Reason Foundation

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Reason Foundation

The Vanishing Farmland Myth and the Smart-growth Agenda

Samuel Staley
January 1, 2000

Executive Summary

Contrary to conventional wisdom, urbanization is not significantly threatening national farmland or agricultural productivity:

While urbanization does not significantly threaten the nation’s agricultural industry, current public policies tend to encourage the inefficient conversion of land to non-agricultural uses. Several market-oriented policy reforms can address land development issues and promote farmland preservation, including:

These market-oriented strategies should strengthen the agricultural industry, help maintain productive farmland, and increase the preservation of open space while also preserving the dynamic ability of the real-estate market to determine when and how farmland should be converted to other uses.


Samuel Staley is Research Fellow

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