Agriculture remains the primary land use in the California Delta today. Of the Delta’s 738,000 acres, approximately two thirds, or about 500,000 acres are in agricultural production, producing over 100 different commodities with a combined value of over $500,000,000.
Delta soils are some of the richest and most productive soils in the world because of their river delta origins and high organic content. Today Delta farmers conduct their farming operations on many of the 57 established delta islands as their families have done for as many as seven generations.
Up until the time of the Mendota Canal of 1951 and the State Water Project of 1960 much of California’s produce came from the Delta and along neighboring rivers. The Delta was in essence the heart of California’s agriculture, much like it was hundreds of years ago when Indians lived here. When water from the Delta was diverted to the south, the amount of farmland in the southern part of the Great Central Valley became an order of magnitude greater than the Delta farmland created originally by dredging operations and early settlers.
The California Delta region and its surrounding areas remain state, national and global leaders in the production of certain crops. 25% of California’s wine grapes are produced in the Delta region and the Delta is the nation’s leader in asparagus production.