Irrigated farmland in California decreased by nearly 263 square miles (168,039 acres) between 2008 and 2010. The highest-quality agricultural soils, known as Prime Farmland, comprised 61 percent of the loss.
Urban development totaled 44,504 acres, the lowest recorded in FMMP’s history. The amount was a decrease of 39 percent relative to the 2006-08 period and reflected impacts of the recent recession. Nearly 44 percent of statewide urbanization occurred in Southern California.
Land idling and reversion to dry farming were the largest factors contributing to irrigated land decreases. The southern San Joaquin Valley and counties in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta were most impacted by land idling. Fresno County’s reclassification of more than 34,000 acres led all counties. These conversions represent multiple update cycles of dryland farming conditions, but could be reversed if environmental factors change.
Countering the net loss of irrigated farmland in most counties, there were a few locations with net irrigated land increases in 2010. These were clustered in the eastern foothills of the northern San Joaquin Valley. These increases were dominated by blocks of orchards or vineyards, the largest nearly four square miles in size.
During the 13 biennial reporting cycles since FMMP was established, nearly 1.4 million acres of agricultural land in California were converted to nonagricultural purposes. This represents an area larger in size than Merced County, or a rate of nearly one square mile every four days. Complete Report
(2.9 MB PDF)
Report split to facilitate download:Introductory Materials
: Acknowledgements; Table of Contents (257 kb PDF)Main Report
: Executive Summary; Program Introduction; 2010 Improvements and Challenges; Understanding the Data; Land Use Conversion 2008-2010 (2.0 MB PDF)Appendix A
: County Conversion Tables* (395 kb PDF)Appendices B, C, D, and E
: 2008 and 2010 County Acreage Tallies; County and Regional Conversion Summaries; Rural Land Use Mapping Summaries; Farmland of Local Importance Definitions (363 kb PDF) Text Only Version
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* Excel 2000 versions of the same tables are also available for download.