Conservation of Point Reyes Station ranch completes 9,000 acres of protected farmland


The Marin Agricultural Land Trust edged closer to its goal of protecting 100,000 acres by 2040 when the Board of Supervisors last week approved close to $1.9 million in Measure A funds toward the purchase of a conservation easement on the 705-acre Taylor Ranch. The $3.59 million deal, which will close in early March, will connect 9,000 acres of protected farmland land between Marshall and Point Reyes Station. Jeff Stump, the director of conservation for MALT, said the proceeds from the sale will help expand owner Karen and John Taylor’s progressive approach to farming. “They really are farming in an ecologically sustainable way. They’re producing their own feed and….they have a plan to invest in technology to produce all the seeds they need on the farm and dairy,” he said. The property, with two ponds, several springs, a 1920s farmhouse and a pair of mobile homes for workers, is home to Bivalve Dairy’s herd of 200 cows. The Taylors sell their milk to Clover Sonoma and Cowgirl Creamery, and their kids have begun to help out around the ranch, which has been a commercial dairy since the late 19th century. Ms. Taylor’s family, the Bianchinis, took over in 1973 and her mother, Sharon Doughty, a third-generation West Marin rancher, ran the ranch following the death of her husband Bill Bianchini Jr. in 1984. The Taylors have been operating the dairy since 2006, but did not inherit the land until after Ms. Doughty’s death in 2014. According to a county staff report, they had to take out a large mortgage to purchase the property from Ms. Taylor’s sister Kathleen and needed to sell the easement to MALT within a year in order to keep their business afloat. “It’s amazing to think what I do today is the same thing my great grandparents did years ago,” Ms. Taylor said in a video for Clover Sonoma last year. “I love that I can teach my children about my own family by instructing them on things that we do around the ranch.”