This 1997 report contains a recommendation that led to the formation of the Connecticut Food Policy Council.
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.
Since the late 1960s there has been a notable acceleration in America in the demand for rural residential land within commuting range of urban and suburban employment and service opportunities. American rural residential households do not seem to purchase acreage tracts primarily for their `productive', or resource value, however. Instead, they purchase rural land for its `consumptive' or residential value, as its value is primarily derived from the bundle of residential attributes associated with it. Over time, rural land within commuting range of metropolitan areas becomes underproductive and idled –– a situation which precedes urban sprawl. Rural residential development has thus become a focus of debate on the effects and inefficiencies associated with urban sprawl. Yet, not enough is known about the nature of the rural residential land market. It is argued that American rural residential households are different from their suburban and urban counterparts for at least three reasons. First, they are distinguishable for their pursuit of self-sufficiency, self-expression, and the cultural status that a rural residential lifestyle offers. Second, they seek low cost rural jurisdictions in order to afford more housing and land than they could afford in higher cost urban and suburban locations. Third, they value distance from the city center colinearly with externalities such as pollution, crime, overcrowding, and noise associated with central city areas. In the latter sense, American rural residential households value land more highly the farther away it is from the city center, but discount land value the farther away it is from the boundary of urban development. In light of these considerations, this paper (a) reviews the literature describing the motivations of American rural residential households, (b) poses a theory of the American rural residential land market, (c) applies the theory to a case study, and (d) offers implications of the theory to planning efforts aimed at preserving resource land and containing urban sprawl.
American Farmland Trust (AFT), the nation’s premier agricultural land conservation organization, and The U.S. Conference of Mayors (USCM), the official organization representing the interests of the largest cities in the United States, have joined together to address the problems – urban, rural and suburban – associated with sprawl. Their mutual goal is to promote growth and development that uses land and existing infrastructure more efficiently; that relies more on public transportation and less on the auto; that conserves farmland and strengthens agriculture; and that results in communities that are safe, diverse, pleasant places to live and work. Toward that end, AFT and USCM co-sponsored a series of forums to bring together urban and rural leaders – many for the first time – to discuss land use issues facing their communities. These discussions focused on how “smarter growth” could help improve and maintain the quality of life of the people living in their communities.
The purpose of this study is to show the breakdown of revenues generated and expenses incurred by land use type (Residential, Commercial and Agriculture/Forest/Open Space). The base year of 1993 was chosen because it was the most current year for which all the necessary information could be gathered. Initially the analysis shows that agriculture/forest/open space lands create the least burden on the taxpayers, while residential lands create the most.
A Build-Out Analysis is a valuable tool to help a community understand the impacts of development based on current land use regulations. Once a community understands these implications and has a clear vision for its future, it can determine if current regulations meet their needs or if alternatives should be investigated and additional steps taken to address their goals.
The Cost of Community Services Study is a tool used to demonstrate the cost to provide town services on a land use basis. The American Farmland Trust developed the model 15 years ago, and it has been used across the country to evaluate the differences between revenue generated and services required by specific land uses.
In 2007, the town of Lebanon, Connecticut, undertook a build-out analysis to understand the impacts of development based on current land use regulation, inlcuding the fiscal impact of this development. The study determines that in 10 years, with a 10 percent growth rate, the town would need to increase taxes to cover an additional $2.2 million to community services required by new growth.
Transfer of development rights (TDR) programs enable the transfer of development potential from one parcel of land to another. TDR programs are typically established by local zoning ordinances. In the context of farmland protection, TDR is often used to shift development from agricultural land to designated growth zones located closer to municipal services. TDR is also known as transfer of development credits (TDC) and transferable development units (TDU). This fact sheet provides basic information about TDR programs and tracks the amount of agricultural land protected by TDR programs nationwide.
Private ownership of land in the United States comes with a bundle of rights and responsibilities. The bundle of rights usually includes the right to subdivide and develop the land. However, this right can sometimes be inconsistent with other social objectives, such as provision of wildlife habitat, preservation of farmland or certain ecological resources, protection of historically significant areas and scenic views, and prevention of development on highly erodible slopes or in difficult soils.
Regulating private land uses to achieve these social objectives generally falls to local governments. Local governments in the United States regulate in a variety of ways, but the primary instrument is zoning laws, which establish the allowable uses on particular parcels of land and the intensity of those uses. One planning tool that can be used in combination with zoning is a system of transferable development rights. Tdrs allow ownership of the development rights on a privately owned parcel of land to be separated from ownership of the parcel itself. These rights can then be transferred from that property to another in a different location. Having transferred the development rights, the landowner is restricted from developing his land, usually by means of a conservation easement or restrictive covenant. The person to whom the rights are transferred— in most cases a real estate developer—uses them to develop another piece of property more intensively than allowed by its baseline zoning.
TDRs sound relatively simple in concept—development is transferred from one location to another—but they have often been difficult to implement effectively in practice. Among the approximately 140 tdr programs in existence in the United States, program designs differ greatly, and the results have varied from virtually no transfers at all (and thus no land protected from development) to preservation of 49,000 acres.
In this report, the authors carry out detailed case studies of 10 programs. The programs include five in Maryland (Calvert, Montgomery, Queen Anne’s, St Mary’s, and Charles counties), two in Florida (Collier and Sarasota counties), and programs in Malibu, California; King County, Washington; and Chesterfield Township, New Jersey. They focus on a range of land use goals, including farmland preservation, prevention of development on environmentally sensitive lands, and curtailing of sprawl. Some have been effective and have preserved or protected land as intended, but others have not lived up to expectations. Their experience to date and the evolution of programs and innovative ideas provide useful lessons for other jurisdictions considering the use of tdrs. For each program, we describe its genesis, features, and outcomes, and we evaluate the program design and assess reasons for success or failure.
The purpose of this booklet is to provide farm families with information and ideas to consider as they evaluate their own situations and embark on their own transfer processes. The booklet features 10 real-life farm transfer case profiles that describe the successes, challenges, resources and learning experiences of New Jersey farm families.
An important goal for many Montana farm/ranch family enterprises is transferring land and business to the next generation. The process is challenging because it includes a complex web of economic, legal, and family social decisions. Often taxes and legal decisions become the focus of attention while the family’s social decisions about succession planning are ignored. Or, individuals assume that any problems, disagreements or differences among family members regarding succession will be worked out when the legal and tax processes are in order. Serious problems can arise for both the younger and older generations however, if the transfer and succession processes never begin. Often families avoid planning because they do not want to deal with the conflict that arises because of the differences among members regarding goals, values and perceptions of fairness and equity. This publication emphasizes the interdependence of the family and the business rather than viewing them as two separate entities, because transfer planning and succession planning are important to both.
From a speech given at a meeting of Soil Conservation Service State Conservationists in Fort Worth, Texas.
The impact of sprawl on the loss of farmland, coupled with Delaware’s
recent growth in population and land consumption, prompted the Delaware Department of Agriculture to ask American Farmland Trust (AFT) to research historic and recent trends in the state’s growth and capital spending.
AFT compared Delaware’s development patterns and capital spending every 10 years from 1900 to 1970, and for selected years between 1974 and 2002, to identify connections between increasing growth, state spending and land consumption, particularly in the years following World War II. Delaware agencies, such as the Executive Budget Office, the Division of Accounting, the State Archives and the Office of State Planning Coordination provided data for the study.
AFT’s analysis focused on population; total housing units; land use and land cover; acres of land consumed per housing unit; state capital spending, including cash expenditures and bonded debt; and spending for school bus transportation. AFT grouped these into three areas: Population and Housing, Land Use and Land Consumption, and State Spending. This report summarizes those trends and major findings from the research.
This report provides an overview of local and regional food systems across several dimensions. It details the latest economic information on local food producers, consumers, and policy, relying on findings from several national surveys and a synthesis of recent literature to assess the current size of and recent trends in local and regional food systems. Data are presented on producer characteristics, survival rates and growth, and prices. The local food literature on consumer willingness to pay, environmental impacts, food safety regulations, and local economic impacts is synthesized when nationally representative data are unavailable. Finally, this report provides an overview of Federal and selected State and regional policies designed to support local food systems and collaboration among market participants.
Politicians, agricultural groups and other interested parties are once again in the midst of an important re-examination of American agricultural policy and its future direction. In anticipation of the 2007 Farm Bill the issues are being discussed in the media and in numerous meetings. The need to renew farm support legislation every few years gives an opportunity to rethink the rationale for a Farm Bill and the focus of such a bill. This edited volume contributes to this unfolding process.
The first 200 hundred years of federal farm policy can be roughly divided into four periods that overlap through decades of debate and transition. The first period, generally 1785-1890, was marked by expansion and development and policies that led to widespread access to land for farming. As this expansion continued into the second phase of land policy, farmers and county agricultural societies asked for education and research to advance productivity. Farmers in the East and South suffered from competition with the new, fertile lands in the West and considered the Federal government partially responsible. During this era the government established the U.S. Department of Agriculture and authorized a national system of agricultural colleges. The continuing industrialization of the nation, combined with natural disasters, caused farmers in the early part of the century to turn to the Federal government for new kinds of support in the form of regulations, as in the West and South, and improved market access. After the Depression, farmers received the price supports they had wanted during these years of overproduction. The combination of price supports and supply management functioned as the essential outline of Federal farm policy from 1933 to 1996. All of these policies have been rooted in attempts to ensure opportunities for individuals and families to make a living at farming.
From a speech given at a Farmland Preservation Conference in Weston, West Virginia.
From a speech given at the annual meeting of the Colorado Association of Soil Conservation Districts in Denver, Colorado.