The Williamson Act at 40

Despite legislators’ best efforts, in the last 20 years the state has lost 1.1 million acres of farm land to development throughout California, an amount about the size of Sonoma County. The conversion rate each year is three-tenths of 1 percent of the state’s 30 million acres of farm land and ranch land, this according to semi-retired UC Davis professor Al Sokolow, who studies the subject. Because the loss of farm land is so small a fraction of the whole, experts believe that California isn’t facing a crisis. Still, a disproportionate amount of what disappears every year is considered prime farm land in the nation’s premier agricultural state.
“In California we do have relatively effective land-use policies and programs

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