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The Farmland Monitoring Project (FMP) uses data from a variety of sources (see table). The information presented falls into two main cases, public data and user submitted data. All submitted data is either grabbed from existing databases or from individual land owners, farmers and, farmer service providers who opt-in to document characteristics of a farm or property. Below is a more detailed description of the sources of information aggregated to provide context to issues of farmland ownership, access and quality.

Public Data

Parcel data is aggregated from county assessor tax parcel information. These vary widely among counties, but almost always give a parcel ID number (Assessor Parcel Number or APN) and the shape of the parcel in question. Also, the county assessor’s office provides the name of the owner of the parcel as reported the site address, and a mailing address for the assessee (usually the land owner). Sometimes all of this information, and more, is provided via a single request, or through bulk download via a county’s GIS portal.

Other counties release pieces of these data separately and they must be joined later based on the unique parcel ID. Finally, some counties only release the data upon request, and do not offer bulk downloads. In these cases, the FMP relies on third parties who aggregate parcel data for other projects. See the reference table for a list of sources like these.

Soil data is gathered from the California Farmland Mapping and Monitoring Program. These give broad soil characteristics indicating prime and important soils as well as grazing areas and urban land. The date of survey varies by county.

Zoning information is also downloaded from the county assessor’s office. Sometimes the codes have been cross referenced with other government information sites. We strongly recommend cross-referencing the zoning of parcels of interest with other sources as parcels may have multiple layers of legal classifications. However, the FMP hopes to provide a useful first step.

Monterey County Zoning Ordinance:
https://berkeley.box.com/s/jfjc3agmubdp1ld1o4v92qug3zbby84g

Santa Cruz County Zoning Ordinance:
http://www.codepublishing.com/CA/SantaCruz/html/SantaCruz24/SantaCruz2410.html#24.10

San Benito Zoning Ordinance:
http://www.cosb.us/county-departments/building-planning/zoning/#.V4kx8ZMrKuU

Ownership classes is a type of information found in the mapbook page. Based on the name of the owner the parcel is given a ‘type’ of ownership like public versus private, or company versus individual. These classifications are logical but by no means official. They are determined by a string matching function that is destined to have certain errors. For example, if an owner’s name has the phrase ‘limited liability corporation’ this owner is called ‘private’ and then ‘company’. The FMP would love feedback in this regard if the classifications are incorrect they can be adjusted! Nonetheless, they provide a large scale analysis of land ownership patterns.

Cropland Data comes from the USDA Cropscape database. This data source uses satellite imagery to predict the scope and type of agriculture.

Survey Data

Land management of farmlands is a very dynamic dataset. That is why the FMP relies of a ‘crowdsourcing model’ to collect data about existing farms and land that is currently available for sale or for lease. Specifically, the FMP uses Enketo and Ona.io to author mobile or online surveys and then gather all of the responses. We use a custom tool to push the completed set of responses then upload them manually to the mapping application, which is powered by Carto (formally Cartodb).

It Is worth reiterating that when someone submits information via the survey they are asked about the precise location of the farm or parcel in question. This location information is critical to align with the public data available. Therefore, if a landowner is uncomfortable with sharing the location of their farm to a broad audience then they shouldn’t submit their information through this tool. At the same time, one goal of the FMP is to make more public conversations of land ownership of agricultural lands, which have a public and private dimension. Thus, landowners are encouraged to think about sharing information about farmlands they know important information.

Data Description Source Year
Santa Cruz County Parcels Parcel geometries, ownership information, APN number, Assesse Address Santa Cruz County Assessor 2015
Monterey County Parcels Parcel geometries, ownership information, APN number, Assesse Address Monterey County Assessor 2015
San Benito County Parcels Parcel geometries, ownership information, APN number, Assesse Address San Benito County Assessor 2015
Soil Types Broad soil classification California Farmland Monitoring and Mapping Project CAFMMP 2012
Zoning Categories Municipal codes that designate land use County Assessors and other government agencies 2015
Land Availability A whole parcel or part of a parcel that may be available for a new tenant or owner FMP survey ongoing
Conservation Easements Land that has a specific conservation easement on the whole or part of the parcel. Some of these areas restrict California Protected Area Database 2015
Pesticide Application Township Range and annual pounds per acre of pesticide applied within the central coast region CDPR + custom analysis 2014
Select Water District Boundaries Boundaries of water district oversight Santa Cruz County GIS Portal 2014
Survey Data Land quality descriptions, farm names, photos, land rent, water infrastructure etc. FMP survey ongoing
Third Party Parcel Data Parcel ownership information warehouses NPDP, Boundary Solutions 2015
Croplands Polygon imagery of croplands in the Central Coast. USDA NASS 2015

Links

Santa Cruz County Parcels
“http://www.co.santa-cruz.ca.us/Departments/GeographicInformationSystems(GIS).aspx”: http://www.co.santa-cruz.ca.us/Departments/GeographicInformationSystems(GIS).aspx
Monterey County Parcels
“http://www.co.monterey.ca.us/government/departments-a-h/assessor/on-line-services”: http://www.co.monterey.ca.us/government/departments-a-h/assessor/on-line-services
San Benito County Parcels
http://www.cosb.us/county-departments/assessor/#.V4Z72ZMrKuV
Soil Types
http://www.conservation.ca.gov/dlrp/fmmp/products/Pages/DownloadGISdata.aspx
Zoning Categories
See county Assesor GIS Portals
Land Availability
FMP survey: https://qlm81.enketo.org/webform
Conservation Easements
http://www.calands.org/
Pesticide Application
http://calpip.cdpr.ca.gov/main.cfm
Select Water District Boundaries
“Santa Cruz County: https://www.arcgis.com/home/item.html?id=e07763e2553b4340b96835348bd46986”: Santa Cruz County: https://www.arcgis.com/home/item.html?id=e07763e2553b4340b96835348bd46986
Survey Data
FMP survey: https://qlm81.enketo.org/webform
Third Party Parcel Data
“http://www.boundarysolutions.com/BSI/page1.php”: http://www.boundarysolutions.com/BSI/page1.php
Croplands
https://nassgeodata.gmu.edu/CropScape/