Source: UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA, DAVIS submitted to
POLICY OPTIONS FOR FARMLAND PROTECTION; FOCUS ON AGRICULTURAL EASEMENTS
Sponsoring Institution
National Institute of Food and Agriculture
Project Status
TERMINATED
Funding Source
Reporting Frequency
Annual
Accession No.
0161421
Grant No.
(N/A)
Project No.
CA-D*-HCD-5696-H
Proposal No.
(N/A)
Multistate No.
(N/A)
Program Code
(N/A)
Project Start Date
Oct 1, 2002
Project End Date
Sep 30, 2007
Grant Year
(N/A)
Project Director
Sokolow, A. D.
Recipient Organization
UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA, DAVIS
410 MRAK HALL
DAVIS,CA 95616-8671
Performing Department
HUMAN AND COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT
Non Technical Summary
The results of this research are being disseminated to state and local policymakers, farm industry organizations, and community planning groups through extension activities and publications. Interest in the easement as applied to farmland protection is rapidly growing in this state, and initial research findings are already informing key audiences about issues of easement location, financing, and program organization.
Animal Health Component
60%
Research Effort Categories
Basic
30%
Applied
60%
Developmental
10%
Classification

Knowledge Area (KA)Subject of Investigation (SOI)Field of Science (FOS)Percent
6020120305010%
6050120301030%
6080120308010%
6100120306050%
Goals / Objectives
The purpose of this project is to evaluate the performance and impacts of agricultural easement programs in a way that is useful to public policy leaders and other researchers. This requires developing a consistent set of measures of impact and applying them comparatively to different local programs. The challenge here is to look beyond the individual properties that are put under easement, to see how larger areas of farmland and urban growth are affected by easement placements. This is a different and more strategic standard of effectiveness than traditionally employed by easement programs with environmental and natural resource purposes, which usually have focused on preserving the unique values of the properties put under easement. By this definition, we have four general standards of effectiveness as summarized in the following project objectives: A.Evaluate the impacts of easement programs in protecting from urbanization large blocks of farmland, particularly in redirecting the path of urban expansion. B.Evaluate the impacts of easement programs in minimizing the rate of farming conservation in particular areas. C.Evaluate how easement programs complement or work against local government planning and land use policies. D.Evaluate how easement programs affect local agricultural economies.
Project Methods
The major part of this research will examine the performance and impacts of the most active agricultural easement programs throughout the United States. About 40 programs in 13 states as of early 2002 had accumulated easements on at least 1,000 acres of agricultural land, representing at least 10 farms (separate easement transactions). All of these programs will be included in the research. California has six programs that have reached this threshold; other states with at least five programs apiece qualifying are Maryland and Pennsylvania. The great majority of programs in the research sample are operated by community organizations-county governments for the most part, but also a few land trusts (mainly in California) and municipalities. Several state government programs that deal directly with landowners are included; however, most state governments with agricultural easement activities operate primarily as funders of local programs. As in my previous work on farmland policy, the data collection for this research will emphasize in person and phone interviews of knowledgeable persons and the accumulation of reports and other written materials. This applies to all the research objectives listed above. Using a central data base with a common set of categories, a profile will be established for each program in the sample, providing the basis for comparative analysis. The interviews will seek informed perceptions about the program impacts on conversions and land use, following the objectives listed above. Persons interviewed will include program managers, local government planners, local agricultural and real estate leaders, and other community and state persons knowledgeable about easement activities. Data also will be collected on more objective measures of farmland and land use change.

Progress 10/01/02 to 09/30/07

Outputs
This is the terminal report for my Experiment Station Report. I retired from the University a little more than a year ago and, consequently, no longer have campus support for the work described here. However, I continue to research and write in this area. My major project in the area of farmland protection policy has been the National Assessment of Agricultural Easement Programs, Underway since 2002, the project is in its final stages. Completion is expected in 2006 with the publication of the final and fourth report. The final drafts of the project's second and third reports were just completed and are now under review, with publication scheduled for January, 2006. The two reports analyze, respectively, (1) how agricultural easement programs decide which farms to fund and put under easement; and (2) the relationships between easement programs and local planning policy (see Publications list below). I am the co-author of the former report and the sole author of the latter. Project activities in 2005 concentrated on the preparation of the two reports, including data analysis and drafting. As in the past year, we conducted followup phone interviews with about 60 program managers and other informants focusing on the impacts of easement programs on local land markets and agricultural economies. I am the director of the National Assessment project, which is a collaboration of the American Farmland Trust and the University of California Agricultural Issues Center. This is the first-ever national study of the agricultural easement technique for protecting farmland from urban conversion. Our research sample includes 46 of the leading agricultural easement programs in the nation, including six in California. The project's first report, published in late 2003, presented detailed profiles of the sample programs. I also worked on a second project in 2005 that pertains to farmland protection. This is a study of the sources, nature and resolution of agricultural-urban edge conflicts. In collaboration with Cooperative Extension advisors in each jurisdiction, the project examines representative edge issues in three agricultural counties-Merced, Monterey, and San Diego. We are examining two edge areas in each of the counties with varying degree of conflict between farmers and urban neighbors over agricultural practices with the objective of identifying factors that either stimulate such tensions or lead to their resolution. In preparation for the drafting of one or more journal papers, in 2005 we drafted case studies for each edge segment, prepared comparative data tables, and obtain GIS maps of the edge segments.

Impacts
The significance of this research is that it realistically addresses the problem of maintaining farms and ranches in an urbanizing environment, a public policy issue pertinent to California and many other regions of the nation. The work generates information useful to a variety of audiences-agriculturalists, land use planners, state and local policy makers, and the general public. Building on the research, in 2005 I continued to disseminate information on the agricultural easement technique, edge conflicts and solutions, and related farmland policy topics to off-campus audiences. This included presentations to community groups in Elk Grove and Tehama County; talks to the California chapter of the Soil Conservation Society, the California Association of Resource Conservation Districts, the UC California Agriculture Symposium, and the University of Arizona Agri-Business Forum; and phone interviews for more than a dozen newspaper and television reporters.

Publications

  • ALVIN D. SOKOLOW 2005. 'The smart growth approach to urban land use: Implications for farmland protection.' 266-278 in Stephen J. Goetz, James S. Shortle and John C. Bergstrom, eds., Land Use Problems and Conflicts: Causes, Consequences and Solutions. New York: Routledge.
  • ALVIN D. SOKOLOW 2005. Easements and Local Planning: A National View of Agricultural Easement Programs-Report 3. Draft. Washington, D.C., and Davis, California: American Farmland Trust and University of California Agricultural Issues Center. 78 pp. ANITA ZURBRUGG and ALVIN D. SOKOLOW 2005. How Agricultural Easement Programs Select Farmland to Fund: A National View of Agricultural Easement Programs-Report 2. Draft. Washington, D.C., and Davis, California: American Farmland Trust and University of California Agricultural Issues Center. 54 pp.


Progress 01/01/04 to 12/31/04

Outputs
Considerable progress was made this past year on three components of the research: (1) The National Assessment of Agricultural Easement Programs, (2) a landowner guide on compensatory methods for preserving agricultural land; and (3) a study of agricultural-urban edge conflicts in three California counties. Although I officially retired from UC in October, 2004, I will continue to work on these projects until completion this coming year. The first project, conducted in cooperation with the American Farmland Trust, is a national study of the effectiveness of the agricultural easement technique for protecting farmland from urban conversion that includes 46 sample programs in 15 states. Following the publication of our first report late in 2003, we completed the phone interviewing with program managers and other knowledgeable persons in each sample jurisdiction and continued the analysis of data leading to the projects three remaining reports. With publication expected by spring of next year, the first two reports will deal with (1) the acquisition criteria used by easement programs, and (2) the relationship between easement programs and local planning policies and practices. The second project resulted in the publication of Saving Agricultural Land Through Compensation: A Guide for California Landowners in December. The 85 page guidebook is an informational resource for agricultural landowners and program managers on the techniques for conserving working landscapes by compensating landowners with cash and/or tax benefits. Based on both original and secondary research, it examines the three categories of major compensatory techniques tax preferences, USDA conservation payments, and agricultural easements. The guidebook details in a comparative fashion the public benefits that justify paying landowners, program purposes, landowner incentives and risks, enrollment and selection details, levels of compensation, and policy issues. The project was supported by the California Office of the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service and the Farm Foundation. Finally, work in 2004 greatly advanced the study of edge conflicts with completion of the project expected by mid 2005. A collaborative project with Cooperative Extension advisors in each jurisdiction, this involves research on representative edge issues in three agricultural counties Merced, Monterey, and San Diego. We are examining two edge areas in each of the counties with varying degree of conflict between farmers and urban neighbors over agricultural practices with the objective of identifying factors that either stimulate such tensions or lead to their resolution. Draft profiles of each edge area have been prepared as the basis for preparing a comparative analysis.

Impacts
The significance of all these projects is that address realistically the problem of maintaining farms and ranches in an urbanizing environment. Each project is generating information useful to a variety of audiences agriculturalists, land use planners, state and local policy makers, and the general public. As the first the systematic effort to evaluate the effectiveness of the easement technique in protecting significant amounts of agricultural land in the face of urban development, the first report of the National Assessment of Agricultural Easement Programs project has been used in at least one graduate planning course (University of Pennsylvania) and is found on the reference shelves of a number of easement program managers. I anticipate that the landowner guide after it is published in the next month will be of use to many California ranchers and farmers and to program managers and staff. Seven hundred copies of the publication will be distributed by California office of the Natural Resources Conservation Service-USDA to the agency's regional offices throughout the state. Other copies of the landower guide will be distributed for landowner use to Resource Conservation Districts and county Cooperative Extension offices throughout the state.

Publications

  • ALVIN D. SOKOLOW and Mica Bennett. 2004 December. Saving Agricultural Land Through Compensation: A Guide for California Landowners. UC Agricultural Issues Center. December, 2004.
  • Nelson Bills, Charles Geisler, AL SOKOLOW and David Kay. 2004 December. 'Conservation Easements as Encumbered Ownership: Issues at Hand.' Rural Development Paper No. 25. The Northeast Regional Center for Rural Development, The Pennsylvania State University.
  • ALVIN D. SOKOLOW. 2003. California's Edge Problem: Urban Impacts on Agriculture. Chapter 12, pp. 289-304, in Jerry Siebert, editor, California Agriculture: Dimensions and Issues. UC Gianni Foundation of Agricultural Economics.


Progress 01/01/03 to 12/31/03

Outputs
The major activity this past year has involved substantial work on my continuing national study of the effectiveness of the agricultural easement technique for protecting farmland from urban conversion. I am directing The National Assessment of Agricultural Easement Programs in cooperation with the American Farmland Trust (AFT), the nations leading nonprofit organization concerned with farmland protection issues. This national project builds on my 1999-2002 comprehensive study of the application of the easement technique in California that covered landowner, local program organization and achievements, funding, land use implications, and Central Valley aspects of the use of agricultural easements in this state. The research sample for the national study includes 46 local and state agricultural easement programs (including six in California) in 15 states, the top programs nationwide in acres and farms put under easement. Extensive phone interviews with program managers and others constitute the principal data collection method. The highlight of the year was the publication in September of the projects first report (see below), which presents detailed information and maps for each of the 46 sample programs, introduced by a comparative analysis of program achievements, organization, funding, staffing, origins, acquisition strategies, and relationships to local planning processes. This descriptive, 184-page monograph is the foundation for three later, more analytical reports on aspects of impacts and effectiveness that are scheduled for publication through 2004. They will deal with easement acquisition strategies, connections with local planning policies, and subjective and objective measures of effectiveness. A second project largely completed this year was a study of California agricultural landowners--their views of and experiences with various compensatory techniques for conserving their farms and ranches, including easements, preferential property taxes (Williamson Act), and USDA conservation payments. Supported by the California Department of Conservation, this study was based on a mail survey of 276 landowners in six counties. The final paper from this research was presented at a Sacramento conference in April on compensatory techniques for conserving agricultural land, which I organized and which brought researchers from throughout the nation to discuss the topic with a California audience of program managers, policymakers, and representatives of agricultural and environmental organizations.

Impacts
The first systematic effort to evaluate the effectiveness of the easement technique in protecting significant amounts of agricultural land in the face of urban development. Most research in this area has concentrated on more simple measures of activity, such as funding and acres put under easement, without delving into the central question of the relative benefits produced by the major investment of public funds. Given the unique policy relevance of the project, our first report in both its hard copy and website versions has been reviewed and commented on by a large of number of governmental, agricultural, and environmental leaders. We know that the program managers of state and local agricultural protection programs, national environmental organizations, nonprofit land trusts, national and state staff of USDA, and academic researchers are using information from the report. It is especially notable that the Congressional Research Service of the Library of Congress has told us that our findings are the only objective assessment of the ag easement technique to date and that the first and later reports will be an important basis of their policy advice to Congress on the utility of federal funding in this area. As part of our outreach efforts in this project, I and the project co director (from AFT) presented two seminars on our first findings to two Washington, D.C., audiences in November the headquarters staff of AFT and the natural resource staff of the Economic Research Service of USDA.

Publications

  • ALVIN D. SOKOLOW, JOAN WRIGHT, NORA DeCUIR, and MICA BENNETT. 2003. What California Farmland Owners Like and Dont Like About Compensatory Programs for Conservation. In Nora DeCuir, Alvin D. Sokolow, and Jeff Waled, EDS., Compensating Landowners for Conserving Agricultural Land: Papers from a California Conference. California Studies Extension and Agricultural Issues Center, University of California.
  • ALVIN D. SOKOLOW. 2003. Farmland going, going... Too few efforts to preserve what defines California. San Francisco Chronicle, op ed, page A-21.
  • ALVIN D. SOKOLOW and ANITA ZURBRUGG, (EDS). 2003. A National View of Agricultural Easement Programs: Profiles and Maps Report 1. American Farmland Trust and Agricultural Issues Center, University of California.


Progress 01/01/02 to 12/31/02

Outputs
This past year has been a period of transition in my research on farmland and land use policy, moving from the completion of a project focused on California patterns to the start of one with a national scope. In this year I organized and began to implement a national study of the use of the conservation easement technique for protecting farmland from urban conversion. I am directing The National Assessment of Agricultural Easement Programs in cooperation with the American Farnland Trust (AFT), the nation's leading nonprofit organization concerned with farmland protection issues. The national project builds on my 1999-2002 comprehensive study of the application of the easement technique in California that covered landowner, local program organization and achievements, funding, land use implications, and Central Valley aspects of the use of agricultural easements in this state. The California work lead to several publications and numerous outreach presentations. While begun in calendar 2002 as my sabbatical leave project, work on the national project will continue through 2003 because of the complexity and size of the data collection and analysis tasks. The heart of the project is an evaluation of the impacts and effectiveness of agricultural easement programs throughout the nation, a shift from the direction of past research in this area which has largely dealt with the 'front end' processes of program initiation, funding, easement accomplishments, and landowner persuasion. 'Effectiveness' is defined by multiple measures, mostly extending beyond the specific farms put under easement, and including community impacts on urban development and other land use patterns, local agricultural economies, land markets, and lasting protection of large blocks of farmland. A basic purpose of the research is to understand the extent and nature of the public benefits derived from the investment of approximately $1.5 billion of mostly public funds spent in the last 25 years to acquire easements on more than 800,000 acres of farmland nationwide. The project examines the performance and impacts of 45 local and state agricultural easement programs (including 6 in California) in 13 states, the top programs nationwide in acres and farms put under easement. Organizational work in 2002 included the identification of the sample programs, recruitment and training of a research team of six members, development of an online database with detailed information for each sample program, and completion of about 40 percent of a total of about 180 phone interviews to be conducted with easement managers and other knowledgeable persons about program performance and impacts. Research findings and policy recommendations will be presented in a series of short reports to be published jointly by AFT and the UC Agricultural Issues Center through 2003.

Impacts
This project bears directly on a major California and national public issue--the loss of farmland to urbanization. It generates policy-relevant information about improving the effectiveness of the agriculture easement technique. Principal audiences for the research are state, local, and federal policymakers in the agricultural and land use areas; easement program managers; farm industry leaders; and leaders of environmental organizations.

Publications

  • ALVIN D. SOKOLOW (2002) "Agricultural easements limited geographically", California Agriculture, vol. 56, January-February. pp. 15-20,
  • ALVIN D. SOKOLOW and CATHY LEMP(2002) "Agricultural easement programs: Saving agriculture or saving the environment", California Agriculture, vol. 56, January-February, pp. 9-14.
  • ALVIN D. SOKOLOW (2002) "The Smart Growth Approach to Urban Land Use: Implications for Farmland Protection." Paper presented to the Orlando Workshop on Land Use Problems and Conflicts, Orlando, Florida, February 21-22, 2002.


Progress 01/01/01 to 12/31/01

Outputs
Most my research on farmland and land use policy in California during 2001 concentrated on the completion of a major project begun in 1999--the comprehensive study of California's experience with the conservation easement technique as applied to farmland. This project has been supported with modest funds from the California Department of Conservation and the Great Valley Center. At this time the writing is almost complete on the second and third of the project's three reports, all slated for publication. The second report examines the activity, strategies, organization, funding, and land use impacts of the local organizations in California--mostly nonprofit land trusts, but also including a few public agencies-that acquire and manage agricultural easements. The third report, based on extensive interviews with more than 120 community leaders in 11 counties, examines the prospects for the technique in the Central Valley, where few local conservation programs currently operate. After peer review and further editing, both reports will be published by the UC Agricultural Issues Center. AIC published the first report in the series, California Farmers and Conservation Easements: Motivations, Experiences, and Perceptions, in December 2000. Three short articles based on the research will appear in the January/February, 2002 issue of California Agriculture. Other publication outlets for the research will be sought, including journals in the planning and agricultural policy area. Other research on farmland policy topics during the year targeted the measurement of farmland conversion and the effectiveness of right to farm ordinances, both resulting in AIC publications (see below). Work also was initiated on two separate projects: (1) A study of farm-urban edge conflicts in several sample California counties, a DANR workgroup project involving county farm advisors; and (2) A national assessment of the effectiveness of agricultural easement programs, to be conducted during my calendar 2002 sabbatical leave in collaboration with the American Farmland Trust.

Impacts
The fruits of my research on farmland policy are regularly disseminated to California and national audiences, including state and local policymakers, in my extension activities. In 2001 I made 21 presentations on the results of the agricultural easement research to community forums (5), state legislative committees (2), state government staffs (3), land trust boards and staff (4), Berkeley and Davis campus seminars (4), and other audiences.

Publications

  • MATTHEW WACKER, ALVIN D. SOKOLOW, and RACHEL ELKINS. County Right-to-Farm Ordinances in California: An Assessment of Impact and Effectiveness. University of California, Agricultural Issues Center. Davis. Issues Brief 15. May 2001.
  • NICOLAI V. KUMINOFF, ALVIN D. SOKOLOW, and DANIEL A. SUMNER. Farmland Conversion: Perceptions and Realities. University of California, Agricultural Issues Center, Davis. Issues Brief 16. May 2001.


Progress 01/01/00 to 12/31/00

Outputs
Progress during 2000 in advancing my research on farmland and land use policy in California was focused on an ongoing study of the California experience with the conservation easement technique as applied to farmland. This project is supported by the California Department of Conservation and the Great Valley Center. Field research and data collection were completed during the year. The first of three projected reports on the research findings, California Farmers and Conservation Easements: Motivations, Experiences, and Perceptions, was published in December by the UC Agricultural Issues Center. The second report, now in preparation, is an analysis of the local conservation organizations in California-mostly nonprofit land trusts, but also including a few public agencies-that acquire and manage easements. This part of the study examines the activities, origins, organization, finances, and strategies of these conservation agencies, with the objective of assessing the success to date of the agricultural easement approach as a mechanism for protecting farmland and influencing the direction of urban growth. Two other separate, but related projects were also undertaken this year. (1) Work was completed on an evaluation of the implementation of right to farm ordinances in a sample of California counties. Involving as co-authors a graduate student and a county CE advisor, the report will be published shortly by the Agricultural Issues Center. (2) Some preliminary work was accomplished in a project using city and county planning records to examine several aspects of farmland conversion-including (a) community efforts to mitigate the impacts on farming of new urban development through buffers and other techniques; (b) the nature and timing of the conversion process; and (c) developing new measures for estimating conversion acres and location.

Impacts
The results of this research are being disseminated to state and local policymakers, farm industry organizations, and community planning groups through extension activities and publications. Interest in the easement as applied to farmland protection is rapidly growing in this state, and initial research findings are already informing key audiences about issues of easement location, financing, and program organization.

Publications

  • ELLEN RILLA and ALVIN D. SOKOLOW. California Farmers and Conservation Easements: Motivations, Experiences and Perceptions. University of California, Agricultural Issues Center. Davis. December, 2000.
  • NICOLAI V. KUMINOFF, ALVIN D. SOKOLOW, and RAY COPPOCK, eds. Agriculture in the Sacramento Region: Trends and Prospects. University of California, Agricultural Issues Center, Davis. September, 2000.


Progress 01/01/99 to 12/31/99

Outputs
Progress during 1999 in advancing my research on farmland and land use policy in California includes the completion of one project, substantial research on a second, and the start of work on a third project. (1) The completed project is the publication by the Agricultural Issues Center of the collection of papers, California Farmland and Urban Pressures, which I co-edited and to which I contributed a paper and the introduction. (2) Major progress was made this year in my study of conservation easement programs in California that seek to preserve farmland. Research and data collection on all three components of the project was 95% completed by the end of 1999, and work is now proceeding on data analysis and writing. The three research components include (a) interviews with 46 farmland owners in three California counties who sold easements on their properties; (b) approximately 35 interviews with managers and leaders of nonprofit land trusts and public agencies with easement programs throughout the state; and (c) interviews with about 115 local government officials, agricultural leaders, and others on the prospects for the use of the easement technique in the Central Valley. (3) The emerging project is a study of farm operations and urban planning at the agricultural-urban edge involving a pilot project in Stanislaus County.

Impacts
The results of this work are being disseminated to state and local policymakers, farm industry organizations, and community planning groups through publications and the chief investigator's work as an extension educator and policy advisor. Although the research on conservation easement programs is not yet complete, preliminary findings have already been discussed at several community and industry forums and in briefings with policymakers.

Publications

  • SOKOLOW, ALVIN D., 1999. Variations in Local Farmland Protection Policy: The Central Valley and the North Bay. Pp 141-160 in MEDVITZ, SOKOLOW, and LEMP, eds. California Farmland and Urban Pressures: Statewide and Regional Perspectives. University of California, Agricultural Issues Center. Davis.
  • SOKOLOW, ALVIN D., 1999. Agricultural Easements and Land Use Planning: Limited Lessons from California, prepared for the American Farmland Trust, 12th annual conference, Purchase of Agricultural Conservation Easements: The Next Generation, March 28-30, 1999.
  • MEDVITZ, ALBERT G., ALVIN D. SOKOLOW, and CATHY LEMP, eds., 1999. California Farmland and Urban Pressures: Statewide and Regional Perspectives. University of California, Agricultural Issues Center. Davis.


Progress 01/01/98 to 12/01/98

Outputs
In 1998 I served as guest editor of a special section of the May-June issue of California Agriculture devoted to the urbanization of California farmland. The section included an abbreviated version of my paper comparing farmland policies in the Central Valley and North Bay regions, my preface and another short contribution, and papers by five other authors. In expanded versions, these papers are included in a larger collection (California Farmland and Urban Pressures) that I am co-editing with Al Medvitz and Cathy Lemp. This will be published by the UC Agricultural Issues Center in March 1999. Other research-related activities in 1998 included securing of extramural support (Great Valley Center and California Department of Conservation), and initial data collection, for a study of conservation easement programs in California that seek to preserve farmland.

Impacts
(N/A)

Publications

  • SOKOLOW, A.D. 1998. Preface: Steering a course for farmland protection (p.2), Rural dwellers divided on how to head off urbanization (with Mary Handel, p. 14), and North Bay leads Central Valley in protecting farmland (pp. 17-22), Californ.
  • HANDEL, MARY, LARRY CLEMENT, AL SOKOLOW, and JOAN WRIGHT. 1998. Suisun Valley and the Future: Focus Group Views of Farming, Rural Character and Urban Growth. University of California Cooperative


Progress 01/01/97 to 12/01/97

Outputs
The major accomplishment of 1997 was the publication of a report summarizing the results of the five-year study of local farmland policy and politics in California's Central Valley that was supported by my prior AES project, FARMLAND PROTECTION POLICY IN CALIFORNIA: COUNTY, CITY AND STATE ROLES. This report is a short but comprehensive comparison of the farmland protection efforts of seven county governments and 24 cities in the sample counties. As well as analyzing the general policy approaches and specific land use tools of cities and counties, the report examines city-county interactions on fiscal and land matters that affect farmland. It concludes with several policy recommendations concerning a stronger role for state government in farmland and growth management. The report was widely disseminated throughout California and received extensive press coverage in the state. Related work during the year revolved around the preparation of three more detailed papers based on the data collected in the seven-county study.

Impacts
(N/A)

Publications

  • SOKOLOW, A.D. 1997. Farmland Policy in California's Central Valley: State, County and City Roles. CPS Brief No. 1. California Policy Seminar, Univ. of CA. October. 9(4):12.


Progress 01/01/96 to 12/30/96

Outputs
Highlights of this project during 1996 were: publication of a research monographon the relationship between municipal densities and farmland protection in California's Central Valley; presentation of paper comparing farmland and open space policies in two California regions, four North Bay counties and the Central Valley; and substantial progress toward completion of the project's summary report, a comprehensive study of county and city policies in seven Central Valley counties. A report prepared for the Dept. of Conservation, MUNICIPAL DENSITY AND FARMLAND PROTECTION; AN EXPLORATORY STUDY OF CENTRAL VALLEY PATTERNS, examines policy and political aspects of achieving higher development densities in municipalities and recommends local and state policy changes. The paper presented at the Pacific Division of AAAS annual meeting, A Different Brand of Farmland Politics, concludes that regional differences within California in the priority given to farmland and open space protection by local governments are based on variations in political mobilization and environmental attitudes. Three chapters in the project's summary report, covering county and city farmland policies and politics, were completed this year. The research provided the basis for continuing extension work including the organization and funding of a project to assist citizen education on farmland issues in five California counties.

Impacts
(N/A)

Publications

  • SOKOLOW, A.D. 1996. Municipal Density and Farmland Protection: An Exploratory Study of Central Valley Patterns. Research Paper #3, California Farmland and Open Space Series, Agricultural Issues Center, University of California, Davis. 45 pa SOKOLOW, A.D. 1996. A Different Brand of Farmland Politics: California's Prolific Central Valley. Paper presented to the 77th annual meeting, Pacific Division, American Association for the Advancement of Science, San Jose, California, June.


Progress 01/01/95 to 12/30/95

Outputs
Accomplishments during 1995 include the completion of two papers, both slated for publication. "Population Growth Pressures Agriculture" analyzes projected longterm impacts of urban growth on the supply of California farmland. It demonstrates that adaptations in farming practices and urban form can limit farmland conversions. MUNICIPAL DENSITY AND FARMLAND PROTECTION: AN EXPLORATORY STUDY OF CENTRAL VALLEY PATTERNS examines the prospects of higher development densities and infill development among Central Valley cities as techniques for minimizing farmland loss. One unexpected finding is that above average allocations of land to commercial and industrial uses are more responsible than residential growth for low densities in many Central Valley cities. Another major finding is that neighborhood objections, city council and planning commission reluctance, and perceptions that homebuyers always seek large lots are the major obstacles to higher density development. Homebuilders and developers, on the other hand, show a great deal of interest in the economies and design attractiveness of single family projects with higher densities.

Impacts
(N/A)

Publications


    Progress 01/01/94 to 12/30/94

    Outputs
    Work started during this reporting period on the preparation of a final report to the California Policy Seminar, the agency which funded the basic research in 1993-94 on farmland protection policies and programs in seven Central Valley counties. This stage has involved the analysis of data collected in a large number of open ended interviews with local officials and community leaders and the drafting of policy profiles for each of the sample counties. In addition, a research report series on California farmland policy was inaugurated and the first two items in the series were issued. The first describes farmland and open space programs in the North Bay Area, a four-county region with relatively sophisticated policy approaches (land trusts, conservation easements, voter initiatives) that provide a contrast with the more conventional (zoning, preferential tax assessments) approaches in the Central Valley. The second report summarizes general plan provisions relating to farmland in the seven Central Valley counties.

    Impacts
    (N/A)

    Publications

    • HANDEL, M. E. and SOKOLOW, A. D. 1994. FARMLAND AND OPEN SPACE PRESERVATION IN THE FOUR NORTH BAY COUNTIES, Research Paper 1, Farmland Policy Project, University of California, Davis, May.
    • FROELIGER, J. D. and SOKOLOW, A. D. 1994. FARMLAND PROTECTION IN THE GENERAL PLAN: A COMPARISON OF SEVEN CENTRAL VALLEY COUNTIES, Research Paper 2, Farmland Policy Project, University of California, Davis, May.


    Progress 01/01/93 to 12/30/93

    Outputs
    The principal early finding of the research is that city growth and land use strategies have a much greater impact than county government policies on the extent and rate of conversions of farmland to urban uses. The seven Central Valley county governments that constitute the field research sample vary in the priority their decisionmakers give to farmland protection, but all make some effort to restrain development in their unincorporated area on behalf of this goal. Municipal annexations and other expansionist actions of city governments in the region, on the other hand, are the major source of urbanization and farmland conversions. A portion of the research is examining the extent to which the cities employ high density development standards and other policies to make more efficient use of land. During this reporting period, open-ended interviews with 149 decisionmakers and community leaders in the seven counties were completed.

    Impacts
    (N/A)

    Publications

    • SOKOLOW A.D. (1993) "State Rules and the County-City Arena: Competition for Land and Taxes in California's Central Valley." PUBLIUS: THE JOURNAL OF FEDERALISM, Vol. 23 (Winter): 53-69.