An excerpt on zoning regulations from the Town of Lima Agricultural and Farmland Protection Plan. The Town of Lima Agricultural and Farmland Protection Plan was funded by a Municipal Planning Grant through the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets. The plan was approved by the Commissioner of Agriculture on May 27, 2010. Agriculture Committee members in Lima chose to complete an in-depth analysis of zoning regulations as a component of the planning for agriculture process and to develop recommendations for more agriculture-friendly zoning laws.
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.
State and local farmland preservation programs have existed throughout the United States since the late 1970s to slow the conversion of agricultural lands to other uses. These programs take two basic forms, either purchase of development rights/purchase of agricultural conservation easements (PDR/PACE), or transfer of development rights (TDR). They result in an easement becoming attached to the agricultural land that restricts the right to convert the land to residential, commercial, and industrial uses. The landowner is provided with a cash payment and/or tax benefit for participation.
Preservation programs are motivated by a number of policy objectives, including: local and national food security; viability of the local agricultural economy; efficient development of urban and rural land; and the protection of rural and environmental amenities (Gardner; Hellerstein et al.; Gale). More than 124 governmental entities in the United States have implemented farmland preservation programs and over 1.67 million acres are now in preserved status at a cost of almost $4 billion (American Farmland Trust 2005a, 2005b). Citizens continue to pass ballot initiatives to generate the funds to purchase easements.
While there is some evidence that preservation programs provide net benefits to society (Feather and Barnard; Duke and Ilvento), little evaluation has beenconducted on their impact on farmland prices or farmland retention. Economic theory predicts that an agricultural easement will reduce the sales price of a farm. Therefore, it was surprising when Nickerson and Lynch, using sales data for 223 farms (20 with easements) in Maryland during 1994–1997, found little evidence that easement restrictions affect sales price.
In this paper, we re-examine the impact of agricultural easements on sales prices, using a substantially expanded data set of 3,554 observations in 22 Maryland counties, including 249 preserved properties over 1997–2003. Maryland has had a variety of state and county agricultural land preservation programs since the late 1970s, with almost 250,000 acres preserved by 2004 in the state Maryland Agricultural Land Preservation Foundation (MALPF) program.1 We analyze the impact of agricultural easements on sales prices, using both hedonic regression and propensity score approaches.
This brochure provides information about the importance of agriculture to Saratoga County.
From a speech given at the USDA ARS Senior Staff Conference in Beltsville, Maryland.
The purpose of this study was to determine which transportation option consumed less fuel and emitted less CO2: farmer delivery or customer pick up of food products for an Iowa Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) enterprise.
In order to perform this study, the following information was obtained from an Iowa CSA farmer: his exact route(s) of delivery (including customers’ addresses), what type of vehicle he used for deliveries, and what location and time of day he would utilize as a central pick-up point for customers if he chose not to deliver. With this information, the farmer’s route mileage was calculated using Mapquest and data from the Bureau of Transportation Statistics and the U. S. Environmental Protection Agency to determine fuel usage and vehicle emissions. The fuel consumption and CO2 emissions were determined for four different vehicle categories: Ford Ranger, Dodge Caravan, Toyota Prius, and U. S. average fuel economy for passenger vehicles. Mileage, fuel consumption, and CO2 emissions also were calculated for customer pick-up using the same method, categories, and references as used for the delivery method.
Assumptions were made concerning the pick-up routes of customers depending upon their place of employment and details provided by the CSA farmer. Findings showed that the delivery option using a Toyota Prius resulted in 2.77 times lower fuel usage and CO2 emissions than the consumer pick-up option using U. S. average fuel economy for passenger vehicles. However, if all the CSA customers who used vehicles for pick-up drove a Toyota Prius, farmer distribution would still be more fuel efficient, but only 1.35 times more than that of customer pick-up
This assessment is the product of collaboration among a unique coalition of governmental, public health, social service, environmental and agricultural experts from throughout San Diego County and is intended to serve as a catalyst for community based policy change. In particular, the goal of this document is to examine the overall viability of the food system in San Diego County and in so doing, to identify key steps necessary to strengthen the foundation for a thriving local food system.
This chapter is part of the Community Food Security Assessment Toolkit, a report which provides a toolkit of standardized measurement tools for assessing various aspects of community food security. This chapter discusses the data needed toconduct an assessment of community food production. To view the complete report see the link below.
The Hudson Valley is home to some of America’s most productive, yet most endangered, farmland. Blessed with good soils and a long growing season, Hudson Valley farms produce a bounty of farm products for urban markets in the Northeast. Yet American Farmland Trust’s 1997 Farming on the Edge study ranked the Hudson Valley the 10th most threatened agricultural region in the country. Many factors have contributed to a steady decline in the region’s agriculture, including relentless development pressure, unpredictable weather and low prices for milk, apples and other farm goods. The challenges to Hudson Valley farmers are great, and some people worry that farming may even disappear from the region during our lifetimes.
However, such dire predictions don’t take into account the great resiliency of many Hudson Valley farmers. Hudson Valley agriculture is seriously threatened, but it is also changing in the face of adversity. Many innovative Hudson Valley producers are taking matters into their own hands by adopting creative farm survival strategies. Some producers utilize farm stands, farmers’ markets, community-supported-agriculture and direct delivery to reach their con-sumers. Other agricultural enterprises have diversified to increase their income. Agriculture must adapt in order to survive, and the good news is that many Hudson Valley farm operators are doing just that.
This study utilized a qualitative methodology, building on existing data to understand key trends in regional agriculture. The study also relied on over 100 individual interviews with farmers, agribusiness owners and others involved in the region’s agricultural industry. Not limited to presenting merely an analysis of data, the study also presents workable recommendations to strengthen Hudson Valley agriculture.
USDA defines beginning farmers as individuals who have been operating a farm for 10 years or less. The 2012 Census of Agriculture provides information about operators’ experience on their current farm, “years on present farm” and, for the first time, “years operating any farm.” Nationwide, the number of beginning farmers (operators with fewer than 10 years of experience on their present farm) has reached a 30-year low. Just between 2007 and 2012, the number of beginners dropped 20 percent to 469,098.
This handout provides talking points on beginning farmer statistics compiled by the Farmland information Center.
USDA programs have targeted assistance to beginning farmers and ranchers since the 1992 Agricultural Credit Improvement Act. Farms or ranches are considered “beginning” if the operators have managed them for 10 years or less. The Economic Research Service has looked at the trend in numbers of beginning farmers and ranchers in recent decades and examined some key characteristics that distinguish them from established farms using the Census of Agriculture and the Agricultural Resource Management Survey. Taken every five years, the Census provides the only source of uniform, comprehensive and impartial agricultural data for every county in the nation.
USDA defines beginning farmers and ranchers as those who have operated a farm or ranch for 10 years or less either as a sole operator or with others who have operated a farm or ranch for 10 years or less. Beginning farmers tend to be younger than established farmers and to operate smaller farms or ranches, some of which may provide no annual production. Beginning farmers often face obstacles getting started, including high startup costs and limited availability of land. USDA—through the Farm Service Agency and the Natural Resources Conservation Service—provides loans and conservation assistance to beginning farmers and ranchers. This report draws on data from annual surveys and the Census of Agriculture to provide policymakers with a better understanding of beginning farmers and ranchers, including how they contribute to U.S. agricultural production
This fact sheet provides basic information about conservation easements. 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.
In Best Development Practices: A Primer, good community development, as distinct from sprawl, is defined in operational terms. Public purposes loom large,though not at the expense of market considerations. Recommendations go to the enlightened edge of current development practice, but not so far beyond as to lose our target audience, the development community. The public purposes pursued though these best practices—among them, affordable housing, energy efficiency, preservation of natural areas, and sense of community—make good business sense.
From a speech given at the annual conference of the South Dakota Chapter, Soil Conservation Society of America, in Aberdeen, South Dakota.
The natural capital in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, provides a robust flow of essential economic goods and services benefits, including food, water, clean air, natural beauty, climatic stability, storm and flood protection, and recreation. Agricultural lands make up over 65% of the ecosystems in Lancaster County, which is the first county in the nation to reach 100,000 acres of preserved farmland. This analysis identified the natural capital from farmland preservation at $676 million in annual economic benefits. If treated like an asset, Lancaster County ecosystems value at $17.5 billion.
Beyond Takings and Givings updates and expands the 1997 publication Saved By Development. Beyond Takings and Givings offers a progress report on most of the 112 TDR programs profiled in the 1997 book plus case studies of 30 additional programs. Beyond Takings and Givings provides a step-by-step guide to creating a TDR program and addresses the most commonly asked questions on this topic. What is TDR? How did TDR evolve? What can TDR accomplish? Where is TDR used? Where has TDR worked best? What are TDR’s success factors? What are TDRs advantages and disadvantages? How does TDR compare with other implementation tools? Why doesn’t everyone use TDR? And, for communities where adoption of a traditional TDR program seems doubtful, Beyond Takings and Givings explains density transfer charges, a tool that reduces the seemingly complex TDR mechanism to a single requirement. Beyond Takings and Givings places TDR within the context of the ongoing property rights debate. Some property rights advocates believe that governments should compensate for regulations that reduce but do not eliminate property value, or “partial takings”. In contrast, some community rights advocates argue that compensation is inappropriate because value reductions are offset by the value increases created by government actions and regulations, often without reimbursement, or “givings”. TDR offers a practical alternative to this stalemate. It recaptures a portion of the extra value created by additional development at TDR receiving sites and uses it to offset value reductions experienced by the owners of sending area land who voluntarily restrict the development potential of their properties.
USDA is not the only federal body influencing what, and how, food is raised and consumed in the United States: many other spheres of governance shape our food system in significant, and sometimes surprising, ways. This report details opportunities for change—and funding—in government agencies other than the USDA that can help create a healthier, more sustainable food system.