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Ag land values benefit from groundwater recharge, runoff

Photo: Fresno Irrigation District General Manager Bill Stretch continues a management acumen of groundwater recharge borne from his predecessor. Agricultural values in the district tend to be among the highest in the San Joaquin Valley because of the dual sources of irrigation water. Todd Fitchette

Groundwater recharge efforts in Fresno Irrigation District (FID) could be one of the reasons the region tends to command higher farmland values than neighboring areas. The district’s rights to Sierra runoff certainly helps.

The 2023 Trends Report, published by the California Chapter, American Society of Farm Managers and Rural Appraisers, reported earlier this year that FID permanent cropland values last year climbed to $48,000 per acre for good quality, young tree nut orchards. This compares to a ceiling of $25,000 for non-FID almond property in Fresno and Madera counties.

By comparison, the top value statewide for almonds in an irrigation district was about $55,000 in northern Stanislaus and southern San Joaquin counties.

Record runoff

This year’s record runoff has surely commanded attention throughout the state. The Kings and San Joaquin River watersheds in the southern Sierra Nevada have never had more snow and water availability in recorded history. For Fresno Irrigation District, that means this irrigation […]

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