Farmland surrounded by housing developments

Why protect farmland?

Minnesota’s abundant farmland and rich agricultural heritage help make our state a top-ranking producer and leading exporter in the food and agriculture industry. Farms supply wholesome and affordable food to meet the world’s ever-increasing needs, and support economies and serve as a foundation for the cultural identities of many of Minnesota’s rural communities. They can also provide habitat for wildlife, and a great deal of aesthetic pleasure on the landscape.

Markets for locally grown and processed foods are expanding across Minnesota, including metropolitan areas. These markets depend on land remaining productive and available for agriculture. But farmland is threatened by competing or conflicting rural nonfarm development ─ development that would be better located in areas where public services are readily available and conflicts with the sights, sounds, smells, and schedules of farm operations are less likely.