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Home > Protecting Our Lands & Waters > Farmland Protection > MDA Resources to Help Protect Farmland

MDA Resources to Help Protect Farmland

The Minnesota Department of Agriculture works to protect farmland through outreach, technical assistance, and review of development, transportation, and energy projects for their impacts to farmland. MDA provides local government officials with practical assistance in addressing rural land use issues relating to agriculture: 

  • preserving agricultural resources
  • minimizing conflicts between new rural residents and the farming community
  • identifying the financial costs of rural sprawl to local governments
  • dealing with the changing nature of agriculture


  • Planning for Agricultural Land Preservation in Minnesota: A Handbook for Planning under Minnesota Statutes, Chapter 40 A (PDF: 9.77 MB / 79 pages)
    This handbook provides information to assist rural counties and local governments interested in protecting farmland through the Minnesota Agricultural Land Preservation Program. It is a step-by-step procedural guide to preparing an agricultural land preservation plan and official controls, and securing approval of the plan and official controls from the MDA. The handbook can also be used by any county or township as a guide for farmland preservation, and for planning in general.
  • Cost of Public Services Study (PDF: 974 KB / 160 pages)
    This study identifies and quantifies the fiscal impacts of “rural sprawl.” It includes case studies of Scott, Becker, Wright, Carleton and Winona Counties. The study compares the costs versus revenues of growth in developed areas (places more easily served by infrastructure and public services) with growth in rural areas (that lack established infrastructure or public services).

Livestock Planning & Siting

Minimizing conflicts between new rural residents and the farming community is both a strategy and a benefit of farmland protection. Resources available from the MDA’s Livestock team include:

Technical Assistance and Outreach

MDA staff: