Why Protect Farm Land?

1. AMERICA’S AGRICULTURAL LAND IS AT RISK
It is imperiled by poorly planned development, especially in urban influenced areas, and by the complex forces driving conversion.

 

2. THE FOOD AND FARMING SYSTEM CONTRIBUTES
The U.S. food and farming system contributes nearly $1 trillion to the national economy— or more than 13 percent of the gross domestic product—and employs 17 percent of the labor force.

 

3. FISCAL AND ECONOMIC STABILITY
Saving farmland is an investment in community infrastructure and economic development. It supports local government budgets and the ability to create wealth locally. In addition, distinctive agricultural landscapes are often magnets for tourism.

 

4. ENVIRONMENTAL QUALITY
Well-managed agricultural land supplies important non-market goods and services. Farm and ranch lands provide food and cover for wildlife, help control flooding, protect wetlands and watersheds, and maintain air quality. They can absorb and filter wastewater and provide groundwater recharge. New energy crops even have the potential to replace fossil fuels.

 

5. HERITAGE AND COMMUNITY CHARACTER
To many people, the most compelling reasons for saving farmland are local and personal, and much of the political support for farmland protection is driven by grassroots community efforts. Sometimes the most important qualities are the hardest to quantify—such as local heritage and sense of place. Farm and ranch land maintain scenic, cultural and historic landscapes. Their managed open spaces provide beautiful views and opportunities for hunting and fishing, horseback riding, skiing, dirt-biking and other recreational activities. Farms and ranches create identifiable and unique community character and add to the quality of life. Perhaps it is for these reasons that the contingent valuation studies typically find that people are willing to pay to protect agricultural land from development.

 

Or maybe it’s just as simple as: No farms, No food.

 

Source: American Farmland Trust