Conservation & sustainability, Policy

Compensating Landowners for Conserving Agricultural Land

Compensating landowners is an increasingly important approach for maintaining working landscapes, especially in the face of urban expansion. As an alternative or supplement to government land use planning and regulation, landowner payments recognize the multiple public benefits of keeping farmland in the hands of farmers. The papers included in this collection (products of an April, 2003, conference in Sacramento) describe, evaluate, and suggest variations in a range of compensatory techniques, including: (1) property tax preferences for farmland allowed by state governments; (2) federal cost-share conservation payments administered by USDA; (3) federal payments for the temporary retirement of cropland; and (4) agricultural easements created through the acquisition of development rights from landowners.

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