Protecting Farmland at the Fringe: Do Regulations Work?

There is intense competition for open land at the fringe of metropolitan areas across the United States. Counties, towns and municipalities have tried many different programs and laws to guide the pattern of development. Additionally, all 50 states have enacted farmland protection programs with some combination of tax incentives, development rights acquisition and regulation, to protect farmland in the face of urban pressure. Each mix of policy instruments implies a different distribution of both benefit and burden to achieve the stated public purpose.

To address these issues, Farm Foundation cosponsored a Sept. 5-7, 2001, conference in Baltimore, Md. “Protecting Farmland at the Fringe: Do Regulations Work?” focused attention to a particular category of land use policy methods–regulation. Keynote speakers addressed rural zoning, right to farm laws and ?smart growth? regulations. Additional sessions provided greater detail about a particular state or local program in each category. There were overview presentations on measuring the performance of alternative land use approaches, evidence of acceptability of exclusive agricultural zoning and how combinations of techniques work together. A research agenda was also produced to strengthen current research efforts.

A summary publication, Protecting Farmland at the Fringe: Do Regulations Work?, is available here.

This conference was sponsored by: American Planning Association; Center for Agricultural and Resource Policy; Farm Foundation; National Center for Smart Growth Research and Education; Maryland Center for Agro-Ecology, Inc;. Maryland Department of Agriculture/Maryland Agricultural Land Preservation Foundation; Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development; Maryland Department of Natural Resources; Natural Resource Conservation Service; North Central Regional Center for Rural Development; Northeast Regional Center for Rural Development; Southern Rural Development Center; Western Rural Development Center; U.S. Department of Agriculture, National Research Initiative; C. William Swank Program in Rural-Urban Policy, Ohio State University.

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