From the Washington Post:
Where grape vines and fruit trees once unfolded to the horizon on the southeast edge of Fresno, some fields have now been paved over and replaced by hundreds of houses with scrawny lawns and small, immature trees.
Farmers, environmentalists and local government officials say more swaths of California’s best agricultural land could be lost to housing tracts and strip malls if the state doesn’t restore funding for its flagship farmland conservation program.
The state had been spending nearly $38 million a year to protect about 16 million acres, but it mostly eliminated that funding starting two years ago because of budget problems. While other states have farmland preservation programs, the issue is more pressing in California because it’s the nation’s largest food producer and agricultural land is being lost an a staggering rate — an average of 50,000 acres a year.
Rapid population growth and high housing prices in major cities have created intense pressure to build.