Farmland and Climate

Farmland and Climate


Farmland and Climate

One of the valley’s many abrupt and often changing rural-urban boundaries adjoins a modern Fresno County subdivision

Study Warns Of Climate Impacts If Ag Continues To Be Paved Over

Those in California agriculture have been hearing a great deal about climate change but a new study approaches the subject from a farm-preservation perspective.

The California Climate and Agriculture Network contends more than farmland is at risk from traditional pressures like urban sprawl and new ones including large-scale solar energy projects and oil and gas exploration. Mounting evidence shows climate change benefits of protecting farmland and curbing greenhouse gas emissions related to transportation and energy use, the study says, but it warns that “California farmland is under threat of being paved over.”

The study outlines policy recommendations for protecting agricultural lands to ensure their climate, food security and other benefits. It was released February 20-21 at the University of California, Davis.


“California’s existing farmland protection policy tools are outdated and underfunded,” said Renata Brillinger, the network’s Executive Director. “They must be strengthened, especially at the boundaries of our cities where farms can provide the greatest benefit to avoiding greenhouse gas emissions.”

The California Climate and Agriculture Network consists of sustainable agriculture advocates, farmers, ranchers and agricultural experts that advances policy solutions at the nexus of sustainable agriculture and climate change.

Policy Proposals

The report’s policy recommendations include:

  • Clarifying mitigation requirements for loss of farmland under the California Environmental Quality Act.
  • Developing farmland mitigation requirements based on cumulative impacts of infrastructure projects, including the impact on future greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Directing a portion of AB 32 cap-and-trade revenues to farmland conservation, targeting the creation of easements on farmland most at risk of  development.

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