California agriculture generates over $45 billion in commodities annually, which further generates approximately $75 billion in related economic activities. California’s agricultural abundance includes over 400 commodities. Over one-third of the country’s vegetables and two-thirds of the country’s fruits and nuts are grown in California. The bulk of this production is located in the Central Valley (Sacramento and San Joaquin Valleys), the Imperial Valley, and numerous coastal valleys.
California’s agricultural valleys are experiencing intense development pressure due to population growth and skyrocketing housing costs along the coast. In many cases, this development is occurring on the State’s best agricultural soils. Various projections suggest that at least one million acres of prime irrigated farmland in the Central Valley will be converted to non-agricultural uses in the face of this pressure. Protecting agricultural lands surrounding California’s cities safeguards the nation’s long-term food security and supports rural economies. It also limits sprawl development and avoids growth in greenhouse gas emissions. Protecting California’s agricultural lands is an essential strategy in California’s climate change policy.
The Division of Land Resource Protection (DLRP) within the Department of Conservation serves as the State’s leader in conserving California’s irreplaceable agricultural lands. The Division provides information, and technical and financial assistance to partners to protect California’s agricultural land and promote sustainable growth.
The Division currently administers: