Staying profitable when competing against a flood of products produced from four corners of the globe is one of the greatest challenges for farmers and ranchers. To address this challenge, communities that recognize the value of agriculture to the local economy implement land use planning techniques and agricultural economic development tools. By planning for an economically healthy agriculture with pro-farming techniques that are integrated into an overall comprehensive land use plan, urban-edge communities retain the qualities that make them attractive.
This ordinance establishes the Marin, CA Transfer of Development Rights program.
Marin Agricultural Land Trust sample agricultural easement.
The City of Davis California's Open Space Protection Act.
This law represents the legislature's finding that it should be the public policy and in the public interest of California to
encourage the voluntary conveyance of conservation easements to qualified nonprofit organizations.
Voters approved 66 percent of state and local ballot measures that included funding for farm and ranch land protection in November’s elections. Although the number is down from 2000, it still demonstrates continued, strong support for land conservation throughout the country.
American Farmland Trust (AFT) conducted research to provide the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) with information about programs that practice mitigation of farmland loss across the country. This report contains a brief summary and evaluation of the Farmland Protection Policy Act (FPPA) and case studies that describe the approaches and results
of mitigation efforts in some state and local programs.
Large-scale migration of urban people seeking a better quality of life in rural places has generated considerable concern about “rural sprawl.” In a multimethod, fine-scale, longitudinal study of land ownership and use in Nevada County, we found that this quintessential “exurban” community reveals a complex story of interacting social and ecological change with some reasons for concern, but also optimism. Land-use data from 1957 to 2001 shows dramatic fragmentation of the county’s landscape as a result of increased residential use.
We extensively interviewed 46 landowners in two northern Bay Area counties and nearby Yolo County to assess their satisfaction with agricultural conservation easements. The landowners in most cases were enthusiastic sellers of the easements; their motivations included cash, keeping land in the family and conservation. They reported generally satisfactory experiences with the easement programs.
A review of conservation programs in the state shows that agricultural easements are concentrated in central coastal counties. Many of these counties, such as Marin and Sonoma, are not top agricultural regions, while some of the state’s most productive agricultural counties have no easement programs at all. To date, there are approximately 120,000 California farmland acres in easements, nearly 80% of them grazing land and the rest in crops.
The future of agriculture in the Sacramento region (El Dorado, Placer, Sacramento, Sutter, Yolo and Yuba counties) is being shaped by trends in land use, in agricultural markets and in technology. These issues were the theme of the February 14, 2000 forum, “Agriculture in the Sacramento Region,” sponsored by the UC Agricultural Issues Center and the Green Valley Initiative (a coalition of business, agricultural and environmental interests organized to promote open space conservation in the Sacramento region).
What motivates farmers to give up development rights and convey permanent conservation easements on their land? This report, the first in a series of three, examines the views and experiences of 46 landowners with conservation easements on their properties in three northern California counties. Thirty-seven had sold such easements in recent years; the other nine owners had recently purchased parcels with easements already in place. These farmland parcels are located in two North Bay coastal counties, Marin and Sonoma, and in Yolo County in the Central Valley.
This paper uses an analytical and econometric approach to analyze the farmland conversion process, including the effects of population growth, real estate markets, the agricultural-urban edge, and farm returns. We use a unique county-level dataset on farmland conversion for California that tracks conversions between agricultural, urban and other land uses.
This article presents a polychotomous choice-selectivity model to estimate the interactions among urbanization, land use regulations, and public finance in five western states (California, Idaho, Nevada, Oregon, and Washington). Land use regulations in these five states reduced the total developed area by an estimated 12.2% from 1982 to 1992, but increased housing prices between 1.3% and 4.7%, depending on the intensity of land use regulations in a county.
Converting farmland into homes and other urban uses is a public issue in every agricultural region experiencing rapid urbanization. In California, the nation’s leading farm state, the issue is complicated by widely varying numbers about the extent of conversion and contrasting opinions about the causes and consequences of farmland loss. How extensive is farmland conversion in California and what are the consequences?
When first adopted by California local governments in the 1980s, right to-farm ordinances were seen by many farm leaders, real estate people, and public officials as an easy response to the problem of urban growth encroaching on adjacent farm operations. Such measures have little regulatory effect, but seek to reduce the opposition of urban neighbors to commercial agriculture as a nuisance generator. Most ordinances require that homebuyers who move to parcels adjacent to or near working farms and ranches be notified about the possible negative impacts of agricultural activities.
The California Land Conservation Act of 1965--commonly referred to as the Williamson Act--enables local governments to enter into contracts with private landowners for the purpose of restricting specific parcels of land to agricultural or related open space use. In return, landowners receive property tax assessments which are much lower than normal because they are based upon farming and open space uses as opposed to full market value.
State-wide right to farm enabling ordinance.