Farming creates jobs, contributes to the global food supply and increasingly provides fresh produce for local markets. It also helps to shape a state's character.
When agricultural land is converted to development, residents must obtain their food from more distant sources, agriculture industries suffer, open space disappears and communities often lose a sense of where they came from and who they are. The change also can place a burden on local and state governments. New land uses require new infrastructure, and developed land — particularly housing — tends to demand more services than farms do.
This section offers policy ideas that can help preserve farmland, so that agriculture continues to be a source of community stability, economic vitality and environmental sustainability for generations to come. Specifically, we discuss strategies to keep farmland in production, to reduce development pressure and to support conservation.
- Protect farmland by coordinating state spending and permitting decisions
- Establish a program for purchase of agricultural conservation easements
- Provide grants to develop Farmland Protection Plans
- Establish an agricultural district program
- Help localities adopt right-to-farm ordinances
- Help localities adopt zoning codes that support agricultural tourism
- Establish direct marketing and institutional purchasing programs
- Establish an Agricultural Viability Program