Loss of agricultural land, particularly Prime Farmland, occurred at a record pace during the 2006-08 period. The data documents the effects of the economic recession on urban development and the idling of farmland in response to water shortages, particularly in the San Joaquin Valley.
Irrigated farmland decreased by 203,011 acres between 2006 and 2008, with Prime Farmland representing 49 percent of the decrease (98,471 acres). Urbanization totaled 72,548 acres, the lowest rate recorded since the late 1990’s; during the 2004-06 mapping cycle, new urban land had totaled 102,010 acres.
Land idling, at 260,412 acres, increased by 29 percent since the prior mapping period. It was predominant in the southern San Joaquin Valley. The cessation of irrigation resulted in most of the land being reclassified to Grazing Land or Farmland of Local Importance. These conversions could be reversed if environmental factors change.
Since tracking of agricultural land conversions began in 1984, more than 1.3 million acres have been taken out of agricultural use in the state. This represents an area larger than the size of Merced County, or a rate of about one square mile every four days.
Complete report (3.9 MB PDF)
Report split and compressed to facilitate download-
Introductory Materials: Acknowledgements; Table of Contents (641 kb PDF)
Main Report: Executive Summary; Program Introduction; 2008 Improvements; Understanding the Data; Land Use Conversion 2006-2008 (1.8 MB PDF)
Appendix A: County Conversion Tables* (695 kb PDF), Appendices B, C, D, and E: 2006 and 2008 County Acreage Tallies; County and Regional Conversion Summaries; Rural Land Use Mapping Summaries; Farmland of Local Importance Definitions (367 kb PDF)
* Excel 2000 versions of the same tables are also available for download.
Please contact FMMP if you have additional questions.
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