Farmland Protection

Problem

Across the country, counties are losing millions of acres of farmland to urban sprawl each year, resulting in limited crop production and diminished economic growth for these communities who depend on farmland as a primary economic source.

Solution

In 2000, Senator Unger sponsored legislation that created the Voluntary Farmland Protection Act, authorizing county commissions to adopt and implement a farmland protection program and appointing a farmland protection board in order to voluntarily protect agricultural lands from overdevelopment. This act provides a unique opportunity for each participating county to design, implement, fund and administer a Farmland Protection Program that aligns with their particular county’s needs and goals, while outlining state-level guidelines as a resource. The protection of farmland through conservation easements provides many benefits for local communities; the ability to provide a local source of agricultural products; the enhancement of tourism; the preservation of historical and cultural resources; and providing open space for rapidly developing areas while protecting natural resources.