Increase Agricultural Lands Preserved by the Purchase of Agricultural Conservation Easements (PACE) Program

This goal is measured by tracking the number of acres of agricultural lands preserved by the PACE program.

How are we doing?

Since the program's inception in 2014, the County has preserved 3,195 acres of land for agricultural use.
The PACE annual acreage goal for the current fiscal year is 443 acres per year.

Why is this important?

The County is committed to promoting the long-term preservation of agriculture. Agriculture is an important component of our local food system and economy.
Agricultural land in the County has been diminishing in recent years and through the Purchase of Agricultural Conservation Easement (PACE) Program, the County has taken a leadership role in protecting and conserving land for agricultural.  Working closely with local stakeholders, the County has helped farmers continue their agricultural operations.
The program is based on the framework of what is traditionally referred to as a Purchase of Development Rights (PDR) program. Under the PACE program, willing agricultural property owners are compensated for placing a perpetual easement on their agricultural property that limits future uses and extinguishes future development potential. As a result, the agricultural land is preserved, and the property owner receives compensation that can make its continued use for agriculture more viable.

Where are we going?

The County of San Diego’s 2018 Climate Action Plan (2018 CAP) Greenhouse Gas Reduction Measure T-1.2 (Acquire Agricultural Easements) provided direction to update the PACE Program by expanding the eligibility criteria and increasing the annual easement acquisition goal from 230 acres to 443 acres to help achieve a greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions reduction of 2,330 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent by 2030. Although the Superior Court ordered the County to set aside and vacate the February 14, 2018 (1) approvals and the certification of the Final Supplemental Environmental Impact Report, pending adoption of a new Climate Action Plan, the County will continue to independently implement the 26 GHG emissions reduction measures and sustainability initiatives and programs identified in the 2018 Climate Action Plan to reduce GHG emissions to meet the State’s 2030 reduction target.
To meet the County’s objectives to promote long-term preservation of agriculture in the unincorporated area and reduce GHG emissions, the Board approved updates to the PACE Program Guidelines on March 3, 2021 (10) to expand the pool of eligible property owners in order to achieve the goal of 443 acres of agricultural lands preserved per calendar year.

How is this measured?

This goal is measured by calculating the number of acres that have been preserved through the PACE program in each calendar year.

For more information:
Please contact Planning & Development Services