916) 667-2217

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

California Farmland Trust Welcomes Adriana Toste As New Hire

California Farmland Trust Welcomes Adriana Toste As New Hire

California Farmland Trust (CFT) is pleased to announce the addition of Adriana Toste to the CFT team. Toste will serve as the communications associate.

Toste is a recent graduate of Oklahoma State University (OSU), where she earned a bachelor’s degree in agricultural communications and was involved in the OSU Dairy Science Club, Sigma Alpha Professional Sorority, and the OSU Dairy Judging Team. Prior to attending OSU, Toste attended Modesto Junior College and graduated with associate degrees in agricultural business, agricultural sales, and agriculture science.

Toste’s role will be focused in producing CFT’s digital and social media campaigns, writing and design content, event planning and video and photography efforts. Toste will also support CFT’s external messaging tactics and mission.

“We are thrilled to have Adriana join the California Farmland Trust team,” shared Charlotte Mitchell, executive director. “Her background gives her context for why our mission is important, while her experience and education have provided her the opportunities to develop skills in educating, marketing and advocating for agriculture.”

A native of Gustine, Calif., Toste grew up on her family’s commercial dairy operation, where she developed a passion for agriculture and farming. Her active involvement in 4-H and FFA throughout her upbringing piqued her interest in the communications field and led her to pursue a career as an agricultural communicator.

“I am so honored to have the opportunity to share the message of the California Farmland Trust and help California farmers preserve their land for generations to come,” said Toste. “It is extremely rewarding to be able to serve in an organization where my mission and values align, and I’m excited to assist in their communications messaging, outreach, and education.”

Welcome Adriana to the team by sending her a welcome email at


California Farmland Trust Appoints Arisman, Beretta and Whitman to Trustee Council

California Farmland Trust Appoints Arisman, Beretta and Whitman to Trustee Council

California Farmland Trust (CFT) has announced the addition of three new members to the organization’s Trustee Council.

“Our Trustee Council is comprised of influential industry leaders and we are honored to add to that prominent group,” shared Charlotte Mitchell, CFT Executive Director. “The addition of Mia Arisman, Jennifer Beretta and Becca Whitman will compliment a very professional and passionate group who will continue to advise CFT as we continue our efforts to protect farmland.”

Newly Appointed Trustee Council Members

Mia Arisman currently serves as the California Association, Future Farmers of America (FFA) State Secretary. As a State FFA Officer, Mia and her team spend a year learning about California’s diverse agriculture industry and share their knowledge with the more than 95,000 youth California FFA members. In addition, Mia provides insight to industry leaders on how to engage with the next generation of the agricultural workforce. Mia shared “I’m excited for my role promoting the conservation and protection of California agriculture to my peers and learning how to make this diverse industry better for future generations.”



 Jennifer Beretta resides in Santa Rosa and serves as the Assistant Herdsman for her family’s dairy operation. In addition, she serves as the First Vice President for the Sonoma County Farm Bureau, is the current Young Farmers & Ranchers (YF&R) State Chair, is a local 4-H leader, Holstein Club President and is on the Dairy Advisory Board for the Sonoma County Fair. “As a Trustee Council member, I look forward to creating a better partnership between CFT and YF&R and learning more about conservation         opportunities for agriculture,” Beretta expressed.



Becca Whitman is the Senior Manager for Community Relations, and Executive Director for Food For Families for Raley’s. Becca has built her career on creating successful partnerships and currently leads Raley’s community giving efforts in supporting causes that make significant impacts, including California Farmland Trust among many other agricultural organizations. “It’s an honor to serve as an advocate for California Farmland Trust and help protect the farms that feed our families,” shared Whitman. “So much of our health and happiness is based on the food we eat, and it’s incredibly important to me and Raley’s that we grow healthy communities in partnership with our farmers,” Whitman added.


For more information or headshots, please contact:

Katie Otto, or (209) 712-0918

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

Story Resources

Media Kit







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 ...


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.