I might not fully agree with your argument for a couple of reasons:
a) a study I worked on a few years ago (Stewart and Libby.
"Determinants of Farmland Value: The Case of DeKalb Cty, IL" Review
of Ag. Econ. 20(1):80-95) suggests that comprehensive county land use
zoning at the 40 acre level outside of municipalities is an effective
means of protecting farmland. While this zoning has come under
attack in the courts (Case 10. Under the Blade:The Conversion of
Agricultural Landscapes Eds. Richard K. Olson and Thomas A. Lyson.
Boulder, CO: Westview Press. 1999:340-346), it has held firm. Of
course, regional variation and level of suburbanization pressures are
also key determinants, as are political conditions.
b) The argument for the benefits of small "farmettes" is, I do not
believe, well-founded. In addition to leading to greater reliance on
automobiles, the open space retained by these large-lot spaces are
often not ecologically sound as this land is not as permeable as
farmland, leading to less aquifer recharge and greater potential for
flooding (again, depending on the region). In addition, land held in
these types of land uses (and associated types such as golf courses),
often use higher amounts of pesticides and fertilizer, with
associated non-point source pollution problems.
However, I will agree with you on the potential for socio-economic
domination by larger companies and concurrent stratification of
society based upon economic well-being. However, it may be best that
we consider mechanisms that keep farming as decentralized as possible
and provide economic supports for this activity (esp. as it serves
ecological and food security needs) all the while keeping a toolbox
of zoning tools supporting development within preexisting
However, as prefaced earlier- an awful lot of this argument is based
upon the specific situation faced in specific locales and addresses
development on prime farmland, not access to farmland by farmers. A
good source of information that may be utilized is found at the
Farmland Information Library: http://farm.fic.niu.edu/fic/home.html
Cheers and good luck,
> craig k harris
> department of sociology
> michigan state university
> 429b berkey hall
> east lansing michigan 48824-1111
> tel: 517-355-5048
> fax: 517-432-2856
> > ----------
> > From: Paul Schmitmeyer[SMTP:email@example.com]
> > Sent: Friday 10 September 1999 6:58 AM
> > To: Sanet
> > Subject: Farmland Preservation
> > Hi all,
> > In our area there is a county that recently voted for legislation that
> > the smallest parcel of land that can be sold off a farm is 40 acres. This
> > put the brakes on any developement. Anyone that wants to build has to
> > purchase a 40 acre plot reducing the number of people finacially able to
> > do that. Furthermore, most people would probably opt to rent out the
> > remaining acreage.
> > Paul
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Patrick A. Stewart, Ph.D.
Department of Political Science
P.O. Box 1750
Arkansas State University
State University, AR 72467
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