This fact sheet provides statistics about agricultural landowners and women operators in the U.S.
Welcome to the literature area of the FIC Web site. Here you will find a collection of articles, books, fact sheets and technical memos, reports and studies related to saving farm and ranch land and supporting agriculture. You can filter by state, topic and/or type of document ("category"). Use the Search feature to conduct a more refined search.
This report attempts to answer questions asked by the community of Missoula County, Montana, including: how well different types of mitigation are working on the ground; how to calculate a value for conserved lands; how to ensure responsible management of conserved lands; and how mitigation works alongside voluntary land protection measures. The Land Use & Natural Resources Clinic at the has gathered information from seven western communities engaged in regulatory protection of agricultural lands. The subject communities use a variety of approaches from land acquisitions or set asides, to fees‐in‐lieu, to a blending of these tools. We attempted to gather information that speaks to the questions currently raised by Missoula County stakeholders, and we sought input from various stakeholder perspectives such as local planners or officials, land trusts, agricultural interests, and developer interests.
The goal of this report is to provide a range of examples from communities that have taken action to conserve agricultural lands. The examples highlighted in this report are inextricably linked to the circumstances unique to the economy, climate, population density, agricultural capacity, etc. of each individual community. Not all of the strategies or techniques provided in this report are applicable to, or feasible for, Missoula County. However, by taking into account the many perspectives and the advice provided by different stakeholders in communities that are undergoing this type of effort, Missoula County is better situated to move forward in tailoring subdivision regulations that adequately address the requirements of Mont. Code Ann. § 76-3-608(3). This report supplements an earlier clinic report entitled Agricultural Protection in Montana: Local Planning, Regulation, and Incentives.
The State of Montana has a unique constitutional provision that reflects our state’s agricultural heritage, requiring that the Montana Legislature “protect, enhance, and develop all of agriculture.” The Montana Code is filled with a myriad of legislative enactments aimed at this very goal, including provisions in our planning and subdivision statutes. Within the parameters of these statutes, local governments work on the difficult task of shaping development opportunities while protecting valuable agricultural lands and heritage.
This report starts by explaining that local governments are both required and empowered by state law to mitigate impacts to agriculture during subdivision review. This report also recognizes that a robust agricultural protection program must include incentives that can be used alongside mandatory agricultural mitigation.
Congress is currently considering a new multi-year farm bill to govern U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) programs, including those in the Department's Research, Extension, and Economics (REE) mission area. The administration, the land grant university system, and a congressionally authorized task force have put forth proposals to make major changes to the structure of the REE mission areal. The farm bill research title that the House Agriculture Subcommittee on Conservation, Credit, Energy and Research approved in May 2007 reflects some aspects of these proposals in that it calls for unified annual budget for the REE agencies, establishes an Agricultural Research Institute to help coordinate intramural and extramural research and extension activities, and creates a National Institutre for Food and Agriculture, supported by mandatory funds, to administer all competitive grants. The report will be updated as the 2007 farm bill progresses.
The sustainability of American agriculture begins with the land. Farmland closest to our cities and towns is among the nation’s most productive and important for a variety of economic, environmental and aesthetic reasons. The sustainability of the nation’s agriculture is being progressively compromised as this land is lost to sprawling development. The rate of farmland loss is accelerating as public policies exaggerate the competitive edge that development has over agriculture. Federal farm policy, in particular, does little to help farmers in urban-influenced areas. States and local communities are leaders in adopting innovative approaches to farmland protection as an integral smart growth strategy. But their efforts suffer from too little investment and a lack of the political will to regulate sprawl. Successful farmland protection programs exist, however, that combine substantial financial incentives to landowners with effective land use regulation. Funders can help sustain agriculture in urban- influenced areas by encouraging more of these "hybrid" programs. Changes in national agricultural policy are also needed that both recognize the important contribution of urban-influenced farms to American agriculture and retain these lands in agriculture as a critical bulwark against the spread of urban sprawl.
In response to challenges to Suisun Valley’s agricultural industry, the County of Solano (the County) with financial support of the Suisun Valley Fund (the Fund), a joint venture of the City of Fairfield and Solano Irrigation District (SID), hired American Farmland Trust (AFT) to help the farm community articulate a vision of agriculture and identify ways to achieve that vision. Toward that end, AFT facilitated a nine-month long, farmer-driven public input process, including individual meetings and two listening sessions; researched and wrote 10 case studies based on successful models from around the country; and developed a strategic outline for implementing recommendations on how to sustain and enhance agriculture in the Suisun Valley. This work will contribute to the University of California, Davis (UCD), project, Solano County Agricultural Futures: An Economic Focus, which is assessing the future of agriculture for the entire county. It is hoped that both the AFT and UCD reports will become integral to the development of a General Plan Update for Solano County now in progress.
Material for a panel discussion of the Western Region District Conference of the National Association of County Planning Directors in Palm Springs, California.
American farmers face economic constraints in producing their crops, public pressure to produce safe foods, and environmental concerns over soil erosion and water quality and protection of wildlife habitats. The overall objective of this study was to provide information that would help strengthen public and private programs for achieving more economical use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides. For this purpose, almost 500 farmers in five diverse parts of the country were interviewed during 1989 about their current farming practices and their opinions regarding proposed policies for promoting practices that economize on chemical inputs.
Although actual urbanized area accounts for only 2.9 percent of the U.S. land base, urban influence affects about 17 percent of the Nation's agricultural land. Local, State, and Federal governments have increased their efforts toward preserving agricultural lands and their associated rural amenities.
The United States Environmental Protection Agency now considers pollution from all diffuse sources to be the most important source of contamination in the nation's waters (USEPA, 1997). These pollutants cause dramatic changes in hydrology and water quality that result in a variety of problems. Hydrologic impact due to urbanization is reported to cause water quality problems such as sedimentation, increases temperatures, habitat changes, and loss of fish population. There is widespread recognition that these problems are caused by increased runoff volumes and velocities from urbanization and associated increases in watershed imperviousness. Imperviousness represents the imprint of land development on the landscape. The second aspect of urbanization that contributes to urban stormwater pollution is the increased discharge of pollutants. Oil, grease, landscape practices, construction, illicit connection, leaking sanitary sewers and countless other aspects of daily life in urban areas contribute to polluted runoff (NRDC, 1999, Chap. 2). The degradation caused by urban stormwater pollution is serious, and affects a significant proportion of the nation's population. The most dramatic consequence of increases in the volume and rate of stormwater runoff is flooding, property damage and erosion.
With the spread of development and intensified agricultural practices across watersheds, pollutant runoff, nonpoint source pollution and unmanaged development have become the greatest threats to drinking water sources (TPL, 1997, p.5). From small towns to big cities to entire states, there is a growing recognition that land conservation may be the best and cheapest way to guarantee drinking water supplies. Watershed development does not necessarily have to be synonymous with the degradation of aquatic resources. When new growth is managed in a watershed context, homes and businesses can be located and designed to have the smallest possible impact on streams, lakes, wetlands and estuaries. In the watershed protection approach, communities can apply basic tools that guide where and how new development occurs. Watershed planning has provided several municipalities the opportunity to consider all the resources in the watershed as a single, interrelated system.
The future of agriculture in the Sacramento region (El Dorado, Placer, Sacramento, Sutter, Yolo and Yuba counties) is being shaped by trends in land use, in agricultural markets and in technology. These issues were the theme of the February 14, 2000 forum, “Agriculture in the Sacramento Region,” sponsored by the UC Agricultural Issues Center and the Green Valley Initiative (a coalition of business, agricultural and environmental interests organized to promote open space conservation in the Sacramento region). In preparation for the conference, AIC research produced a statistical “portrait” of the region’s agriculture. That report, updated as a result of the conference, constitutes Chapters 1-4 of this publication. Chapter 5 takes a different, and less statistical, approach, summarizing the context contributed by speakers at the forum. Those quoted include scientists, economists, resource agency managers and, not least, farmers and ranchers speaking for important sectors of agriculture in the Sacramento region. The information presented in these chapters is useful for any informed discussion of the fate of farmland and open space in the lower Sacramento Valley.
Alameda County Planning Department staff surveyed eleven other counties in the state to obtain a sampling of how these jurisdictions regulate wineries. The attached matrix contains the results of the survey.
This fact sheet, translated here in Spanish, provides basic information about leasing farmland. It is one in a collection of fact sheets produced as part of American Farmland Trust's Farmland Advisors project which created and trained a network of 80 professionals to provide guidance to farmers and farmland owners. Topics include: transitioning land to the next generation, finding a farmer to work the land, and matching farm seekers with farm owners.