There's a new report from American Farmland Trust (AFT) on sprawl (including "ranchettes") and the loss of California farmland.
From the AFT website:
"One out of every six acres developed in California since the Gold Rush was paved over between 1990 and 2004, concludes a new AFT report, Paving Paradise: A New Perspective on California Farmland Conversion. In all, more than a half million acres were urbanized during this period, almost two-thirds of it agricultural land. Among AFTs other findings: More than 60% of the land developed in the San Joaquin Valley, which accounts for half of Californias agricultural production, was farmland of the very best quality. Statewide, development is consuming an acre of land for every 9.4 people imagine them spread out over a football field. If sprawling development patterns continue, another 2 million acres of California land will be paved over by 2050. If, however, the
state as a whole develops land as efficiently as Sacramento County or the Bay Area did in recent years, a million acres of Californias irreplaceable farmland could be saved."
You can download the report here: http://www.farmland.org/programs/states/ca/Feature%20Stories/PavingParadise.asp