Eye On Modesto

Thoughts and observations about Modesto and Stanislaus County

Modesto Developers…Are you Listening U.N. Says 25% of Globes Farmland Highly Degraded

By Nicole Wimfield

ROME (AP) — The United Nations has completed the first-ever global assessment of the state of the planet’s land resources, finding in a report Monday that a quarter of all land is highly degraded and warning the trend must be reversed if the world’s growing population is to be fed.

The U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization estimates that farmers will have to produce 70 percent more food by 2050 to meet the needs of the world’s expected 9 billion-strong population. That amounts to 1 billion tons more wheat, rice and other cereals and 200 million more tons of beef and other livestock.

To read more http://www.salon.com/writer/nicole_winfield/

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5 thoughts on “Modesto Developers…Are you Listening U.N. Says 25% of Globes Farmland Highly Degraded

  1. They’re talking about the whole world not the Central Valley, but I agree the developers need to build upon already used land or even build sky rises instead of strip malls.

  2. Gaetana on said:

    The central valley is included in the study of the world’s farmland. We used to be able to feed 1/2 of America from the valley. Now it’s down to 1/3 and is continuing to dwindle. You are right about building up, not out. Too bad the developers don’t listen.

  3. Thanks for your new blog. The central valley and Stanislaus have excellent land stewardship and degradation is not an issue due mainly to farmers are intent on protecting their assets and long term income stream. The fact no one likes to talk about is farmland in Stanislaus County (and much of the valley is increasing!) WHAT??? Yes its true!!! Here are the facts for Stanislaus County.

    Harvested Acreage in Stanislaus County by year:
    2010 1,055,159
    2000 812,482
    1990 808,000
    1980 750,524
    1970 780,025

    The media will mention acreage taken out of production but never includes new acreage added. Harvested acres increased 29% in past decade (Check for yourself; http://www.stanag.org/crop-reports.shtm

    New modern techniques allow land previously unsuitable to now be farmed and quite successfully. Many of these new farms produce more than long established plots considered to be prime. Farming is vital to our economy but some of that land can be transitioned to a use that provides more value we should do it as it allows are standard of living to rise and can slowing move away from an area with a large par-time workforce where unemployment has been persistent above 11% for decades

    • Thanks for your comment but a little clarity might be in order. The prime farm land we’re losing to developers is not only some of the best in the world, it is vital to replenishing our underground aquifer.

      The vast majority of the farm acreage additions described in this report is mountainous foothill property. This land is neither more prosperous or efficient than prime farmland in the valley. The water required by this type of farming is almost 50% more than conventional farming and requires much more energy (lengthy pipelines and high pressure pumps) to be spent to deliver the water to the plants.

      The suggestion that prime farm land has been added has been dispelled by the Farmland Bureau and reputable government agencies and is mainly touted by the development community.

      Many times one has to look closely at these reports and ask many indepth questions to glean how their true informational content needs to be interpreted.

      Again thank you for your comments and we hope you continue to read the Eyo On Modesto regularly.

      Emerson Drake

  4. John Duarte on said:

    I am familiar, through my work as an agricultural nurseryman, with many farm developments in the central valley. There is abundant excellent farmland available for intensive orchard and vineyard farming available here in CA. The amount of increased ag productivity and acreage increasing in Stan co. this last decade, in the face of a historic housing bubble, show a detachment of paving prime farmland and the increase of agriculture bounty.

    Our biggest limitations of ag productivity are water and land use restrictions. Environmental activists and statists have constricted farming through onerous regulation and expansive interpretations of environmental laws such as the Endangered species act. CA could bring hundreds of thousands of acres into high value agriculture except for the ESA and other restrictions of private property use.

    Groups, such as the American Farmland Trust, that distract from the real limitations on agriculture are ultimately harmful to the industry and to rural communities. In fact, when development easements are combined with habitat easements on private property, neighboring property owners often find themselves pressured by regulators to join them. This decreases agriculture economically.

    Careful the koolaid that you are enticed to. Well meaning and seemingly constructive idealists can lead us away from our industry and enterprise towards an unproductive and economically depressed future for little good and sincere reason.

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