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Report: County lost 37,000 acres of farmland from 2002-06

Between the years 2004 and 2006, Merced County lost a total of 23,010 acres of farmland to urbanization.

That’s a lot of food that is no longer being produced in the county.

“This state is on a mission to be insolvent because of its land use and growth decisions,” said Diana Westmoreland Pedrozo, executive director of the Merced County Farm Bureau.

But while acres of prime farmland are being lost, many acres in the county are also being put into agriculture land conservation trusts.

A report by the California Department of Conservation showed that along with the 23,010 acres lost between 2004 and 2006, an additional 14,016 acres were lost to urbanization between 2002 and 2004.

Merced has seen a huge growth spurt in the past six years, with about 10 percent of the more than 1 million acres being used for farming in the county converted to homes and development. The county has a total of about 1.2 million acres.