Preserving Large Farming Landscapes: The Case of Lancaster County, Pennsylvania

  • Tom Daniels University of Pennsylvania
  • Lauren Payne-Riley University of Pennsylvania
Keywords: Farmland Preservation, Geographic Information Systems (GIS), Agricultural Zoning, Urban Growth Boundaries

Abstract

Preserving large farming landscapes is one of the main goals of farmland preservation programs. Other goals include protecting highly productive soils, maintaining and enhancing the local farming economy, and promoting locally produced fresh food. Farmland preservation programs take time, however, because of the hefty funding require­ments and the detailed process of preserving farmland through the acquisition of conservation easements by purchase or donation. The standard measures of dollars spent and farmland acres preserved do not give an accurate picture of the spatial outcomes of preservation and preservation effectiveness. Three other measures better reflect the spatial effectiveness of farmland preservation: acreage and percentage of preserved farm parcels located in agricultural zones, number and acreage of preserved farm parcels in large contiguous blocks, and number and acreage of preserved farm parcels along growth boundaries. Scattered pre­served farms and preserved farms not located in agricultural zones are likely to face more nonfarm development nearby as well as problems with non­farm neighbors. The farmland preservation effort in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, provides an important case study of the pattern of farmland preservation over time. Other counties and land trusts can employ geographic information systems (GIS) methods in this study to monitor and evalu­ate the progress of their farmland preservation efforts.

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Author Biographies

Tom Daniels, University of Pennsylvania

Professor, Department of City and Regional Planning; 127 Meyerson Hall; School of Design; University of Pennsylvania; 210 South 34thStreet; Philadelphia, PA 19104-6311 USA; 590 Northlawn Drive; Lancaster, PA 17603 USA; +1-717-368-0559; thomasld@design.upenn.edu

Lauren Payne-Riley, University of Pennsylvania
Master’s Candidate, Department of City and Regional Planning; 127 Meyerson Hall; School of Design; University of Pennsylvania; 210 South 34th Street; Philadelphia, PA 19104-6311 USA; lpayn@design.upenn.edu
Published
2017-05-30
How to Cite
Daniels, T., & Payne-Riley, L. (2017). Preserving Large Farming Landscapes: The Case of Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. Journal of Agriculture, Food Systems, and Community Development, 7(3), 67-81. https://doi.org/10.5304/jafscd.2017.073.004