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San Diego Agricultural Planning Program

The San Diego region has the highest number of small and certified organic farms of any county in the nation, yet according to the 2015 California Farmland Conversion Report, our region has consistently ranked in the top 10 counties in California with the largest net loss of irrigated farmland since 1994. From 2019 to 2020, land dedicated to commercial agriculture decreased by almost 10,000 acres.

The San Diego Agricultural Planning Program will identify, monitor, and assess the ownership of active agricultural lands within the San Diego region to determine effective methods to strengthen agricultural production and the growing agricultural economy.

This two-year planning grant is funded by the California Department of Conservation with Cap-and-Trade proceeds through the Sustainable Agricultural Lands Conservation Program (SALC). The project is managed by the San Diego Local Agency Formation Commission (LAFCO) and coordinated by the Resource Conservation District of Greater San Diego County (RCDGSDC).

What's Next? 

What's Next?

Working groups have been meeting monthly since Fall of 2022 and will continue into Spring of 2023, and are all working towards their individual project goals. The projects that each working group will focus on are:

  1. Land Access: Creation and management of a central database for matchmaking agricultural producers with public and private lands available for lease or sale
  2. Water Availability & Efficiency: Design and identify funding sources for a small-scale pilot project of Rancho California's CropSWAP program which incentivizes the replacement of mature orchard trees with low demand crops or root stock
  3. Agricultural Workforce Development: Streamline development of farmworker housing by preparing farmworker housing templates that are pre-approved by the County and municipalities, noting ADU exemptions, vulnerable populations and VMT benefits

We have drafted our final technical report to document our process, results and policy recommendations. The final materials created will be a comprehensive document with detailed analysis, as well as a short and informative pamphlet that can be distributed to policy makers.

Stay tuned for a list of public presentations we will be making in Spring 2023 to share our work!


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Grant Outcomes 


  • Mapping of historical, current and potential agricultural lands in San Diego County
  • Estimation of carbon sequestration potentials on San Diego County agricultural lands


  • Producer needs assessment with more than 100 agricultural producers targeting under-represented operations, with support from our outreach partners at Mission RCD, CHIP's Farm to Institution, and Foodshed
  • Two listening sessions with a variety of producers and demographics in different regions of the county
  • Watch this overview of the Outreach Phase from UC Cooperative Extension’s 2022 Climate Symposium


Inventory of policies at local, regional and state level affecting priority policies identified in Outreach process

See here for a list of local policies affecting the primary agricultural regions of San Diego

Host (3) policy meetings to discuss priority issues for each topic

Land Presentation SlidesWater Presentation SlidesWorkforce Presentation Slides

Host (1) strategic planning meeting to identify 1 project per policy topic, and form the working groups responsible for each project. 


Please reach out to our RCD Agricultural Team, Joel Kramer and Codi Hale | 619-562-009


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Hearing directly from the farmers and ranchers in our community was essential to understanding the needs of our region.


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