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Document Type

Notes

Abstract

States passed agricultural preservation statutes in part to protect their agricultural heritage. Some scholars worry that right-to-farm statutes have not succeeded in achieving this goal. The agricultural preservation statutes of New York, Nebraska, and Minnesota show three different strategies toward agricultural preservation, all of which take different stances on the protections extended to small and large farms. Despite the structural differences among the states’ statutory approach to agricultural preservation, all three experienced similar agricultural demographic shifts since the 1980s—the number of large and small farms has increased while the number of medium-sized farms has decreased. The similarity in demographic trends suggests that none of the statutes are effective. Legislatures may be able to redirect their agricultural preservation statutes by empowering agricultural advisory boards to consider not only the soundness of farming practices but also the cultural and environmental value of individual farms.

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