Press Release State Invites Applications For Projects to Protect Agricultural Land Forever, Reduce Emissions


Cap-and-Trade Funded Sustainable Agricultural Lands Conservation Program Kicks Off Round 7

Sacramento – The California Strategic Growth Council (SGC) seeks applications from cities, counties, Native American tribes, land trusts, and other governmental and non-profit entities for projects that protect agricultural land and reduce greenhouse gases. Projects funded through SGC’s Sustainable Agricultural Lands Conservation Program (SALC) help encourage infill, strengthen the agricultural economy, and help California meet its climate change goals. The funding enables successful applicants to develop plans to protect agricultural lands or to conserve such lands directly by acquiring land easements or purchasing them outright. To date, SALC investments totaling $232.9 million will protect more than 117,000 acres of land forever.

SALC’s seventh funding round opened today with the Council’s approval of updated program guidelines. While the total amount available in Round 7 of the Cap-and-Trade-funded program has yet to be determined, funds available in SALC’s sixth round last year totaled nearly $58 million.

“By protecting agricultural lands, Sustainable Agricultural Lands Conservation Program awardees play a critical role in advancing the State’s integrated climate change strategy and ensure that protected lands continue to produce food for Californians and the world,” said Louise Bedsworth, Executive Director of the California Strategic Growth Council. “We are thrilled to open SALC’s seventh round to applicants across California.”

SALC prioritizes funding for projects that benefit California Native American Tribes; beginning farmers and ranchers; farmers and ranchers who are U.S. Military Veterans; and farmers and ranchers who represent disadvantaged communities, low-income communities, or low-income households.

Launched by SGC in 2015, SALC has awarded $232.9 million in its first six years to projects that conserve 101 properties in 34 counties, protecting over 117,000 acres of agricultural land in perpetuity; and support development of 24 regional plans to conserve agricultural land. View map.

The California Department of Conservation (DOC) administers SALC on behalf of SGC, leading development of the program guidelines and coordinating and interagency team that reviews proposals and develops recommendations for funding. After grants are awarded, DOC works with applicants to successfully complete projects protecting California’s valuable agricultural resources.

"The SALC program's benefits are two-fold. It protects working agricultural lands and the food supply-chain economies they support. At the same time, it reduces or eliminates carbon emissions from lands converted to urban use," said Department of Conservation Director David Shabazian. "It's a win-win program, and we're hoping to receive many worthy project applications in the next round."

SALC contributes to the State of California’s efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by protecting agricultural lands, supporting infill and compact development, and supporting low-emission transportation alternatives such as public transit and bike lanes. Importantly, SALC advances the goals of Governor Gavin Newsom’s Executive Order N-82-20, which calls for the conservation of 30 percent of California’s land and coastal waters by 2030. In addition, SALC is part of a larger effort by the State to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and the program is part of California Climate Investments (CCI), 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 envi¬ronment – particularly in disadvantaged communities. To date, SGC has awarded nearly $2 billion in CCI funding through its competitive grant programs to facilitate those goals.

Information for Applicants

SALC provides funding for land acquisition projects or grants for land conservation planning. Eligible land acquisition applicants interested in funding for easement or fee acquisition projects, must submit pre-proposals, or concept proposals, by Tuesday, June 1, 2021. Applicants interested in submitting a pre-proposal for planning grants should do so by July 1, 2021 to guarantee feedback in time for the final deadline, which is September 10, 2021 for all acquisition and planning grant applications.

For additional information or for grant application materials, please contact the SALC Program at (916) 324-0850,, or the SALC website.

Media Contacts

California Strategic Growth Council:
Sandra Lupien, (916) 634-3359,