Ventura County 2040 General Plan Update When the County SOAR ordinance was passed in 2016, the voters were assured through glossy mailers that the purpose was to “save agriculture” and many were convinced it would be helpful for farmers. But now that the no-growth mandate has been adopted until 2050 countywide, we are seeing less recognition and support for solutions from elected officials on the issues farmers face in the County. Farming and ranching have become significantly more challenging in Ventura County in the last 10 years as growers and grazers have experienced higher labor, water, and regulatory costs. In addition, the industry has been facing cyclical droughts, frost, heat waves, shrinking water resources and in the last year the catastrophic destruction of crops and forage land in the Thomas, Hill and Woolsey fires. The economics of growing crops in Ventura County is rapidly declining. And while the value of local crops has been flat for the past 6 years, the costs to grow and harvest have increased by an alarming average of 34% according to conservative grower statistics. Nearly every cost related to the business of farming has gone up including labor, water, fuel, irrigation systems, fertilizers, pest control, equipment and regulatory compliance. This trend is not economically sustainable in Ventura County. The question is no longer whether farmland will be fallowed, but how much acreage will be taken out of production from increased costs and reduced groundwater allocations and how that will affect our economy and local landscape of Ventura County. The answer will depend to a certain extent on whether County agencies and elected officials truly support agriculture in an updated General Plan. Case study →