Farmland in California's San Joaquin Valley is one of the greatest and most profitable natural resources in the United States. Six of the nation's top 10 agricultural counties are located in the Valley, and the region's farmers produce more than $30 billion worth of agricultural products annually. However, with rapid development and population growth in many cities within the Valley, the future of the region's farmland is becoming more uncertain every day.
A report from American Farmland Trust's California office, titled Saving Farmland, Growing Cities: A Framework for Implementing Effective Farmland Conservation Policies in the San Joaquin Valley, analyzes current efforts by Valley communities to preserve farmland and makes concrete recommendations to help stop farm and ranch land in the Valley from becoming housing developments and mini-malls.
Overall, the report finds that despite the good intentions of many local governments in the San Joaquin Valley, the region is on pace to lose another 570,000 acres of farmland. The current rate of farmland conversion could drain between $100 and $190 billion from the region's agricultural economy between now and 2050.
But there is a silver lining. American Farmland Trust's report details six steps every community in the Valley can take to reverse the trend of farmland. If followed, American Farmland Trust believes that Valley communities can become leaders in effective land use planning to ensure a future for farmland.
Read the press release on the report.