Survey finds funding for ag land programs below 2008 levels |

Survey finds funding for ag land programs below 2008 levels

State farm and ranch land protection program funding increased 19 percent from 2011 to 2012, but funding levels are still 39 percent below where they were in 2008, according to an American Farmland Trust survey released this week.

“If states had continued the same level of funding they had in 2008, we would have saved an additional 358,000 acres of agricultural land and purchased 2,000 additional farmland conservation easements,” said AFT President and CEO Andrew McElwaine.

Last year, American Farmland Trust worked with state partners in New York to increase farmland protection funding by $1 million and in Washington state to increase funding from $700,000 to $5.3 million, McElwaine noted.

The AFT survey released today shows states protected an additional 89,465 acres of agricultural land in 2012, acquiring 480 easements, and spent nearly $206 million. Overall since 1979, state farm and ranch land programs have protected 2,373,470 acres of agricultural land by acquiring 13,450 easements and spending a total of over $3.6 billion.

Colorado, Pennsylvania, Maryland, New Jersey and Vermont lead the 27 states with active farmland protection programs in the number of acres protected.

In terms of the percentage of farmland protected, New Jersey leads other states with 27 percent, Delaware with 21 percent, Maryland with 18 percent, Massachusetts with 13 percent and Vermont with 11 percent, according to the survey. F

–The Hagstrom Report