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.

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For more information or photos, please contact:

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

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