NEW REPORT: Smarter Land Use Planning is Urgently Needed to Safeguard Georgia Land That Grows Our Food
WASHINGTON, DC – Smart growth and investment in Georgia’s farmland protection programs must occur now to secure the land that grows our food, according to American Farmland Trust’s new report Farms Under Threat 2040: Choosing an Abundant Future and the accompanying web mapping tool.
AFT’s Farms Under Threat research has shown that by 2040, as many as 798,400 acres, or seven percent of farmland may be lost to urban and low-density conversion across Georgia. Most of that loss will be highly concentrated around urban centers experiencing rapid population growth, particularly in the Atlanta metro area.
This puts Georgia in the top four states in the nation for highest projected farmland loss by acreage, behind Texas, North Carolina and Tennessee. Furthermore, five of the top ten counties with the highest percentage of land projected to be converted are in Georgia. Nearly half of the converted land will take place on the state’s most productive soil. By investing in farmland protection and making smart growth choices, Georgia could save over one million acres of farmland, $566 million in farm output and 7,500 jobs.
“Given that one of Georgia’s largest economic engines is agriculture, farmland protection is critical for our state economy and our farm families,” said Mallory O’Steen, AFT Georgia Program Manager. “Georgia’s farmers are missing out. By investing in farmland protection at the state and local level, our state can further leverage national farmland protection programs and other successful models. Additionally, there is an urgent need to work within and across Georgia’s counties to address the threats to Georgia’s farmland through permanent easements, zoning and other protection methods. This is particularly important in the highest threatened areas surrounding Metro Atlanta.”
For a brief summary of national results: National media release
Register for the July 25, 2022, Georgia State Webinar here
American Farmland Trust is the only national organization that takes a holistic approach to agriculture, focusing on the land itself, the agricultural practices used on that land, and the farmers and ranchers who do the work. AFT launched the conservation agriculture movement and continues to raise public awareness through our No Farms, No Food message. Since our founding in 1980, AFT has helped permanently protect over 6.8 million acres of agricultural lands, advanced environmentally-sound farming practices on millions of additional acres and supported thousands of farm families.