Agricultural Preservation and Regional Planning

Agricultural Preservation and Regional Planning

Previously, the topic of agricultural preservation was addressed by the Northeastern Illinois Planning Commission (NIPC) in its 2040 Framework Plan. NIPC concluded that farmland preservation is a priority for the region and is "strongly linked to the principles of strengthening centers and corridors" (NIPC, 2005).

NIPC Recommendations for Farmland Preservation, 2040 Regional Framework Plan (2005)

  1. Recognize the Economic Value of Farmland
    1. Review Zoning Codes to ensure compatibility with farmland preservation
  2. Implement Farmland Preservation Measures
    1. Create Agricultural Districts
    2. Plan and zone for varied and flexible residential development within already developed areas to reduce pressure to develop on farmland
    3. Adopt right-to-farm legislation
    4. Implement a farmland conversion fee
    5. Implement design principles to sensitively integrate development with agricultural preservation
  3. Examine the Public Costs of Farmland Conversion Prior to Development
    1. Purchase land or use transfer development rights to acquire conservation easements to preserve farmland
    2. Identify and map agricultural soils and resources to identify priority protection areas
    3. Support farm businesses through technical and financial resources such as the Ag-Business Development Office of the Illinois Department of Agriculture

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The Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning (CMAP) was created as the comprehensive regional planning organization for the seven counties of northeastern Illinois. By state and federal law, CMAP is responsible for producing the region's official, integrated plan for land use and Transportation. The GO TO 2040 planning campaign will develop and implement strategies, such as agricultural preservation, to address projected population and employment growth and its serious implications for Transportation, housing, economic development, open space, the environment, and natural resources. See for more information.

Agricultural preservation is a strategy within CMAP's 2040 Regional Comprehensive Plan because it is an integral part of the economy and the local ecosystem that supports the region. It is also an important way of life for some residents and provides the opportunity for rural living. This strategy paper will present agricultural preservation as it pertains to the decisions and policies of the region to develop and preserve land for economic and environmental purposes. Also, a main goal of this paper is to stimulate further discussion among experts, local governments and advocacy groups that could highlight best practices, common challenges, opportunities, and successes. All of these outputs will help shape the GO TO 2040 plan.


Have any of the three recommendations provided by NIPC been implemented in your community, county, or municipality?