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  • Financial Assistance: The 2002 Farm Security and Rural Investment Act, commonly known as the Farm Bill, authorizes conservation programs to provide financial assistance for agricultural producers to preserve publicly valued land attributes. As noted above, they include FRPP, FLP, and GRP.
  • Research, Education, and Extension: In partnership with the Land-Grant University System, NIFA provides federal assistance and program leadership for research, teaching, education, extension, and outreach activities. NIFA, collaborating with state LGUs, provides science-based local solutions to address locally defined problems. Information on land-use management and policy is also available. Researchers at the USDA’s Economic Research Service (ERS) also conduct economic research on land-use policy issues.

Local and State

Programs at the local and state levels take a seemingly infinite variety of forms. The FIC (Farmland Information Center) has a quick overview of local and state land use and land preservation programs. Examples of statewide PACE programs include California, Maryland, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Vermont. Prominent local programs can be found in Boulder County, Colorado; Montgomery County, Maryland; and Lancaster County, Pennsylvania.

Information about local and state growth management, land-use planning, and agricultural land preservation in general can be found at the AFT, the American Planning Association, the Smart Growth Network, the Sprawl Resource Guide, and the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy.

Information on conservation easements, private conservation and donation, and local land trusts can be found at the LTA. The Farmland Information Center (FIC), a public-private partnership between the USDA and the AFT, also provides comprehensive information on farmland protection and land stewardship. The FIC is available through an electronic library and a staffed answer service (800-370-4879).

Note: This article resulted from a workshop, “What the Public Values About the Farmland,” in November 2003. The workshop was sponsored by Farm Foundation and collaborated with NIFA and the USDA’s Economic Research Service (ERS) and Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS). Complementary information includes an Issue Report and "What the Public Values about Farm and Ranch Land: Workshop Proceedings."


Back to Agricultural Land Preservation in the United States: Fundamental Approaches and Resources