POINT REYES STATION, Calif. — Marin Agricultural Land Trust (MALT), a leading farmland trust in California’s Marin County, announced today that it has secured public funding from Marin County to cover half the cost of an agricultural conservation easement to permanently protect the scenic 540-acre Duncan Ranch and its long history of beef and dairy cattle grazing. With nearly 100 percent of the property designated as “Farmland of Local Importance” by California’s Department of Conservation, the ranch’s rich soils and diverse, healthy grassland are capable of supporting a variety of agricultural operations such as row crops, orchards, egg-laying hens or mixed livestock grazing.
“This potential for adaptable use makes Duncan Ranch critical to the long-term viability of agriculture in Marin County,” said Eric Rubenstahl, associate director, stewardship. “Permanent protection of Duncan Ranch, which was at risk for estate development and falling out of agricultural production, enables the property to continue its contributions to the local economy while also allowing for enhanced stewardship of its farmland and woodlands.”
Funding for the $2.7 million purchase of the Duncan Ranch easement comes from two sources: half from private donations to MALT and half from Marin County’s Measure A, a quarter-cent sales tax devoted to preserving Marin County’s parks, open spaces and agricultural land.
“We are grateful for the county’s continued support for protecting agricultural land for the community,” said Lily Verdone, executive director. “We’re excited about our current pipeline of agricultural conservation easements, which including Duncan totals six properties representing 3,919 acres.”
Duncan Ranch Important to Marin’s Agricultural Economy and Environment
Situated less than five miles from the center of historic Tomales, Duncan Ranch has approximately 518 acres of coastal grasslands and 22 acres of a mosaic of oak woodland and California bay forest habitat.
Duncan Ranch’s two assessor parcels are contiguous with the MALT-protected McIsaac Dairy, McDowell Ranch and Hicks Canyon Ranch properties, contributing to 11,069 contiguous acres of MALT-protected land. Because the same family owns both Duncan and McDowell ranches, protection of both properties will provide new opportunities for rotational grazing, which allows pasture plants, grasses and soils time to recover, which increases forage productivity and resilience
Marin Agricultural Land Trust is a nonprofit organization created in 1980 to permanently protect Marin’s agricultural land for agricultural use and establish Marin County as a thriving and inclusive agricultural community in a healthy and diverse natural environment. Some of the Bay Area’s most highly acclaimed dairy and meat products and organic crops are produced on farmland protected by MALT, which totals more than 55,000 acres. To learn more about MALT, visit malt.org.
–Marin Agricultural Land Trust