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Moore farm expands conservation partnership with SRT

November 17, 2022 by Aaron

SRT partners with farmers and ranchers throughout the San Joaquin Valley to protect some of the most fertile and productive farmland in the world. From time to time, SRT's Currents quarterly features our partners who entrust permanent protection of their cherished land–often owned by their family for generations–to SRT’s conservation expertise. Recently, SRT acquired a third agricultural conservation easement (ACE) with Jim and Donna Moore, expanding their protected land to 187 acres. The following interview highlights a farmer’s perspective on the decisions behind establishing this important relationship. It was edited lightly for clarity.

Currents: What initially prompted you to want easements on your properties? Have they met your expectations? How did you learn about SRT?

Jim Moore: I first learned about SRT from my neighbor, Paul Buxman, and was intrigued by the possibility of permanently preserving our ranch as farmland. I like the concept of being compensated for the development rights to the property, which since I plan to continue farming, rights which I would never use anyway. One of our parcels is adjacent to a high-end subdivision. During times of financial hardship it was tempting to consider selling parcels to developers because the monetary gain would have been so great. But I am the third generation to farm this land. When I inherited it I promised my father I would not sell the property to developers.

Currents: What do you consider the easements' major benefits, according to your criteria and/or strategy for them?

JM: In a state where building is highly prized and farmland is disappearing at an alarming rate, a major benefit of having an easement is knowing that your land will continue to be farmed and not developed, for generations to come. Another benefit is being compensated for the development rights.

Currents: Did you have any initial concerns about putting easements on the land? If so, have they been assuaged? 

JM: Initially, we had very little knowledge and no experience with this type of land preservation easement. We were concerned with how the building envelope concept worked if we wanted to expand our shops. The SRT staff was very knowledgable and they worked with us through all of our concerns. We are completely satisfied with the result.

Currents: What advice would you give other farmers and ranchers considering an ACE? 

JM: The main advice I would give those considering an easement is to not be afraid to ask questions.

Currents: Please tell our readers how you feel about your land and why it is important to you.

JM: I consider myself the current caretaker of this property. I was born and raised on this farm and always knew I wanted to be a farmer. Working with SRT assures that this land will be available for my children and grandchildren to farm. Everyone at SRT was very knowledgeable, helpful and committed to the preservation of farmland. They were very easy to work with and all share the same vision.

Currents: Please tell readers where are your various easement lands located.

JM: Our properties are located four miles from Kingsburg, on the east side of the Kings River.

Currents: What kind of farming do you do? For how long? What if any other pursuits might you be involved in, as well?

JM: We currently farm grapes, almonds, olives, alfalfa, corn and wheat. The first time I started a tractor unassisted was at the tender age of two. My mother was horrified! But I’ve been farming ever since. I have now been farming for 58 years. In addition, I have a small trucking company that hauls ag commodities. I have done farm management for other people and previously had a custom grape harvesting business.

Together with my wife, Donna, we have four boys, three of which are or have served in the U.S. Army. We also have two daughter-in-laws, one granddaughter, and a grandson on the way. We have several rescue dogs, cats, and chickens. Donna was raised in Fresno and I grew up right here on the ranch. I attended Kingsburg High School, Reedley College, and Fresno State. I graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Viticulture. I enjoy fishing, hiking, and hunting. When the boys were in school I coached various sports and helped with the marching band. I also serve on my church council and am currently council president.

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