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"Now that we have a plan for Saratoga County, farmers are more optimistic that there's a future for agriculture here, and non-farmers understand that it is important to plan for agriculture. AFT's expertise was invaluable in developing this strategy."
- Isabel Prescott
Saratoga County, N.Y. farmer/former Agricultural and Farmland Protection Board member
Planning for Agriculture
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Community planning is not complete without a plan for agriculture. Planning establishes a framework for an economically and environmentally sustainable agricultural industry. An effective plan includes land use policies and programs to keep land available and affordable for farming, economic development tools to improve profitability and conservation practices to keep the land healthy.

crop sceneA plan with the following elements will help support local farmers, protect natural resources and preserve important landscapes.

  • Land Use Policies and Programs: Purchase of development rights, transfer of development rights, agricultural districts, zoning, cluster zoning, right-to-farm and tax relief.
  • Economic Development Tools: Agritourism, direct marketing, branding of local agricultural products, value-added processing and product diversification.

How We've Helped

American Farmland Trust has developed, implemented and evaluated local, regional or state plans for agriculture, whether as stand-alone documents or components of a larger comprehensive plan. We've utilized our national experience to help keep farming and ranching viable, limit the impacts of new development and strategically protect the best farmland. Following are examples of services and projects we've provided:

Case studies with in-depth analysis of successful programs and cutting-edge techniques.

Surveys and focus groups that identify and assess the challenges farmers and farmland owners are facing, their future plans/needs, the level of public support for new and existing programs and policies and more.

Feasibility studies to evaluate whether a community is considering techniques (e.g., purchase or transfer of development rights) that will effectively address agricultural and growth issues.

Agricultural economic development program assessments that identify techniques and issues that are barriers to profitable farming, and they recommend methods to ensure the long-term viability of agriculture.

Funding assessments for evaluating the cost to fund new and existing farmland protection programs and identify potential local, state and federal sources of funding for farmland protection.

Facilitation for task forces, steering committees and other entities who are developing plans for agriculture to reach their goals.

Drafting and reviewing ordinances to ensure they are comprehensive and the language is accurate for structuring programs and policies.


American Farmland Trust