Development at the Urban Fringe and Beyond: Impacts on Agriculture and Rural Land

Agricultural Economic Report No. AER-803, June 2001


Farmland Protection

This older but important report from the USDA’s Economic Research Service examines the two major patterns of U.S. land development—expansion of urban areas and large-lot development (greater than 1 acre per house) in rural areas—and the potential impacts on agriculture and rural communities. The report finds that such sprawling development patterns affect the amount and productivity of agricultural land and create other problems. It concludes that urban growth and development is not a threat to overall national food and fiber production, but may reduce production of some high-value or specialty crops, with agricultural production in metropolitan areas more vulnerable to rising land values and increasing contact with new residents.