John Galeazzi started farming nearly 50 years ago and always dreamed of passing on his legacy to his children and grandchildren. His vision was realized recently when his riverfront walnut orchard in San Joaquin County was permanently shielded from development in a collaboration involving federal, state and local government.
"As a farmer you want to see this rich soil remain in agriculture," Galeazzi says. "With this land being protected now, I know my legacy of farming will be passed down to my kids and grandkids and they'll be able to enjoy the walnut orchards for many years to come. That's part of what farming is all about."
The Galeazzi family purchased the 253-acre property in Lockeford, east of Stockton, in 2004. The farm is now enrolled in an agricultural conservation easement, permanently extinguishing development rights and ensuring that it will remain in agricultural use forever.
The Central Valley Farmland Trust (CVFT) will hold the easement. It obtained the bulk of funding to create the easement from the federal Natural Resources Conservation Service's (NRCS) Farm and Ranchland Protection Program. Other contributions came from the state Department of Conservation's California Farmland Conservancy Program and city of Stockton farmland mitigation funds.