Victory: MALT Rescues Land from Hands of Developers, Creating Permanent Home for Two Local Farmers
October 30, 2018
I am incredibly pleased to announce that MALT has protected the 864-acre Millerton Creek Ranch in Point Reyes Station from subdivision and development — returning this land to farming forever.
Thank you to everyone who supports MALT’s mission. We can’t do this work without you.
The story of this at-risk property illustrates the unique and needed role that MALT plays in protecting working agricultural lands. It also underscores how critical donations to MALT have been during the multiyear process that was required to save this property from developers and return it to farming.
THE HISTORY OF MILLERTON CREEK RANCH
For more than 100 years, Millerton Creek Ranch was a working dairy and a cattle and sheep pasture, overgrazed and under-loved. Previous owners developed a large quarry and operated a construction company from the property, and its agricultural use gradually diminished.
Some time in the 1970s the company filled in a section of Millerton Gulch Creek, preventing steelhead trout from running to the top of this watershed.
After the ranch was sold to a developer in 2009, MALT seized the opportunity to step in as a temporary buyer in 2014, saving the property from becoming luxury estates.
RETURNING THE RANCH TO FARMING
After buying the property, MALT leased it to two local farmers.
Andrew Zlot of Double 8 Dairy is a buffalo milk dairy farmer who produces buffalo milk mozzarella and gelato in nearby Valley Ford. His partner at Millerton Creek Ranch is Mike Giammona, who grew up in West Marin and has been farming locally since 1993. Mike and his son Morgan now raise grass-fed beef cattle and pastured laying hens on Millerton Creek Ranch.
Since MALT purchased the property, Giammona and Zlot have partnered with our experienced conservation team to:
- Improve grazing practices and control invasive plants,
- Create a carbon farm plan for the ranch, and
- Install new fencing and water sources for cattle.
MALT also collaborated with Giammona, Zlot and the Northern California chapter of Trout Unlimited to begin to restore the creek for the benefit of steelhead trout.
RETURNING THE RANCH TO FARMERS
Now, after four years of leasing the ranch to these two local farmers, MALT has sold the property to them, returning this land to farming, forever. Andrew Zlot and Mike Giammona now own the land, strengthened by a MALT conservation easement.
“I have always dreamed of owning this ranch,” says Giammona. “Not only was MALT instrumental in preserving the ranch, they played a key role in securing my family’s future as farmers.”
In the 38 years since our founding, this is the third time MALT has employed the “Buy-Protect-Sell” model to save at-risk land from subdivision and development.
Half of the funding to protect this ranch comes from private contributions to MALT from people like you. These donations have been matched dollar-for-dollar by the sales-tax-funded Marin County Farmland Preservation Program, created in 2012 when Marin voters passed Measure A.
VICTORY FOR THE FUTURE OF FARMING
Millerton Creek Ranch’s success illustrates exactly why MALT is fighting to protect farms and ranches. For these farmers, the journey from not having permanent land for their farming businesses to the security of landownership has been a long one.
Through land security, agricultural permanence and protected lands stewardship, with your support, we’re creating a living legacy of healthy farms and ranches, healthy watersheds and wildlife and the economies and communities they sustain.
Thank you again to for supporting MALT and our mission of protecting Marin farmland forever.