My Coast Guard
Commentary | Nov. 23, 2021

Training Center Petaluma grows organically

By Lt. Rahnal Harris, Training Center Petaluma

Training Center Petaluma is growing. Not in size, but in the number of ways the massive campus is being used. Over 300 acres of the training center property are now dedicated to an agricultural lease with local farmers, introducing resources for an organic farming cooperative.  

The Petaluma, Calif., training center (TRACEN) saves time and money that would be spent on maintaining those 338 acres of land and mitigating wildfire hazards on the property. Instead, the farming partner maintains the land through agricultural farming, at no additional cost to the government.  

Farmers pay a fair market value to use the property, secured through a sealed bid auction every five years. 

Michael Cignetti, Petaluma’s contracting officer representative said of the lease agreement, “The unique, long-term and ongoing partnership between the training center, the local farmer, and the community is a win-win-win situation by all measures.” 

One Sonoma County, Calif., farmer exercises the agricultural lease by conducting an annual seeding of an organic rye mix for future harvesting. The harvested organic rye will then be used to “feed local organic dairy farms to produce organic milk, butter, and cheese throughout Northern California” Cignetti said. 

Adapting to recent heavy rains, farmers on site had to find alternatives to traditional equipment that would become stuck in muddy fields. Instead, this season’s rye crop was distributed using a commercial helicopter contracted by the farmer. Each helicopter load carried hundreds of pounds of seed, spread across the property. 

The unique contracted partnership is one of several innovations at TRACEN Petaluma. To learn more about TRACEN, visit here.  

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