Santa Clara Valley Agricultural Plan


The Santa Clara Valley Agricultural Plan is a regional land use and economic development strategy to support the local food and farming economy and further climate change mitigation and resiliency by preventing conversion of farmland to development.


Santa Clara County has a rich agricultural history and was once recognized as the “Valley of Heart’s Delight” famous for its orchards and canneries. In the past 20 years alone, Santa Clara County has lost 45% of its farmland, and much of the 27,000 acres remaining are at continued risk of conversion as a result of intense land development pressure. Despite this, Southern Santa Clara County retains valuable agricultural lands and an important farming industry, with over 1,000 farms and total economic production value of $1.6 billion dollars.
To protect California’s irreplaceable croplands and rangelands, the State of California launched the Sustainable Agricultural Lands Conservation Program (SALCP) in 2015. The Santa Clara Valley Agricultural Plan is funded in part by SALCP which provides cap and trade funding to protect agricultural lands in order to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to meet California’s climate change goals. In partnership with the cities of San Jose, Morgan Hill, and Gilroy, the Authority and the County are mapping agricultural lands in Santa Clara Valley for conservation and identifying the regional greenhouse gas reduction potential.

The Mission

By linking the state funding with regional efforts by the County, cities, special districts, community organizations, the agricultural community, and those concerned about agricultural preservation, we can ensure a more sustainable future for Santa Clara County by reducing greenhouse gas emissions and increasing climate adaptation by maintaining our agricultural lands and farming economy.

The Santa Clara Valley Agricultural Plan builds upon the studies, plans, and policies that have been produced by the County, cities and private organizations to date to address the future of agriculture and farmland preservation in the County.

Santa Clara Valley Agricultural Plan
Santa Clara Valley Agricultural Plan Appendix
GHG Emissions from Ag Land Conversion to Urban Uses
Visit Santa Clara County's website to learn more about the plan.


  1. Map and prioritize agricultural lands for conservation
  2. Identify the regional greenhouse gas reduction potential of agricultural protection
  3. Bring the County, municipalities, and the agricultural sector together to work in concert for agricultural preservation
  4. Blueprint a Regional Agricultural Conservation Easement Program
  5. Revise the County Zoning Ordinance for additional agricultural preservation