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Farmland Mapping and Monitoring Program
1984 to 2008 TIME SERIES
Stockton, San Joaquin County

Land use change in the Stockton area, 1990-2008. 

In this Image

Changes in this area include conversions from irrigated farmland (green) to urban (red) during this period. Additionally, some land is no longer being actively farmed and is now shown as Farmland of Local Importance (yellow). Information on these changes was gathered from air photos, local comments, and field reconnaissance.

The area shown on this graphic is 11.3 x 12.6 miles in size. The urban area increased by more than 9,000 acres in this image during the 1990-2008 period, primarily from Prime Farmland and Farmland of Statewide Importance.  San Joaquin County had been among the has been among the 'Top 10' counties in urbanization of irrigated farmland since FMMP began mapping it in 1990. The San Joaquin Valley as a whole has been the leading region in conversion of irrigated farmland to Urban throughout FMMP's history.

A brief history of the Stockton area

Like many California towns, Stockton was founded as part of a Spanish Land Grant in 1849 by German immigrant, Charles M. Weber. Weber realized that Stockton could become a center of wealth by meeting the many needs of the 49ers. At the time of the Gold Rush, Stockton was the 4th largest city in California. Stockton also became known for having the easternmost deep-water port on the west coast, drawing the gold miners to the southern portion of the gold mining areas in California.

Stockton became the California agricultural leader during the Great Grain Era, growing the most wheat and manufacturing the most farm equipment. Benjamin Holt, a Stockton citizen, developed the famous Caterpillar tractor. The greater Stockton area (San Joaquin County) has grown almost every field, fruit, and nut crop in its’ history. Forty percent of the fruit and nut harvest has come from grapes. In 1998, San Joaquin County's leading crops of grapes, milk, tomatoes, almonds, and asparagus valued over $1.3 billion. But Stockton has also supported big industries. Stockton become a leading city for building ships during World War II, with 10,000 employed in the shipping yards and $50 million spent in building ships by war's end. The manufacturing of electronics, lumber, products, and construction materials has also supported Stockton and brought more people to the city.

According to the Department of Finance, Stockton's population grew by nearly 30% from 1990 to 2008 (from 209,700 to 271,163).