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Merced Dairy Farmer Donates Easement to Mitigate for School Building

The California Farmland Trust (CFT) is pleased to share that another property in Merced County has been permanently protected. Simon and Christine Vander Woude, have donated a conservation easement on their property in Merced. The Vander Woude’s nearly 65-acre parcel of farmland is currently planted in field crops for their dairy operation and will forever remain in agriculture.

“I served on the building committee for the development of Stone Ridge Christian High School,” shared Simon Vander Woude. “The school is a project we were very passionate about. When it was determined that the school would need to mitigate for the land they were building on, I was pleased that we had a parcel that could be utilized for such purposes. Given our interest in the school, we were happy to donate the value of the easement and know that the land would forever be protected,” Vander Woude added.

The property, located on the westside of Merced, met the mitigation requirement as defined by Merced County, and that’s where CFT stepped in. As a land trust focused on farmland, CFT worked with the Vander Woude’s and the school, to ensure this property would be protected and monitored forever. The agricultural conservation easement (ACE) complimented the Vander Woude’s other sustainability efforts, which include a solar field, as well as other efficient and regenerative water and farm management practices.

“No two easement projects are the same, but this is unique because Simon and Christine felt so strongly about donating the value of the easement to help the school fulfill the mitigation requirement. Foregoing compensation for the development rights isn’t an easy choice, but we commend their decision,” said Charlotte Mitchell CFT Executive Director.

The Vander Woude property compliments the existing 34 easements and more than 11,000 acres, that CFT has worked with landowners to permanently protect in Merced County.

The California Farmland Trust is a California Non-Profit 501(c)(3). Our mission is to help farmers protect the best farmland in the world. To date, we have protected 16,708 acres of farmland on 77 family farms. To learn more visit us: www.cafarmtrust.org.

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