The Delta region of California is located at the confluence of the Sacramento and San Joaquin rivers. In addition to the Sacramento and San Joaquin, the Mokelumne, Cosumnes, and Calaveras rivers – and numerous tributaries – deliver approximately half of the state's annual runoff to the San Francisco Bay by way of the Delta (DWR, 2008).
While the region is known colloquially for its waterway configuration, the Delta region is also unique for its fertile soils. The soils range from peat to mineral. The peat soils are the remnants of decomposed tule marshes, and the mineral soils are the result of alluvial deposits from waterways. These soils were reclaimed in the mid- to late-1800's when levees were constructed to contain water within channels, allowing "islands" to be farmed.
The area of the Delta is approximately 738,000 acres (DWR, 2008). The majority of this area – over 500,000 acres – is agricultural land spread over five counties: San Joaquin, Sacramento, Yolo, Solano, and Contra Costa. Food, fiber, and forage are raised on this cropland and pasture.
In 2012, over 100 crops were grown in the Delta. The top crops by acreage were:
- Corn for grain and forage (98,000 acres)
- Alfalfa (72,900)
- Wheat (43,100)
- Wine grape (32,800)
- Processing tomato (28,500)
- Safflower (11,800)
- Asparagus (8,500)
- Almond (8,300)
- Rice (6,900)
- Oat (5,700)
Other important Delta crops are sweet corn, other forages, pear, walnut, dry beans, cherry, barley, and potato. Each of these will be planted on over 3,000 acres. (The acreage was estimated using data from the agricultural commissioners of the five-county Delta region.)
Michelle Leinfelder-Miles, Ph.D Farm Advisor
2101 E. Earhart Ave., Ste. 200 Stockton, CA 95206
(209) 953-6100 firstname.lastname@example.org
Michelle grew up in San Joaquin County, just east of Stockton, where her family has been farming for six generations. She received her B.S. in Crop Science and Management from U.C. Davis and her M.S. and Ph.D. in Horticulture from Cornell University. At Cornell, her research focused on soil management in apple orchards. Michelle has also done research in Spain, Chile, and New Zealand studying olives, wine grapes, and kiwifruit, respectively. As the new Delta crops farm advisor, she will serve San Joaquin, Sacramento, Yolo, Solano, and Contra Costa counties addressing issues related to crop production and water and soil quality.