Farmland Monitoring Project

Who owns California’s farmland?

BFI hos­­­­ts the Farmland Monitoring Project, a public mapping resource for farmers seeking farmland and farm support organizations seeking to understand land ownership dynamics in California.

The Farmland Monitoring Project combines land ownership data with other crucial agricultural information like zoning, parcel size, and cropland imagery to provide a database geared towards farmland seekers. Farmers can share their own information about farmland availability and quality to add local knowledge to the spatial database. Planners, researchers, or farm policy organizations can download data to understand who owns the farmland in their area of interest.

The Farmland Monitoring Project is an ongoing resource and research project. We always welcome questions, comments, or individuals who want to get involved. Contact us to learn more.

In summer 2020, Sadie Frank, Geetika Pandya, and Aaron Scherf, recent graduates of UC Berkeley’s Master’s in Development Practice program, are conducting an interdisciplinary assessment of climate vulnerability for local agriculture that includes land ownership data. They are also incorporating systems-level analyses of the vulnerabilities impacting marginalized communities involved in agriculture. Finally, they are updating the code in Farmview to enable greater dissemination of its data among more users.

The Farmland Monitoring Project is a transdisciplinary research initiative of UC Berkeley. Support comes from the Berkeley Food Institute, the Center for Information Technology Research in the Interest of Society, UC Cooperative Extension, CARTO, the D-lab at Berkeley and the Big Ideas Program. Oversight, feedback, and expertise come from the farmers and staff of the Agriculture and Land Based Training Association, and California Farmlink. Research guidance, mentoring, and technical assistance are provided by colleagues at and Brian Pugh of 2ndNature.


The USDA provide a database of croplands in the United sites created by Satellite imagery. This is the USDA NASS Cropscape imagery. This data layer attempts to describe the current extent of land used for agriculture. The above map shows this layer combined with the Farmland Monitoring Projects own analysis of ownership categories. If you look at the layer selector in the right corner, you can see how ownership of cropland varies by different ownership categories. You can also see how farmland ownership is broadly categorized as public and private land. We have broken the ownership categories into corporate, individual, trust, and public. Clicking on a parcel reveals basic ownership information and the number of cropland acres each parcel maintains.