A Brief History
The FMMP was established in 1982 in response to a critical need for assessing the location, quality, and quantity of agricultural lands and conversion of these lands over time. FMMP is a nonregulatory program and provides a consistent and impartial analysis of agricultural land use and land use changes throughout California. Creation of the FMMP was supported by the Legislature and a broad coalition of building, business, government, and conservation interests.
Signing of legislation creating the Farmland Mapping and Monitoring Program in 1982. Left to right are Assemblyman Charles Imbrecht, Governor Jerry Brown Jr., and Assemblyman Richard Lehman.
The first Important Farmland Maps, produced in 1984, covered 30.3 million acres (38 counties). Biennial farmland conversion data became available with the 1984-1986 Farmland Conversion Report. Data now spans more than 24 years (twelve biennial mapping cycles) and has expanded to 49.1 million acres as modern soil surveys were completed by USDA. FMMP now maps agricultural and urban land use on nearly 98% of the state's privately held land.
Enhancements to the project continue, as low density rural uses that may affect agricultural viability are being differentiated; while longer term trend data provides context for today's complex planning decisions.