The analytic basis for an effective prime farmland landscape preservation scheme in the U.S.A.

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7 Scopus citations


In general, the scheme I devise and advocate is based on the best available econometric analysis of the interaction between urban, hobby farm and prime agricultural land-use activities under conditions of regional urban containment. Daniels claims that I am naïve about the efficacy of the hobby farm ring around urban areas buffering prime agricultural districts from urban development. Yet, this is the very scheme used successfully in many places pursuing prime farmland preservation with success (Nelson, 1988a). My conceptual scheme has been, or is soon to be, used either unintentionally or as a matter of policy in Oregon, Florida, California, New Jersey, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Maine, and (perhaps) Georgia. Ironically, Daniels' own work and the regulatory scheme he is devising for Lancaster County includes features that are founded mostly on the techniques I have demonstrated to be effective through the analysis I synthesized in this Journal. I suspect that even he will find the need to have hobby farm land-use designations buffering prime farmland from urban development. I am mostly sympathetic with all the points made by Daniels, although he has more faith than I in things like right-to-farm laws, property tax breaks for commercial farmers and minimum lot size agricultural districting. On the other hand, he is apparently crafting a regulatory scheme that achieves the central objectives of prime farmland preservation by using the techniques that I offer as successful, namely exclusive farm use designation, urban growth boundaries and special rural residential districts on lower-quality soils for hobby farmers (with no tax breaks). To this he is adding some carefully exercised purchase of development rights (where, I hope, the tax payer does not pay twice). I am sure he will be successful. I thank Tom Daniels for his many important contributions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)337-346
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Rural Studies
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1990

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Development
  • Sociology and Political Science


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