Farmland policy seems to be firmly established on the state and local policy agenda in Ohio. It was two years ago this month that the Governor’s Farmland Preservation Task Force made its final report to the state (Ohio Farmland Preservation Task Force). That report spawned several legislative initiatives that continue today, with emphasis on market rules that acknowledge the non-market services that farmland provides. The general political mood seems open and generally positive on the topic, in search of reasonable ways to accommodate and yet direct the economic forces of change so important to Ohio. No serious policy participant seeks to stop growth, or turn it loose without a market structure sensitive to the public interest in retaining open lands. Between these extremes, and the few who espouse them, are reasonable policy options that seek the best of both -- growth and open land retention. The goal is comprehensive and balanced land policy that includes farm and other open lands as part of a preferred mix of land uses.
By Lawrence Libby