Statewide farmland disappearing

Statewide farmland disappearing

David Sparks Ph.D.
David Sparks Ph.D.
In south Ada county, one can see the issue, Idaho has lost 100,000 acres of farmland, in just 5 years. Neil Durrant farms the 10-mile road area, South of Meridian, he says the land is disappearing fast.

"You look to the north of us the farmland is almost non-existent. The subdivisions are coming out to us in Kuna and you can see it just driving around. You see new subdivisions and the new roads going in, it brought struggles to us trying to farm.”

Everything from roadblocks and detours to rural traffic jams.

"They're putting new sewer lines in, everything from roadblocks and detours to traffic jams, closing roads down and instead of a one-mile trip to a field, we're having to drive four-mile trip just to get to the field.”

“And the problem is Statewide, As hard as it is to farm around new subdivisions, the biggest concern is losing farmland, forever. The land we do farm, some of it owned by developers. We're just farming it until they put the roads on the ground. It's really severe, everywhere you look around there are houses all around the entire mile," said Durrant.

And as big cities like Seattle, Portland and Los Angeles experience more and more big city problems, the disappearance of even more farmland will accompany an influx of urbanites who no longer want to tolerate these ugly urban environments.

The problem is Statewide, and as hard as it is to farm around new subdivisions, the biggest concern is losing farmland forever.

"You can't get it back, Once it goes into houses, you can never get it back," added Durrant.

Are there any solutions? Conservation easements?

"That's about it," sighs Durrant. "You can't force someone to give up 20-30 acres and that's a double-edged sword. Yea, I'd like to stop it, but that's not something we have," said Durrant.

Tens of thousands of acres are lost every year, and real solutions are already too late.

"So how do you go to this program this late? How to bring it into effect right now? The only way you can do it is maybe put five acres into a community garden or tract or a square mile of land that's going to remain in farming. But that should have been looked at 20-30 years ago," said Durrant.

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