Thanks to support from the Henry Mayo Newhall Foundation, California Farmland Trust (CFT) is embarking on a conservation fundraising campaign to protect Fiorini Ranch.
Located in Merced County, the 60-acre almond operation is owned and operated by a multi-generational farming family, the Fiorini’s. Currently operated by a third-generation family member, Randy Fiorini, the fourth and fifth generation family members are now engaged, and becoming more involved, continuing the family’s legacy. The Fiorini family reached out to the California Farmland Trust to ensure the land and their legacy will remain in agriculture, forever.
The California Farmland Trust has partnered with farmers for over 16 years to protect farmland from being subdivided and developed into homes and shopping centers, while contributing to agriculture’s unique role in climate benefits. “Working with the Fiorini family to ensure this land will provide food, open space and climate benefits is essential,” said Charlotte Mitchell, CFT Executive Director. The Fiorini family has adopted and embraced sustainable farming practices that reduce greenhouse gas emissions, improve the biodiversity of beneficial insects, and further reduce soil erosion.
In the coming months, CFT will be pursuing a grant that will provide some of the funding needed to purchase the development right and protect the land with an agricultural conservation easement. CFT is required to source matching funds when pursuing grant funding, which is where the Henry Mayo Newhall Foundation (Foundation) support is focused. In late 2020, the Foundation provided CFT with nearly half of the matching funds needed to meet this requirement. Funds from the Foundation will be leveraged by CFT to raise the remaining $85,000.
“The support from the Henry Mayo Newhall Foundation really made this project achievable,” shared Mitchell. “It’s difficult to obtain the match requirement needed for a grant and the Henry Mayo Newhall Foundation provided funding that will essentially double every other donation we receive for the project, helping us achieve the match requirement.”
The first step will be launching a campaign that leverages the Foundation’s $80,000 donation to raise the remaining $85,000 needed to obtain the match required. CFT will simultaneously pursue a grant for the remaining seventy-five percent needed to fund the easement. Once secured, the easement will ensure the farmland will never be subdivided and will no longer be subject to development pressures from nearby communities for housing or commercial development.
“Our family has farmed this land sustainably, and productively for over 100 years. It is threatened by the potential of urban development and our family wishes to preserve the ability to continue to contribute to our nations healthy food needs,” shared Randy Fiorini.
If you would like to learn more or become involved in this project, please visit: www.cafarmtrust.org/protect-fiorini-ranch.