There is a distinct public policy trend in the United States and many other post-industrial developed nations toward protecting the various non-food amenity services of private farmland. Farmland is truly a multiservice resource, producing the various food and fiber products for which there is effective demand and certain amenity goods for which markets are imperfect at best. Amenities flow from open lands other than farmland, and active farming often produces such dis-amenities as water pollution or habitat loss. Emphasis here is on farms as a land use and only the positive amenity services they can provide.
By Lawrence Libby