During the period January through March 2002, the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (VDACS) Office of Farmland Preservation (OFP) sponsored a survey of Virginia farmers, with the intent of determining how many Virginia farmers had plans for the transition of their farm businesses to the next generation of farmers. This survey was part of a larger strategy adopted by the National Farm Transition Network (NFTN) to develop conclusions about the state of farm retirement planning in the United States, Europe and Japan. The survey mechanism used for this study mirrored those used across the United States and in other countries as part of the larger NFTN initiative. The goal of these efforts was to create an international database on farm succession planning from which policy recommendations could be developed to increase opportunities for successful farm business transition.
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.
Viaion California explores the role of land use and transportation investments in meeting the environmental, fiscal, and public health challenges facing California over the coming decades. The project is producing new scenario development and analysis tools to compare physical growth alternatives.
This paper identifies the requirements for "smart" conservation partnerships -- alliances that are necessary and foster cost-effective, durable solutions to key problems. The basic structure and operation of partnerships are discussed, with special attention to the central role of transaction costs in forming and maintaining such alliances. The second section reviews the agricultural conservation policy setting and constructs a concept of policy beyond 2002 based on emerging trends and necessary actions to fill policy gaps. In the third section, the policy implications for building effective public-private conservation partnerships to realize that vision are drawn. A checklist of attributes for "smart" partnerships is offered as a conclusion.
This article discusses how land donations to the Vermont Land Trust have helped new farmers gain access to affordable land.
Most farmland preservation tools in this country are voluntary. This means that the success of farmland preservation programs is in part dependent on the receptivity of farmers to the methods for protecting their land. Given the diversity of farmers throughout the country, these attitudes are likely to vary from place to place. In order to design successful programs and fine−tune their implementation, it is important to understand farmers' perceptions of preservation tools. This study examines the opinions of farmers in one township in central Ohio on recently proposed measures to protect farmland in the state.
Voters approved 66 percent of state and local ballot measures that included funding for farm and ranch land protection in November’s elections. Although the number is down from 2000, it still demonstrates continued, strong support for land conservation throughout the country.
From a speech given at the 11th annual Watershed Workshop in Lincoln, Nebraska.
From a speech given at the National Conference on Water in Washington, DC.
From a speech given at the 22nd annual convention of the Louisiana Association of Soil and Water Conservation District Supervisors.
The metamorphosis of some of the world’s finest farmland into suburban sprawl is one of the longest running and most insidious crises confronting the state of California. Without new land-protection strategies, what happened in the Los Angeles Basin and in what became Silicone Valley will be repeated again and again. The Williamson Act , the preeminent statute protecting California farmland has been a demonstrable success in helping farmers resist development pressure by offering tax relief in return for renewable ten-year farmland conversion restrictions, but critics of the Williamson Act argue that the incentives are easily overwhelmed, that the restrictions are too short-term, and that eligibility criteria are too blind: poorer quality grazing land qualifies just as easily as unique valley soils where high-value specialty crops can be raised. Other farmland protection programs have been quite effective but within very limited spheres of influence. Incentive programs, which had a built in advantage over land protection policies based on restrictiveness, development pressure is so ubiquitous and overwhelming that inventive (and systematic) new protection strategies need to be devised. California’s farms represent more than a $24 billion a year industry producing a quarter or the country’s table food and take on a special importance as open space. Because California’s best farmland is in semi- or starkly arid zones where precipitation is highly seasonal nearly all food crop production depends on irrigation. Thus, the first necessity of any farmer, besides arable land, is a relatively reliable and affordable water supply. While an incentive policy based on water delivery and construction (?) will be controversial and politically charged, if the greater water security for growers comes at a price, the price may be acceptable if the result is selective land protection that benefits farmers and urbanites alike and does not deflect environmental restoration goals. The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation controls the largest single bloc of irrigation water and is the only water provider in California that has an apparent mandate to develop a large amount of new water – water to replace the 800,000 acre-feet rededicated to environmental uses under the Central Valley Project Improvement Act of 1992. Undoubtedly the most far-reaching set of amendments to federal reclamation law since the original Reclamation Act was passed in 1902, CVPIA mandates sweeping changes in water allocation and delivery that affect dozens of contracting water districts and many thousands of farmers. The creation of the CalFed program, designed to promote both ecological restoration and reliability in California’s water supply, however poses an indirect threat to tens of thousands of acres of prime farmland. The impact of CVPIA has fallen unequally on different classes of water uses, the major burden borne by irrigation districts on the west side of the San Joaquin Valley, despite that development pressure is far greater on the east side of the valley.
The central challenge of any CVP-water-based incentive strategy is how to sequester and pay for a lower-cost and/or more reliable water supply. The best approach to water incentives would offer growers a choice between cost abatement and water reliability incentives, or a combination of both. More generous incentives would be earned through longer agreement terms. Using enhanced reliability as an incentive may prove less complex and politically charged than defraying water costs if the Bureau chooses to augment the CVP yield. A Proposed New Approach to Water Delivery for the Bureau of Reclamation seeks to create a Farmland Protection Partnership open to participation and membership, within prescribed limits, by any agricultural landowner receiving full or supplemental water delivery from the CVP operated by the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation.
This report shows how conservation leaders in six watershed-scale projects worked with farmers to implement priority conservation practices and to document the resulting water quality improvements. The report identifies key factors that led to success, including having the right partners to reach and educate farmers and to operate effective water quality monitoring programs.
This report recommends a set of actions that could be taken by USDA, EPA, Congress, charitable foundations, and the corporate supply chain communities to help Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP) projects realize their full potential. If these stakeholders make the program changes, provide the increased funding, and disseminate the technical guidance called for in this report, RCPP project leaders will be able to quantify conservation results, at both watershed and field-scale. Not only will this demonstrate how farmers are good stewards of the land, but it will provide solid evidence that voluntary, incentive-based conservation works.
This survey was conducted by American Viewpoint, an independent market research firm, for American Farmland Trust and The Trust for Public Lands to gauge public opinion in Wayne County, Ohio about a funding initiative for farmland protection.
Vote Intentions and Core Analysis:
Currently 52% of the registered voters in Wayne County say that they would support the measure. At the same time, voters are very fluid, with a majority of voters neither definitely supporting nor definitely opposing this measure. Voters are, therefore, highly persuadable at this time. Turn-out is very difficult to predict from this data, but it is clear that an effective get-out-the-vote effort will be even more critical in this campaign than in most. Once voters are informed of some of the aspects of the proposed measure and what it is meant to accomplish, support rises to 60%, while opposition remains about the same. Voters fall into roughly three categories: Core Supporters (49% of the voters), Core Opponents (23% of the voters) and the Battleground (28%) which will largely determine if this measure passes of fails. The key hesitations that Battleground voters have in supporting this measure are: Don’t want to increase my taxes / Can’t afford it. 23% Need more information / Need to find out more about it. 22% Money won’t be used properly / Money will be wasted 18%. From this it appears that many can be convinced to support this measure.
Weaving the Food Web is a story of California's food system. It traces the efforts of communities across the state to help people put fresh, healthy food on their tables every day. It describes the kinds of relationships among individuals, families, businesses, nonprofit organizations, and government agencies that can make life's most basic necessity accessible at the neighborhood level. And it highlights ways that we, as a state, must align resources, policies, and collective effort to ensure that everybody has the opportunities afforded by food security.
This report contains two parts: an action plan for building a food and farm economy over the next five years, and a "Food Economy Score Card” which allows us to measure collective progress towards the big-picture goals of the action plan.
From a speech given at a panel discussion during the annual meeting of the American Society for Public Administration in Chicago, Illinois.
One of the first questions often asked by farmers and rural landowners in communities considering new zoning ordinances that could limit landowners’ ability to develop their land is “how will this affect my equity?” This is an important question as the land owned by farmers may constitute a significant portion of their personal or farm business assets. It is not uncommon for the sale of a farm to pay for their retirement. Farmland is also often used as collateral for financing farm businesses. For these reasons, new zoning ordinances that could decrease the value of farmland draws close attention. While the specific requirements of these “zoning” laws differ by town, county and state, they generally place significant restrictions on landowners’ ability to develop their property for non agricultural purposes.
From a speech given at the 26th annual convention of the Arizona Association of Soil and Water Conservation Districts in Pheonix, Arizona.