Planning for Agriculture - American Farmland Trust

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Planning for Agriculture

Planning is a public process to envision the future and help us prepare for future needs. All 50 states have enabling laws that support planning and delegate some planning authority to local governments. Collectively, they plan for a wide range of public needs from transportation and housing to economic development and environmental protection. But they rarely plan for farms, farmland or food.
This page highlights AFT’s leadership to advance Planning for Agriculture and provides valuable resources to support public policies to promote resilient food and farming systems.

How Farm Friendly is your community?

Community support for farms is vital to their success. Use the Community Farm Friendly checklist to gauge local support for agriculture in your community. Learn more about planning for agriculture through our resources, example plans and guides, and presentations below.

View the checklist


AFT Plans For Agriculture

AFT Completed Plans for Agriculture

View a Sample of AFT's Completed Plans

View a few samples of local, state, and regional plans AFT was proud to play a role in developing.

American Farmland Trust (AFT) believes that working farms and farmland are as important to communities as other land uses so we must plan to ensure their future. Planning for agriculture creates a framework to protect and retain agricultural land, promote sound environmental stewardship of agricultural land, and sustain agricultural viability for current and future generations.

AFT has worked across the country to help communities realize their goals and give farmers a voice in planning processes. In more than 50 plans across the country, we have helped states and communities create the vision, road map, policies and public investments needed to respond to market demands, support resilient food systems, balance the needs for renewable energy, and attract a diverse new generation of sustainable farmers and ranchers. 

Planning for Agriculture Resources

Planning is a dynamic, stakeholder-driven, multi-step process. Whether it results in a state or regional plan, a local master or comprehensive plan, or a stand-alone plan for agriculture, it is not an end in itself. In other words, planning requires resources. We have compiled some of our favorite resources and tools to help communities plan for agriculture.

Find Resources

Planning Presentations

View recent presentations from AFT staff, on different aspects of planning for ag. Learn more about our ground-breaking findings in the recent publication Farms Under Threat: The State of the States, where we identify and map Low Density Residential land use- which compromises ag viability. Additionally we analyze policy tools that states have for protecting farmland and highlight promising approaches.

photo graph of a "Smart Growth Boundary" in Kentucky. Image shows housing development abutting farmland that is protected by the boundary.
Photo courtesy of Fayette Alliance.