It’s all about the water.
As far as agricultural land values, that is.
A new report on the outlook for Kern County ag land values shows water emerging as a major deciding factor in what land is worth, according to Michael Ming, a broker for Alliance Ag Services LLC.
His report shows that, depending on a piece of land’s water source, the value could decline this year by up to 20 percent — or more.
The issue is SGMA, or the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act, passed in 2014 that mandates overdrafted basins such as Kern’s, come into balance by 2040.
That means pumping must be restricted, or more water must be brought in either naturally, through water purchases or via contracts with state and federal agencies.