The Land Trust was formed in the summer of 1993. We chose our first officers and filed our incorporation papers in November, and in December we celebrated with our first Board Dinner at the Feed Lot.
In 1994, we wrote a series of articles for the Community Forum section of the Free Lance. Members of the Board of Directors participated in the public hearings on Hollister’s new General Plan, advocating policies to aid in preservation of agricultural land. We held a contest for a logo for SBALT. We also qualified for non-profit status with the IRS.
We adopted our logo in March, 1995. We began discussions leading to our first conservation easement, on 68 acres of land in the San Juan Valley. In September, we did our first booth at the San Benito County Fair.
The next year, we hosted a workshop on clarification of values and issues involving preservation of agricultural land, with facilitators from UC Davis. Our second fair booth was successful; we were visited by 50 to 100 local people who took brochures and expressed support.
We recorded our first two conservation easements, preserving 68 acres in the San Juan Valley and 1694 acres on Quien Sabe Road from development. In April, we received a $3000 grant from the Trust for Public Land, and we used part of that grant in November for a training session for Board members with Eric Vink of the American Farmland Trust. Erik also held a meeting with local public officials.
The Mission of the San Benito Agricultural Land Trust is to encourage and facilitate preservation of productive and regionally significant agricultural lands within San Benito County through acquisition, holding, monitoring and managing conservation easements and real property interests in a manner designed to protect and enhance sustainable agricultural production and maintaining the rural character of the county.
The Vision of the San Benito Agricultural Land Trust is to be the vehicle in which to protect the agricultural lands and heritage of San Benito County through information, planning strategies and agricultural conservation easements for farmers, ranchers and rural property owners. SBALT sees itself being a trusted institution to accept donated conservation easements, facilitate mitigation management for development on agricultural lands and growing in financial security to allow purchase of conservation easements.