Central Valley Land Use Report
[Agricultural Production in an Urban State] [Goals] [Basic Principles]
[Sidebar: Can the Central Valley Learn from the Experience of Los Angeles?] [Task Force Membership] [Acknowledgements] [Footnotes]
In the fall of 1996 a group of farmers, ranchers, and representatives of agricultural organizations came together to form the Agricultural Task Force for Resource Conservation and Economic Growth in the Central Valley.
The purpose of the Agricultural Task Force for Resource Conservation and Economic Growth in the Central Valley is to address the issue of rapid population growth in the Central Valley and its impact on agricultural resources. The focus of the task force is to recommend policies to conserve and protect resources vital to the long-term economic health and productivity of agriculture in the Central Valley.
The Agricultural Task Force for Resource Conservation and Economic Growth in the Central Valley has two goals for the Central Valley:
- Maintain and enhance agriculture as an economically viable
- Conserve important agricultural land.
The task force recognizes that traditional methods of planning and growth management in the Central Valley will lead to significant loss of farmland in the nation's richest agricultural region. Instead of allowing this to happen, the task force believes that policies and actions by all levels of government should support agriculture's role as a vitally important industry and a necessary component for the future success of California and the nation.
Urbanization must accommodate future population growth more efficiently than it has in the past, and important agricultural land in the Central Valley must be recognized as a valuable natural resource that this state and nation cannot afford to lose.
Furthermore, for agriculture to continue as successful enterprises throughout the Central Valley, it must have access to specific resources and a favorable economic and regulatory climate. This includes not only an adequate land base that provides the critical mass necessary to support California's divers and complex agricultural system, but also an adequate water supply at rates agriculture can afford; good air quality that allows us to maintain decent yields and a regulatory environment that doesn't cause undue interference with agricultural operations. We recognize, of course, that certain environmental and social standards must be maintained for California's long-term health that certain environmental and socials standards must be maintained for California's long-term health.
This report addresses ten principles that will help accomplish our goals. These principals include the need for:
- Actions that support agriculture as an industry so that a strong agricultural economy can continue in the Central Valley;
- Secure incentives for land owners through the use of agricultural land conservation strategies;
- Changes that increase the fiscal stability of local governments;
- The use of unified countywide plans with clear agricultural and urban policies;
- Amendments to the California Environmental Quality Act that provide more thorough and consistent environmental evaluation when proposals to convert important agricultural land to non-agricultural uses occur;
- Policies and incentives that keep urban uses in urban areas and encourage city-centered development by using existing urbanized land more efficiently through infill, higher density development, and revitalization of existing urban areas;
- Secure funding for the state infrastructure bank to support efficient urban development and farmland conservation;
- Transportation policies that result in efficient urban development and the conservation of productive farmland; and
- Clarification of the roles of government with regard to
growth and development and resource conservation.
The task force recognizes that implementing these principles will require a cooperative effort by many interested and affected groups. Keeping agriculture an economically viable enterprise in the Central Valley and conserving important agricultural land involves issues that affect all Californians.
The direction the Central Valley takes on these issues has the potential to result in enormous consequences. We hope this report marks the beginning of a process, rather than an end, where agriculture's voice can be heard on such important issues as growth management and resource protection.
To order a copy of the report, please contact the California Farm Bureau Federation at (916) 446-4647, or the Agricultural Council of California at (916) 443-4887.
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