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San Joaquin Land and Water Strategy

Protecting the Nation’s Leading Farming Region 


Find in-depth information on the work surrounding the San Joaquin Valley Land and Water Strategy.

The San Joaquin Valley is the nation’s agricultural powerhouse with more than 300 crops and livestock products. Water scarcity, changing climate conditions, new regulations, slashed income due to pandemics, and growing populations are just some challenges farmers and ranchers face here. The region is among the state’s fastest growing, with development happening on the highest quality agricultural land. Consider these facts: 

  • Only four in 10 acres of the Valley’s agricultural land is determined to be of the highest quality.  
  • Only 9% of the Valley’s irrigated farmland is high quality and experiencing low-water stress. 
  • As many as 323,000 acres are projected to be converted into low-density urban and rural residential uses by 2050 in the San Joaquin Valley, according to spatial analysis research conducted 2015 to 2018 with AFT and Conservation Biology Institute.  
  • An estimated 55% of the Valley’s high-quality farmland has a high risk of development. 

This level of conversion jeopardizes sustainable food production, economic opportunities, public health, biodiversity, and environmental benefits afforded by well-managed farmland and ranchland.  Learn more. 

That’s why AFT has a direct response and action plan to stem loss of the most productive, versatile, and resilient agricultural land in the Valley. 

With nearly four decades of hands-on work there, AFT is spearheading farmland protection, regenerative agricultural methods, groundwater recharging, and water conservation throughout the region. These efforts will serve as a model for scaling up these programs statewide.   

SJV Conservation Collaborative

Recently, AFT announced a $27 million San Joaquin Valley Conservation Collaborative, which is funded by a $10–million Regional Conservation Partnership Program grant from the USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service, with an additional $17 million coming from various state and local partners. The project will protect critical farmland, soil and water resources throughout the San Joaquin Valley, as well as bring valuable technical resources to agricultural producers of all types, including underserved farmers.

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Project Prioritization Tool

The Project Prioritization Tool (PPT) is a conservation decision-making tool to increase the adoption of water infiltration practices, improve groundwater recharge, and protect agricultural land in the San Joaquin Valley (SJV). SJV stakeholders can use the PPT to select and support projects that have the greatest potential to effectively infiltrate and conserve water.

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