Michael L. Mancuso, University of Rhode Island


This study investigates the issues and problems surrounding the decline of farms and farmland in Rhode Island and Massachusetts. A major portion of this project deals with the present legislative remedies for the agricultural decline. The forms of legislation are strongly addressed because the laws bring out the issues and problems to attempts to preserve agricultural lands. This study also makes recommendations on how preservation legislation can be improved and used beneficiary and local communities. The state and local planner's role in the preservation process is also discussed.

It should be noted that in this study, the loss of agricultural lands will be viewed in relation to urban sprawl and the rising costs of farming. Farmland loss to due wind and water erosion will not be addressed. Farmland loss through erosion is an important issue, but is not considered a greater problem than urban sprawl and inflation in New England.

In order to avoid redundancy, the terms, “agricultural lands”, “farms”, and “farmland” will be used anonymously since their meanings are essentially the same.