Individual counties within Illinois have additional techniques to preserve agricultural land, including purchase of development rights, agricultural zoning, land use restrictions, farmland protection programs, conservation easements, and agricultural security areas. Agricultural zoning usually consists of a maximum ratio of developed acres to agricultural acres. Farmland protection programs can consist of their own easement purchase programs, but these easements are usually funded by the Farm and Ranch Land Protection Program (FRPP) or a state government program. Other restrictions are agricultural security areas and growth area boundaries. One of the most useful and valuable tools used by local governments is the Land Resource Management Plan, which outlines land use goals and objectives for a municipality and sets standards.
Several case studies of local efforts are available in an appendix to this report. Kane County is often identified as the region's leader in agricultural preservation, as it has preserved over 4,000 acres of farmland using a purchase of development rights program. Other counties within the region, Kendall, Boone, and McHenry Counties, have also developed farmland protection ordinances.
In your opinion, are federal, state, or local policies more critical for agricultural preservation?