The California Farm Bureau Federation - The California Land Conservation Act, more popularly known as the Williamson Act, was created when the Assembly Agriculture Committee undertook a study in cooperation with the California Department of Food and Agriculture and others that eventually led to the passage of legislation in 1965.
Under the Williamson Act, an owner of
agricultural land may enter into a contract with the county if the
landowner agrees to restrict use of the land to the production of
commercial crops for a term of not less than 10 years. The term of the
contract is automatically extended each year unless notice of
cancellation or nonrenewal is given. Certain compatible uses are also
allowed on the property. In return, the landowner is taxed on the
capitalization of the income from the land, and not on the Proposition
13 value. There are currently more than 16 million acres enrolled in
the Williamson Act in 54 counties in the state. Over the past decade,
there have been attempts to modify and strengthen the law as
urbanization pressures have mounted in California. Click here for the rest of the article.