Workshops on Land Use and Land Protection Policy

Project Overview

EW99-006
Project Type: Professional Development Program
Funds awarded in 1999: $66,195.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2001
Region: Western
State: Colorado
Principal Investigator:
Jeff Jones
American Farmland Trust

Commodities

Not commodity specific

Practices

  • Education and Training: general education and training

    Abstract:

    [Note to online version: The report for this project includes tables that could not be included here. The regional SARE office will mail a hard copy of the entire report at your request. Just contact Western SARE at (435) 797-2257 or wsare@ext.usu.edu.]

    The goals of this project were to provide an educational opportunity on land use and agricultural land protection for Cooperative Extension, Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), Resource Conservation and Development (RC&D), land trust, local government and state forestry field staff in Idaho and Utah, and to ensure their ongoing participation in these issues. American Farmland Trust and partners trained 297 individuals in the two states at six training events.

    Each workshop addressed the following topics: (1) why the loss of agricultural land is important; (2) sources for land use, demographic and economic data to help participants measure change in their communities; (3) comprehensive planning; (4) agricultural land protection tools; (5) current land use and land protection legislation; (6) local experiences in land protection; and (7) small group discussion on issues, obstacles and opportunities for land protection. Participants’ overall evaluation of the sessions was 8 on a scale of 1 to 10. Each participant received a workbook containing contact information for individuals, agencies and organizations across the state interested in land use issues, information on land protection tools and legislation, examples of citizen preference surveys, AFT fact sheets and color overheads of agricultural land loss in the nation and the state. They also received handouts from the speakers, as well as relevant publications.

    To keep the workshop participants involved in these issues, we will make additional workbooks available as reference material and develop a mailing list to inform them about legislative and other activity influencing land protection in the state. The Idaho state advisory committee is also planning on conducting short presentations on land use and land protection issues at all the major annual conferences in the state to expose more people to the issues. Follow-up interviews showed that 56% of Idaho respondents and 86% of Utah respondents had been contacted in their communities about land use or agricultural land protection issues since the workshops.

    The benefits of this project for workshop participants include: (1) increased knowledge about land use and land protection issues, (2) having ready materials to disseminate to farmers and ranchers who are interested in protecting their land or to others who work with agricultural producers, (3) providing training for the local government personnel who play a critical role in how land use decisions are made, and (4) establishing a new information network in each state through which workshop participants can interact with each other on these issues and help to build new partnerships to protect the land base for the agricultural industry.

    Project objectives:

    1. Provide professional development for Cooperative Extension, NRCS, RC&D, land trust, local government and state forestry field staff in Idaho and Utah so they can effectively respond to issues inherent to land use pressure at the rural urban interface.

    2. Provide trainees with the ability to work with constituents to develop policy options for guiding land use change in the interest of protecting farm, ranch and forested land. As a result of these training sessions, participants should be able to: (a) Estimate land use, economic and demographic changes in their counties; (b) Estimate citizen preferences and attitudes about land use patterns; (c) Understand existing or potential tools and techniques to guide development and protect farmland; (d) Understand comprehensive planning as a formal process and the plan as a strategic document; (e) Provide farmers, ranchers, other landowners and land use decision makers with current information on land protection options and strategies available in their states; and

    3. Establish the basis for continuing informal involvement in land use policy discussions and participant-offered training of others as future needs arise. (a) Use the network of state and regional contacts and resources available to obtain continuing information on land use issues. (b) Use AFT’s Farmland Information Center to obtain additional information on a continuing basis.

    Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or SARE.