Empowering Women Landowners to Become Conservation Leaders
During the last several decades, more and more women have been entering
agriculture as new farmers, widows or inheritors of farmland. Whether
they lease their land to neighboring farmers or operate their own farm
or ranch, thousands of women bring a strong conservation and stewardship
ethic to managing their land. They are now poised to play a much
larger role in U.S. agriculture, marking a historic shift. This
demographic change will require a new approach and customized set of
tools aimed at educating women landowners today to help them become
tomorrow’s conservation leaders.
Read about Empowering Women Landowners
Farmland Protection Programs are Making a Difference
A key response to farmland loss has been the use of agricultural conservation easements. State and local governments and land trusts have protected 5 million acres of farm and ranch land nationwide. These efforts have been advanced by the federal Farm and Ranch Lands Protection Program (FRPP), which provides matching funds to state and local PACE programs, land trusts and tribal governments to buy conservation easements on farm and ranch land. Learn how FRPP is providing a comprehensive response to an urgent issue. Visit the Farmland Information Center to download the full report or to read a summary of the findings.
America's Agricultural Land Is at Risk
Every minute of every day, we have been losing more than an acre of agricultural land to development. Why? Farm and ranch land is desirable for building because it tends to be flat, well drained and affordable. And the rapid rate of agricultural land converted to development is unnecessary—over the past 20 years, the average acreage per person for new housing almost doubled—with our best agricultural soils being developed the fastest.
Visit Farmland by the Numbers to learn more about farmland loss throughout the nation.
Why save Farmland?
||National Economy and World Food Security
The U.S. food and farming system contributes nearly $1 trillion to our national economy—more than 13 percent of the gross domestic product—and employs 17 percent of the labor force. World consumers of U.S. agricultural exports are expected to increase their purchases in the future. With a rapidly increasing world population and expanding global markets, saving American farmland is a prudent investment in the world food supply and the nation’s economic future.
||Protection of the Environment
Well-managed agricultural land supplies important non-market goods and services for our environment. Farm and ranch lands provide food and cover for wildlife, help control flooding, protect wetlands and watersheds and maintain air quality. They can absorb and filter wastewater and provide groundwater recharge. New energy crops even have the potential to replace fossil fuels. Read about our Agriculture and the Environment initiative.
|Fresh, Healthy Food and Strong Communities
Farms closest to our cities, and directly in the path of development, produce much of our fresh food—an astounding 91% of our fruit and 78% of our vegetables. And for many Americans, saving farmland is focused on protecting the quality of life in their communities—scenic and cultural landscapes, farmers' markets, recreational opportunities, local jobs and community businesses. Read about our Growing Local initiative.
||Fiscal Stability for Local Governments
New development requires services such as schools, roads and fire/police protection, whereas privately owned and managed agricultural land requires very few services. Cost of Community Services (COCS) studies (PDF) show that, nationwide, farm, forest and open lands more than pay for the municipal services they require, while taxes on residential uses, on average, fail to cover costs.