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Rural Blog: New report shows Ky. lost a half million acres of farmland to homebuilding in last 20 years

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A new report from the American Farmland Trust, the nation’s leading farmland-preservation group, says that America has been losing twice as much farmland as the group thought, and the leading cause of it is low-density residential development, especially in Kentucky, Al Cross reports for the Midway Messenger. Cross is the director of the Institute for Rural Journalism and Community Issues.

The president of AFT, John Piotti, announced the findings in a May 12 press conference on a farm in Scott County, Kentucky. “Piotti said a study that AFT will issue in May will show that Kentucky lost 791,000 acres of farmland from 1992 to 2012, and 499,000 acres of that, or 61 percent, was from building of single-family homes on lots of two to 10 acres. He said the national figure was 41 percent, so ‘Kentucky stands out.'” Cross reports.

Counties can preserve farmland by purchasing development rights to farmland, or put farms under a conservation easement. Preserving farmland not only helps existing farmers and encourages tourism, Piotti said, but it helps keep land prices down so more young people can get into farming.

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The Rural Blog is a digest of events, trends, issues, ideas and journalism from and about rural America, from the IRJCI, based at the University of Kentucky. The Institute for Rural Journalism and Community Issues is an extension program for rural journalists and news outlets. It takes no positions on issues and advocates only for strong news coverage, responsible commentary and things that make them possible, such as open-government laws. For more information see www.RuralJournalism.org.

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