Farmland Studies

During the 2008-2009 academic year, University of Minnesota researchers completed four studies looking at farmland issues in Scott County. All 4 studies were supported by a grant from the University’s Community Growth Options program, with funding from the McKnight Foundation.

The Future of Our Farmland
The Future of Our Farmland: An Agricultural Inventory for Scott County, Minnesota (PDF) report provides a baseline analysis of the type, quantity, value and impact of agriculture in our county. Some highlights: From 2002 to 2007, the county lost about 200 farms and about 13,000 acres of farmland; the county’s average (148 acres) and median (52 acres) farm sizes are smaller than any other counties in the metro area; the county posts a nearly even balance of market value from crops and livestock; the share of the county’s market value from local food sales - namely fruits and vegetables - at 2.3% is higher than any other counties in the metro area.

Agricultural Preservation Precedent Studies
The Agricultural Preservation Precedent Studies (PDF) report looks at different case studies of communities around the U.S. that have successfully employed strategies to preserve farmland and promote agriculture in the face of urban development pressure. These strategies range from agricultural zoning practices, purchase or transfer of development rights (TDR) programs, tax incentives, and marketing efforts.

Scott County Prime Farmland Mapping Project
The Scott County Prime Farmland Mapping Project (PDF) report and series of maps look at alternative definitions of “prime farm soils” in the county. Included are descriptions and maps based on widely accepted soil characteristics, crop productivity index, land cover, land use, and erodible soils. The report finds that some common soils in the county - while not deemed “prime” - may be uniquely suited for certain types of vegetable production, bio-fuel production, or managed grazing.

A Guide to Local Food System Planning for Scott County, Minnesota

A Guide to Local Food System Planning for Scott County, Minnesota (PDF) report discusses the growing interest many county governments are taking in planning for local food systems and what next steps are possible for Scott County. The report finds that there is very little infrastructure in place today to process and distribute locally grown foods. Perspectives from regional cooperative grocery stores and local restaurants provide insight into some of the opportunities and challenges facing the county’s local food system planning efforts.