What Is Farmland Preservation And How Does It Work?

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Farmland preservation refers to the proactive effort to protect agricultural land from being converted to non-agricultural uses.

It involves implementing strategies and policies to maintain the viability and integrity of farmland for agricultural purposes.

The goal of farmland preservation is to safeguard agricultural resources, promote sustainable food production, preserve rural landscapes, and support farming communities.

Here are some common approaches to farmland preservation.

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1. Agricultural Zoning

Establishing zoning regulations that designate certain areas as agricultural zones, where agricultural activities are prioritized and non-farming uses are restricted or regulated.

2. Purchase of Development Rights (PDR)

PDR programs involve compensating farmers for voluntarily relinquishing their development rights, which means they agree not to convert their land for non-agricultural purposes.

In exchange, the farmers receive financial compensation while retaining ownership and continuing to farm the land.

3. Agricultural Conservation Easements

These legal agreements between landowners and conservation organizations or government agencies limit the use of the land to agricultural activities in perpetuity.

Easements can restrict future development, subdivision, or non-agricultural uses while allowing agricultural practices to continue.

4. Agricultural Land Trusts

Non-profit organizations or government agencies may establish agricultural land trusts to acquire and hold farmland for agricultural use.

These trusts ensure that the land remains available for farming and can provide long-term leases to farmers.

5. Tax Incentives

Governments may offer tax incentives, such as reduced property taxes or income tax credits, to landowners who commit to keeping their land in agricultural production for a specified period.

6. Comprehensive Planning

Incorporating farmland preservation into comprehensive land-use planning can ensure that agricultural lands are considered in regional or local development plans.

This can involve identifying prime agricultural areas, setting growth boundaries, and promoting compatible land uses that support farming.

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