Agricultural Issues Center
      University of California
      1 Shields Avenue
      Davis, California 95616
Land Use and Farmland Conversion

Solano and Yolo County Agriculture Current Basis for Planning for the Future
AIC director Daniel Sumner presented at the Solano & Yolo Counties Joint Economic Summit in November 16 2011.

Economics of Carbon Credits from Voluntary Practices on Rice Farms in the Sacramento Valley
(May 2011, pdf, 360kb) Cloe Garnache, John Thomas Rosen-Molina and Daniel A. Sumner
This report provides an economic analysis of Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions from alternative rice production practices in the Sacramento Valley.

Adaptation strategies for agricultural sustainability in Yolo County, California.
California Energy Commission. Publication number: CEC-500-2012-032.Jackson, L.E., V.R. Haden, A.D. Hollander, H. Lee, M. Lubell, V.K. Mehta, A.T. O’Geen, M. Niles, J. Perlman, D. Purkey, W. Salas, D. Sumner, M. Tomuta, M. Dempsey and S.M. Wheeler. 2012.

Impacts of AB 32 on Agriculture. Daniel A. Sumner and John Thomas Rosen-Molina.

California's Climate Change Policy: The Economic and Environmental Impacts of AB 32

October, 2010. Sacramento, CA.
The conference brought together leading economists, analysts, and executives from academia, the state government, and industry to discuss the impacts of climate change and AB 32 on the California economy and the environment. The speakers provided comprehensive, objective, and up-to-date analyses of the likely impacts of AB 32. Presentation slides available here.

California communities deal with conflict and adjustment at the urban-agricultural edge.
Alvin D. Sokolow, Sonja Varea Hammond, Maxwell Norton, Evan E. Schmidt. 
California Agriculture
, July-September 2010. 
A comparative study of urban-related agricultural issues in four communities in two California counties.

Federal Policy for Preserving Farmland:  The Farm and Ranch Lands Protection Program.  Alvin D. Sokolow. 

Publius: The Journal of Federalism.  Spring, 2010. 
The evolution, finances, achievements, and intergovernmental complications of the national program that helps to fund the purchase of conservation easements on agricultural land.

Sharpening the Focus of Yolo County Land Use Policy
(October 2009, pdf, 8.3 MB) Kurt Richter.
Understanding agricultural land use in Yolo County. Includes a field level digital snapshot of agricultural production on every field in Yolo County and the extent of agricultural land parcelization by measuring the developed land within rural Yolo County.

The Solano Agricultural Futures project
(Dec. 2007, 4 pdf files). Al Sokolow and Kurt Richter. The Solano Agricultural Futures project is a comprehensive examination of the county’s farm and ranch sector. The research focuses on obstacles and prospects for future development of the economic base of Solano County agriculture, with particular attention to the land use and the production and marketing of specific commodities and products.

A National View of Agricultural Easement Programs

Are Agricultural Easement Programs Working?
American Farmland Trust and the Agricultural Issues Center have conducted the most in-depth and comprehensive analysis of agricultural easement programs undertaken in the United States. Includes the followinf reports:
- Report 1 - Profiles and Maps
- Report 2 - How Programs Select Farmland to Fund
- Report 3 - Easements and Local Planning
- Report 4 - Measuring Success in Protecting Farmland with Easements

Conserving Agricultural Land through Compensation:
A Guide for California Landowners
Alvin D. Sokolow, Mica Bennett, December 2004
83 pages, 8.5 x 11, softcover
Chapter 1 -
Compensatory Objectives: Public Wants, Landowner Needs (.pdf 3235 kb)
Chapter 2 - Introducing the Programs (.pdf 4420 kb)
Chapter 3 - Landowner Rewards and Risks: Financial, Conservation, Family Considerations (.pdf 3999 kb)
Chapter 4 - Financial Rewards: What Programs Compensate Landowners (.pdf 2630 kb)
Chapter 5 - Preferential tax Programs: The Two Versions of the Williamson Act (.pdf 1386 kb)
Chapter 6 - U.S.D.A. Cost-Sharing and Reserve Program (.pdf 5093 kb)
Chapter 7 - Cash for Development Rights: The Agricultural Easement Process (.pdf 2507 kb)
Chapter 8 - The Future of Compensatory Programs in California (.pdf 638 kb)

Compensating Landowners for Conserving Agricultural Land
Compensating landowners is an increasingly important approach for maintaining working landscapes, especially in the face of urban expansion. As an alternative or supplement to government land use planning and regulation, landowner payments recognize the multiple public benefits of keeping farmland in the hands of farmers. The papers included in this collection (products of an April, 2003, conference in Sacramento) describe, evaluate, and suggest variations in a range of compensatory techniques, including: (1) property tax preferences for farmland allowed by state governments; (2) federal cost-share conservation payments administered by USDA; (3) federal payments for the temporary retirement of cropland; and (4) agricultural easements created through the acquisition of development rights from landowners.

California's Future: Maintaining Viable Agriculture at the Urban Edge
The publication provides the views of a dozen experts in fields ranging from biotechnology to local government and legislative policy. A concluding chapter is by Alvin D. Sokolow, extension public policy specialist, UC Davis.

California Farmers and Conservation Easements: Motivations, Experiences, and Perceptions in Three Counties (pdf)
By Ellen Rilla and Alvin D. Sokolow, with the assistance of Robin Kozloff and Cathy Lemp. Research Paper #4 in AIC's California Farmland & Open Space Policy Series, December 2000

Agriculture in the Sacramento Region, Trends and Prospects
This link provides a detailed portrait of agriculture in the lower Sacramento Valley, and of the economic and policy trends that are shaping its future


A Factbook About our Agricultural Working Landscapes (pdf, 8.76mb)
Edited by Alvin D. Sokolow, John Speka and Jeff Woled. Community Studies Extension, University of California, Davis. October 2004, 34 pages.

Modeling Farmland Conversion with New GIS Data (pdf)
Nicolai V. Kuminoff and Daniel A. Sumner use an analytical and econometric approach, and new GIS data, to analyze the farmland conversion process, including the effects of the agricultural-urban edge, farm returns, real estate markets, population growth, and development restrictions.

Modeling Farmland Conversion with New GIS Data (pdf)
Slides from the presentation by Nicolai V. Kuminoff at the annual meetings of the American Association of Agricultural Economists, Chicago, August 7, 2001.

Agriculture in Urbanizing Communities (pdf)
Outline of the presentation given by Alvin D. Sokolow to the USDA Policy Advisory Committee on Farmland Protection during the July 21, 2000 listening session at UC Davis. Also available in pdf format from thelistening session is testimony by Solano County farmer and rancher, Albert G. Medvitz.

Farmland, Urbanization, and Agriculture in the Sacramento Region (pdf)
A paper prepared by Alvin D. Sokolow and Nicolai V. Kuminoff for the Capitol Region Institute, Sacramento Regional Futures Compendium. This paper uses recent data on land use, agricultural production and population growth to discuss the future of agriculture in the Sacramento Region.

Books produced by AIC. Available in many libraries. Many available for download here.
California Farmers and Conservation Easements (2000)
Agriculture in the Sacramento Region: Trends and Prospects (2000)
California Farmland and Urban Pressures: Statewide and Regional Perspectives (1999)
Farmers and Neighbors: Land Use, Pesticides and Other Issues (1996)
Resource Pressures: California's Central Valley (1991)
People Pressures: California's Central Valley (1991)
California's Central Valley--Confluence of Change, 1990 Symposia
Farmland and Open Space in Yolo County (1993)
Farmland and Open Space Preservation in the Four North Bay Counties (1995)
Farmland Protection in the General Plan (1995)
Municipal Density and Farmland Protection(1996)


AIC Associate Director Alvin D. Sokolow's University of California, Davis, Human and Community Development Faculty Webpage

California Department of Conservation, Division of Land Resource Protection

California Department of Conservation, Farmland Mapping and Monitoring Program

United States Department of Agriculture


Farmland Conversion: Perceptions and Realities (no. 16, 2001, pdf)
Nicolai V. Kuminoff, Alvin D. Sokolow and Daniel A. Sumner examine both the numbers that measure farmland conversions and the related public perceptions about the causes and consequences of conversion--the basis of arguments about the seriousness of the problem and its policy solutions. Also available (online only) are two appendices to the Issues Brief describing the authors' calculations for total agricultural land and farmland conversion.

County Right-to-Farm Ordinances in California: An Assessment of Impact and Effectiveness (no. 15, 2001, pdf)
Matthew Wacker, Alvin D. Sokolow and Rachel Elkins perform a comparative study of county-adopted ordinances and their implementation in 15 agricultural counties in California's Central Valley and coastal regions.

Management Changes and Impacts of the 1996 Farm Act (no. 5, March 1998, html)
Warren E. Johnston and Lyle P. Schertz summarize the findings of a 1997 panel of professional farm managers on the impact of the 1996 Farm Act in the Sacramento Valley.


(You may have to browse the Quarterly to find the indicated article.)

Volume 17, No. 1, 2003 (pdf)
Conference explores farmland options

Volume 16, No. 4, 2002 (pdf)
Farmland protection provisions

Volume 16, No. 3, 2002 (pdf)
Study explores conservation options for farmland

Volume 15, No. 4, 2001 (pdf)
AIC joins national agricultural easement study

Volume 15, No. 2, 2001 (pdf)
GIS Adds New Light on Farmland Conversion
"Edge" Document Reprinted

Volume 15, No. 1, 2001 (pdf)
AIC Proposes Larger State Farmland Total
Farmland Loss is Publication Topic
Right-to-Farm Ordinances Reviewed

Volume 14, No. 4, 2000 (pdf)
Conservation Easements' History in Three Counties

Volume 14, No. 3, 2000 (pdf)
New Center Publication Portrays Regional Ag
The Federal Role in Farmland Conservation
State Updates Data on Farmland Conversion

Volume 14, No. 1, 2000 (pdf)
First Step in Saving Regional Farmland

Volume 13, No. 4, 1999 (html)
Perceptions and Realities about Farmland Conversion

Volume 13, No. 2, 1999 (html)
New Center Volume Looks at Urban/Farmland Issues

Volume 12, No. 2, 1998 (html)
Farmland Publication

Volume 11, No. 3, 1997 (html)
AIC Rural/Urban Program

Volume 11, No. 1, 1997 (html)
California's Future: Maintaining Viable Agriculture at the Urban Edge


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