Central Valley Land Use Report
[Agricultural Production in an Urban State] [Goals] [Basic Principles]
[Sidebar: Can the Central Valley Learn from the Experience of Los Angeles?] [Task Force Membership] [Acknowledgements] [Footnotes]
1. These figures involve a conservative estimate by public policy specialist Dr. Alvin D. Sokolow, UC Cooperative Extension, Davis, using data from the California Department of Conservation's Farmland Mapping and Monitoring Program.
2. In order, these counties include Fresno ($3.3 billion), Tulare ($2.8 billion), Kern ($2.1 billion), Monterey ($1.9 billion), Merced ($1.4 billion), San Joaquin ($1.4 billion), Stanislaus ($1.2 billion), Riverside ($1.1 billion), and San Diego ($4.4 billion). These are 1996 figures from California Department of Food and Agriculture.
3. Extracts from a research report by Harold O. Carter, Emeritus Director of the UC Agricultural Issues Center, and George Goldman, economist, UC Berkeley College of Natural Resources, November 1992.
4. American Farmland Trust released a report in October 1995, Alternatives for Future Urban Growth in California's Central Valley: The Bottom Line for Agriculture and Taxyers. This involved a study of 11 Central Valley counties which showed that low-density urban sprawl would consume more than one million acres of farmland by 2040 with approximately 60 percent of the conversion to involve prime farmland and farmland of statewide importance. Using California Department of Finance population projections, preliminary research by Rudy Plazek and John Cone projects the conversion of over 2.4 million acres of valley floor farmland in the 18 Central Valley counties by 2040. In a current study, Plazek and Cone are calculating the average developed land utilization ratio per capita for each metropolitan area in the Central Valley, which will allow more precision in estimating the potential extent of valley floor farmland conversion in a business-as-usual scenario for the future.
5. Research by Albert G. Medvitz shows that production values in California increased beginning in the 1940s, but actually started to decline in the late 1970s when figures are adjusted for inflation. His research was presented at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science at San Jose State University on June 24, 1996. (Publication pending by the UC Agricultural Issues Center.)
6. These were leading agricultural counties in the United States fifty years ago. Los Angeles County was the top farm county in the nation in terms of farmgate value from 1909 to 1949. Fresno County is the leader today.
7. Under the existing Agricultural Land Stewardship Program, the funding of voluntary agricultural conservation easements on agricultural land requires such easements to be consistent with the city or county general plan, and the general plan must demonstrate a long-term commitment to agricultural land conservation, particularly in the area where the easement is proposed.
8. Significant efforts are underway throughout the state to reallocate agricultural water and convert agricultural land to other uses. Although it is difficult to quantify the amount, it can be conservatively estimated that anywhere from 2 to 5 million acre-feet of agricultural water has either been reallocated or is now being targeted for reallocation to other uses. This includes reallocations related to the CVPIA, the Monterey Agreement, the DWR Supplemental Water Purchase Program, the Colorado River discussions, and CalFed. Part of the mission of the CalFed program is to develop a long-term Delta solution. As the details of the solution are slowly revealed, it has become increasingly evident that the various programs are based on the premise of reallocating water from agricultural land. Currently there is little, if any, obligation for CalFed to respond to the attendant effects of the proposed reallocations. It is believed by members of this Task Force that strengthening CEQA is one way of requiring CalFed to acknowledge and address the ramifications of the proposed programs, including the cumulative impacts of the various reallocation proposals.
9. A viable agricultural property can be defined as land with appropriate economic and natural resources which, when subject to prudent management and considering adjacent land use, is justifiably retained in agriculture.
10. The 1981 Farmland Protection Policy Act at the federal level cleared the way for the US Soil Conservation Service (now the Natural Resources Conservation Service) to develop a land evaluation and site assessment (LESA) system to evaluate federal agency projects that threaten to convert farmland. Both the land evaluation and site assessment portions in the system are assigned points through a scoring system, which, when totaled indicates the parcel's relative agricultural value. Some states and local governments have adopted their own LESA systems which have been modified to reflect local goals and conditions. Tulare County's Rural Valley Lands Plan, a 1975 amendment to the general plan, assigns a point system for reviewing proposed rezonings of agricultural land use to urban uses.
11. Under the current system, liability insurance and financing discourage developers from building higher density residential development. Changes in the system must be made to provide incentives for developers to pursue this kind of development.
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