This month, the California Farmland Trust announced the permanent protection of 253 acres of almonds in Merced County, owned by The Myers Irrevocable Flying M Ranch Trust.
Established in the 1950s, Flying M Ranch began farming and ranching in the area of Merced, plentiful with rich agricultural soils and riparian areas. As generations of the Myers family have taken over the operation, they have remained focused on their farming roots and ways to be leaders in facing agriculture’s most persistent challenges, including the preservation of vital natural resources.
This 253-acre property placed in an agricultural conservation easement (ACE) with CFT is one of the many conservation easements protecting the working landscapes of Flying M Ranch. Approximately 5,900 acres of grazing land on their farm has been preserved through other conservation organizations, and the Myers are actively pursuing another ACE with CFT.
“The idea of putting a conservation easement on the property was to keep the ranch in a perpetual state, and we like the idea of keeping it continuous,” said Wes Myers, Flying M Ranch Trust co-trustee. “CFT understands farming and ranching, which is why we chose to work with them on this project.”
Funding for this conservation project was provided through the Agricultural Land Mitigation Program (ALMP), which is administered by Department of Conservation (DOC) on behalf of the California High-Speed Rail Authority.
“The growth pressure from the City of Merced and even surrounding communities like Planada, in combination with the Myers desire to be stewards of the land, are all contributing factors that make this farm a quality project for permanent protection,” said Chelsea Slaton, conservation director at CFT. “Given the resources and geographical features of this farm, protecting this property will help sustain long-term production of agricultural commodities for years to come, and we commend the Myers for their stewardship.”
CFT’s portfolio of protected farmland is most prevalent in Merced County and Flying M Ranch adds to these efforts. CFT has now protected 11,669 acres of farmland on 36 farms in Merced County.
The California Farmland Trust is a California nonprofit 501(c)(3). Its mission is to help farmers protect the best farmland in the world. To date, the Trust has protected 17,606 acres of farmland on 81 farms. To learn more visit: www.cafarmtrust.org.