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Farmland Mapping and Monitoring Program
1984 to 2008 TIME SERIES
Oxnard, Ventura County

Land use change in the Oxnard area, 1984-2008. 

In this Image

Changes in this area include conversions from irrigated farmland (green) to urban (red) during this period. More than 5,400 acres were urbanized within the image area, primarily affecting Prime Farmland.  Pale green additions in later years represent nursery operations, which are classified as Unique Farmland.  Information on these changes was gathered from air photos, local comments, and field reconnaissance. Area shown is just over 36,300 acres. 

Ventura County was among the 'Top Ten Urbanizing Counties' during much of the 1980's and 1990's, but has been superceded by extensive development in San Joaquin Valley counties in recent years.  

A brief history of Oxnard

Oxnard is the located 60 miles northwest of Los Angeles, and is the largest city in Ventura County.  It is situated on the western edge of the Oxnard Plain, a 180 square mile area of the richest agricultural land in California. The Oxnard family developed a sugar beet factory as one of the first local industries. The American Sugar Beet Co. closed its doors in 1958 because vegetables had replaced sugar beets as the primary local field crop.

The Oxnard area has a very mild climate, conducive to agriculture year-round. Oxnard has had many nicknames such as “Lima Bean Capital,” “Sugartown,” and “Strawberry Capital” which attest to the changing face of agricultural production in the area. It is host city to the California Strawberry Festival each year. Oxnard is also known as the “Land of Everlasting Summer” and the “Gateway to the Channel Islands.”

Oxnard’s greatest historical surge of growth was during the World War II era. The U.S. Naval Construction Battalion Center, home to the “fighting Seabees,” (the engineering/construction arm of the U.S. Navy) was established at the harbor and the first U.S. Naval Air Missile Test Center was constructed at Point Mugu in 1946. Oxnard Air Force Base was established in 1952. After the war, Oxnard grew at a rapid pace, with a 55% increase in population between 1984 and 2008 (from 124,700 to 193,892).  Efforts to conserve farmland began in the mid-1990's and have contributed to the moderating pace of growth in recent years.