CONSERVING FAMILY LANDS IN CALIFORNIA
Since 1996, COF has embarked on a program to engage landowners and their adult children, as well as other business owners, agencies, private foundations, and nonprofit conservation groups to:
- Determine the economic factors that fuel conversion of rural, open space and agricultural lands to other uses;
- Understand the interests of all those who live, work or recreate in or near rural lands; and
- Find rural land conservation solutions that recognize these various interests.
In 1996, COF conducted focus groups for rural landowners — farmers, ranchers, and timber operators — and their adult children. Findings indicated that estate taxes pose a significant threat to keeping land in family ownership through the generations. These focus group results led COF in 1997 to produce and distribute an estate tax planning booklet, and to co-host a series of estate planning workshops for landowners throughout the state.
COF co-hosted nine additional estate planning workshops in 1998 and 1999, and widely distributed the booklet, Preserving Family Lands in California.