Sage Agricultural Services

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Agricultural Suitability Map
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Higher HIGHER AGRICULTURAL SUITABILITY: Areas have favorable slope, drainage, water and climate with no constraints
Moderate MODERATE AGRICULTURAL SUITABILITY: Areas are constrained by either slope, soils, drainage, water, or climate limitations.
Lower LOWER AGRICULTURAL SUITABILITY: Areas are constrained by combination of slope, soils, drainage, water and climate limitations.
Unsuitable UNSUITABLE FOR AGRICULTURE: Areas are severely constrained by a combination of slope, soils, drainage, water, and climate limitations; or are developed.

Restoration Plans

 

Professional Capabilities

Sage Agricultural Services offers professional agricultural consulting to numerous public agencies, private landowners, corporations, conservation organizations, schools, appraisers, attorneys and special interest groups. The year 2000 marks a special milestone where we have provided agricultural services on over 1.5 million acres of land in California since 1973.

Our work products are unique since they take into account knowledge of agricultural, recreational, and resource management protection and enhancement measures that have been formulated from over 25 years of extensive landuse policy and impact assessment experience and from our "hands on" ranch operations management. Based on our multi-disciplinary knowledge of these factors, we are pleased to provide the following agricultural services:

Agricultural Suitability and Viability Studies

These studies are typically prepared for determining the agricultural suitability of a site. Agricultural suitability factors include items such as climate, soils, topography, water, sensitive resources, environmental constraints, access, facilities, land uses, etc. These factors are evaluated and an agricultural suitability map is prepared as shown below. Economic or operational viability can then be determined based on the University of
California Cooperative Extension cost sheets or agency operational thresholds. These studies are typically prepared for private landowners and public agencies and are especially important if a portion of a land holding is proposed for non-agricultural development or recreational uses.

Watershed Management and Grazing Plans

Watershed Management and Grazing Plans have typically been prepared for landowners and public agencies to evaluate their existing grazing operations, to rotate cattle to enhance sensitive resources such as native bunchgrasses, to reduce erosion / sedimentation, to improve water quality, to increase rainfall infiltration, to obtain federal cost share funding for improvements, and to improve weight gains. Grazing Plans are especially appropriate for absentee landowners that are interested in operational planning but are not on the ranch on a routine basis. Horsekeeping and horse grazing evaluations are often included as a part of the grazing plans that we prepare.

Agricultural Conservation Easements

We provide technical preparation of agricultural management plans, rangeland assessments, and present conditions reports to the California Rangeland Trust, The Nature Conservancy, The California Department of Conservation, The Trust for Public Land, The Santa Lucia Preserve, The Packard Foundation, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, as part of the requirements for establishing agricultural conservation easements.

Restoration Plans

These plans are oftentimes included as part of a grazing plan and will include delineation of sensitive habitat exclusionary areas, seasonal rotational grazing schedules, erosion control, and monitoring of key grazing species and sensitive, rare and/or endangered species. Our philosophy is to use cattle as a management tool to help achieve restoration goals.

Interim Ranch Management

These services are provided to new owners, absentee owners, government agencies, schools and conservation organizations where interim management is essential in implementing management plans. Long-term management services can also be provided upon request. Services are custom tailored for the client and typically include formulation of leases, implementation of grazing management programs, evaluating potential lessees, and operational management.

Environmental Review

Our environmental review capabilities include preparation of technical agricultural resources sections of environmental impact reports and environmental impact statements including subsections on soils, water availability and land use. We have prepared EIRs on specific focused agricultural issues, on large scale agricultural rezones (up to 470,000 acres), and on proposed development projects. These environmental documents have been prepared for the National Park Service, the California Department of Food and Agriculture, and numerous counties and cities within California.

Land Use Planning

We have participated in the preparation of agricultural elements to general plans and in agency-initiated agricultural rezone studies. We have also reviewed agricultural elements for county planning agencies, and for the Cattlemen's Association and the Farm Bureau. We work closely with landowners and conservation organizations in determining agricultural preservation policies through specific project implementations such as clustering, land trusts, transfer of development credits, mitigation funding, land purchases, formulation of project CC&Rs, and in the project planning of agricultural- compatible recreational developments such as golf courses.

Public Agency Interface

Sage Agricultural Services can provide interface with public agencies regarding agricultural land use issues. We frequently coordinate permitting with county agencies, the California Department of Fish and Game, the California Regional Water Quality Control Board, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and the U.S. Natural Resource Conservation Service.

Litigation Support Services

We provide litigation support services, mediation, and expert witness testimony for eminent domain "takings" of agricultural land; access and trespass issues; land use compatibility issues; estate settlement; and grazing rights. We can work effectively with appraisers in establishing agricultural land values based on agricultural suitability. Sage Agricultural Services specializes in the preparation and presentation of innovative courtroom graphics and maps.

Sage Agricultural Services
1396 Danielson Road
Santa Barbara  CA  93108

Phone:  (805) 969-0557
FAX (805) 969-5003

e-mail:  sage@silcom.com