Marin County Parks is proposing changes to the way it spends tax dollars, including shrinking the money set aside for farmland preservation. In a new proposal for funds generated by the Measure A sales tax, the department suggested cutting its farmland allocation in half, to 10 percent, and restructuring the program to allow grants for a wider range of agricultural stewardship projects. The proposal follows a survey that showed low public support for farmland preservation, and a series of meetings parks director Max Korten held earlier this year. Mr. Korten said many stakeholders were concerned that public funding was going to easements on private land through grants to the Marin Agricultural Land Trust. “One of the things I’m hearing in that concern is that people want to see a community benefit from the funding they’re paying for,” he said. “One of the ways we responded to that concern was by reducing the overall ag funding.” MALT receives the bulk of Measure A’s farmland preservation funding, which it has primarily used to generate matching donations for the purchase of agricultural easements—development rights that protect farmland from subdivision in perpetuity. The trust has easements on 54,000 acres and has received $15 million in Measure A funds in the last decade. Thane Kreiner, C.E.O. of MALT, said the county needs to partner with the agricultural community to meet environmental goals and should not cut spending on easements. MALT protects three times the acreage devoted to county parks and open space, he said, but its work is still unfinished. The proposed changes “pose significant risk to Marin County’s biodiversity, ability to address climate change, and watershed protection,” Mr. Kreiner wrote in an email to the Light. “We agree with the diversification of the Measure A agricultural category to include stewardship of agricultural lands. But halving the funding allocation, and essentially eliminating the portion of the allocation that protects farmland forever, is short-sighted.” Measure A, which enacted a quarter-cent sales tax, passed in 2012 with 74 percent support from voters. It is set to end in March, but polling suggests public support is even stronger to renew it. The measure will be on the ballot in June, so the parks department sent out a survey asking residents how to prioritize spending. Farmland preservation ranked last, with a significant number of respondents suggesting it should be reduced. Wildfire prevention ranked first. The new expenditure proposal, which would cover five years until another public hearing midway through the measure, suggests dedicating nearly a quarter of Measure A funds to wildfire risk reduction on open space preserves. “Our biggest goal is creating more defensible space at the perimeters of our preserves up against homes,” Mr. Korten said. Much of the new wildfire funding would be redistributed from the farmland preservation allocation, which the proposal newly refers to as “agricultural stewardship.” Mr. Korten said both supporters and opponents of farmland preservation expressed interest in funding projects like carbon farming and riparian restoration on farmlands, rather than paying only for more easements. The proposal would also shift the conservation easement grant program to a “competitive grant program.” Parks staff are envisioning a broader pool of grant recipients, including possibly community gardens and new farmers. “There’s nothing in the ordinance that says anything about MALT,” Mr. Korten said. “By broadening the aspects of what this could fund, there’s probably a few more organizations that could apply for this funding besides MALT.” One other group, the Marin Resource Conservation District, already receives about $110,000 of the farmland allocation every year to fund projects on ranches with MALT easements, and the new proposal makes no changes to this amount. But in keeping with the increased focus on stewardship, Mr. Korten said he anticipated allowing the R.C.D. to spend the money on lands not under easements. Nancy Scolari, the director of the district, welcomed this change, which she said would allow the R.C.D. to fund more work planting trees, repairing streambanks and restoring wildlife habitat on a wider range of ranches. “I think the broadening of Measure A to non-MALTed properties will help provide a fair, equitable program,” she said. “Right now, the distribution of Measure A funding is exclusively for MALTed properties. The restoration work that we do relies 100 percent on grant funding that is leveraged by Measure A dollars, which means that our actions to support farmers are skewed toward MALTed ranches, and that’s unfair.” On Dec. 14, the parks department will present the proposed changes to the Board of Supervisors, and next January supervisors will formally consider the plan.