New statistics indicate land use laws have helped, but prime ag land still at risk
The loss of farmland in Oregon to development and other uses continues, but at a much reduced rate, according to the latest numbers from an inventory of land uses conducted statewide and nationally. While still a concern to agriculture, state officials credit Oregon’s land use laws for minimizing the inexorable reduction of crop, pasture, and range lands.
“Agricultural land can’t be viewed as an idle resource waiting to be converted to homes, office buildings, retail outlets, or other types of development,” says Katy Coba, director of the Oregon Department of Agriculture. “Agriculture’s survival and sustainability depends, in large part, on protecting important farmland needed for production.”
Between 2007 and 2010, the inventory indicates 59,300 acres of crop land was converted to other land uses, including urban and rural development. That’s a loss of 1.66 percent of Oregon’s 3.5 million acres of crop land. However, that is a huge improvement over the 394,000 acres of crop land lost between 1982 and 1987.
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