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Planning for Agriculture --the Land that Sustains Us American Planning Association - IL Normal, Illinois September 22, 2010 Anita Zurbrugg

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Presentation on theme: "Planning for Agriculture --the Land that Sustains Us American Planning Association - IL Normal, Illinois September 22, 2010 Anita Zurbrugg"— Presentation transcript:

1 Planning for Agriculture --the Land that Sustains Us American Planning Association - IL Normal, Illinois September 22, 2010 Anita Zurbrugg

2 American Farmland Trust?  National nonprofit public policy organization  Founded in 1980 by farmers and conservationists  Mission: to help farmers and ranchers protect their land, produce a healthier environment and build successful communities

3 We Keep Losing Farmland

4 Our Best Farmland Is Most Threatened  Sprawl consumes 1 million acres of farmland every year That’s 2 acres every minute of every day  We’re losing our best quality farmland fastest  We already need 13 million more acres of fruit and vegetables to meet dietary guidelines

5 We Keep Losing Farmers It’s not farmland…. without farmers.

6 We’re Farming on the Edge What is so different about farming in a transitioning urban edge environment?

7 Farming on the Edge Farmers in urban edge communities face pressures from development  May disinvest in their enterprises due to perceived impermanence of agriculture  May find their operations becoming fragmented by development  Compromised drainage  Reduced maneuverability and transportation

8 Farming on the Edge Farmers facing development pressure often have a hard time holding on to the land they have been farming  The land is worth significantly more than their business enterprise  Land costs (taxes and mortgages) may prevent purchases of land or competitive rents  Landowners have no or limited options other than to sell because their land is their retirement plan

9 New Residents Don’t “Get” Farming  Ex-urbanites may want the view but not the commercial realities of agriculture  Noise, dust, odors, slow moving vehicles  They complain, vandalize and sue...  But with the right conditions, can adapt to these pressures

10 Planning for Agriculture VIABLE & SUSTAINABLE AGRICULTURE Maintain Community’s Culture Protect the Land Base Environmental Stewardship AG Economic Development Transition to Next Generation

11 Tools of the Trade: Local Incentives  Agricultural districts (voluntary)  Purchase of development rights (PDR)  Transfer of development rights (TDR)  Current Use Taxation  Nuisance protections – Right to Farm  Ag economic development  Conservation programs

12 Tools of the Trade: Development Regs  Urban growth boundaries / service areas  Agricultural protection zoning  Cluster development/conservation zoning to buffer new developments  Public infrastructure location / funding (roads, sewer, water …)  Standards for farm labor housing

13 Tools of the Trade: Ag Development  Staffed ag economic development office  Farmers markets – on farm direct marketing – Buy Local campaigns  Investments in local farm and food system infrastructure (logistics)  Farmer training programs  Ag commissions/councils/

14 Planning for Agriculture Where to start?  Know what you have  Know what you want

15 Much of Our Food Grows in Urbanizing Areas

16 Voters in urban edge communities value farming  Quality of life  Scenic amenities  Sense of place  Community appreciation of farms  Tourist appreciation Rural Amenities

17 Ecosystem Services  Wildlife habitat: food and cover  Carbon sequestration  Water quality:  erosion control  storm water management  floodplains  groundwater recharge  wastewater filters  wellhead protection

18 Research Findings Surveyed farm operator-owners were more likely to express a bright or modest future for agriculture in their community if they: had a succession plan for ownership and management in place were at least moderately satisfied with their market profitability and competitiveness believed local government was even-handed in farmer/non-farmer conflicts

19 Farm operators in several studied counties indicated supply of labor is a factor in shaping their expectation about “farming in the county 10 years from now”: Farmer more likely to stay in farming if sufficient:  seasonal labor  year-round labor  family labor  agriculture labor Supply of Labor

20 Owners tended to be more positive about the future of agriculture in their county 20 years into the future if they considered the following public policies effective:  Basing property tax assessments on agricultural use rather than real estate market value  Right-to-farm legislation for protecting farmers from unfair nuisance complaints  Local government zoning to slow the conversion of agricultural land  Public purchase of development rights to agricultural land Effectiveness of Public Policies

21 Local Programs - Zoning “The future for agriculture in DeKalb County is bright – as long as we keep our zoning in place that we have now, and make sure that the growth population comes in a structured manner, adjacent to the urban centers, and that we don’t allow housing to be built scattered all over the county on small parcels…..”

22 Local Programs - Markets “Our customers are demanding locally grown eggs, cheeses and meats. We would like to offer them for sale, but complying with the county health dept is a challenge – because of the refrigeration requirements. The state would allow them, but [our] county does not because it currently requires a weekly re-certification of a licensed truck refrigeration. If this regulation could be changed to accommodate our farmers it could help our market a great deal. Director of a local farmers market in an Illinois County

23 How We Work  Ensure a transparent process  Actively engage communities  Really listen to farmers  Conduct research on:  Cost of community services  Ag and demographic trends  Land use conditions  Policy framework  Focus on the community but bring national perspective

24 We Find Ways to Create Balance  …between needs for growth and development with conservation and ag economic development  Combining development “in the right places” with protection of green infrastructure: working lands, natural areas and open space  Addressing economic and environmental issues related to working lands – especially farmland

25 Lancaster County, Pennsylvania  Located 40 miles west of Philadelphia  ~ 500,000 population  60 municipalities:  Largest = Lancaster City  Smallest = Christiana Borough

26 Lancaster County Background  Too urban to receive USDA rural development funding  Famous for “Plain Sect” communities: Amish mostly and Mennonites  On World Monument Watch List of 100 most endangered historical and cultural sites due to development pressures

27 High Quality Agricultural Soils County Soils  50% Prime  25% Statewide Important

28 Farming is the Leading Economic Activity  63% of the land base  20% of County jobs  11% of the County’s economic output

29 County Development Patterns  26% of Lancaster County is developed  45% of development is inside Growth Areas  55% is outside original Growth Areas

30 Recent Development Trends From 1994-2002 ~ 18,000 new housing units constructed  76% were built inside Urban Growth Areas BUT  The 24% of units built outside of UGAs consumed 60% of the land developed

31 Smart Growth Framework

32 Agricultural Strategy  Integral to the Growth Management Update  More than land use or landscape  Local ag economic development was key

33 Smart Growth Toolbox  Limit major public investments to UGAs  Apply a variety of land use regulations  Mixed-use zoning in urban growth areas  Agricultural protection zoning in farming areas  Transfer of Development Rights (TDR)  Investment Programs  Make grants to reinvest in older urban areas  Purchase development rights on farmland  Agricultural Development  Comprehensive agriculture viability element  “Green Infrastructure” component to protect natural resources and open space

34 County/Township Collaboration Major Elements Included:  Funding for PDR  Reduce scattered development with zoning  County support for township TDR  Agricultural economic development

35 The Key Was: Plan for Agriculture It takes farmer and community involvement And a comprehensive plan that addresses:  Land  Labor  Logistics  Local Policies To sustain agriculture in urbanizing areas

36 Planning for Agriculture Protecting farmland is critical, but we can’t stop there…. local farmland local farm operations AND local farmers

37 AFT Can Help Farmland Information Center (800) 370 – 4879 Sign up for AFT’s free e-newsletters Thank You !

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