Development Problems For Farmers

Today, many farmers are selling off their land. Developers are able to pay a high price to the owner while potential new farmers cannot. This land changes from agricultural land to residential land. Martha Morss explains development's effect on farmland:

"I have the impression that if you don't own your land free and clear already, like through inheritance or something, that it's pretty hard to get into farming. And I think that's one of the biggest reasons why farmland is being converted: because no one else can offer as high a price to the farmer as the developer can."

Martha Morss, Clinton

new home
House under construction
Photo by Mike Shelton
zoning notice
Agriculture Notice Sign
Photo by Mitra Fabian
The more farmland bought by developers not only reduces the total amount of farmland available, but it also affects neighboring farm practices. Roger Fawcett, a farmer and trustee in Harrison Township describes some problems:

"The only thing that divides your property from your neighbor's property is nothing, is a line. O.K., there's no line of trees or anything. So you're farming right next to them. So their yard stops here, your row of corn starts here. When you come through to spray, your spray comes over here, now that's fine. But a little wind drifts it or your sprayer jumps up and down and the spray comes over onto the neighbor's yard, its gonna kill the yard. And most people don't like that, see. They're going to give you all kinds of trouble. And people are so far removed from agriculture, that they really have no idea of what its going to be like when they become your neighbor."

Roger Fawcett, Harrison

So, non-farmers may not understand why the farmer is running a tractor late in the evening. Most non-farmers also are not happy with the animal or manure odor from a neighboring farm. Finally, farm equipment creates dangers for curious non-farming children.

Construction cone Development Detail:
In 1986, there were 1,360 farms in Knox County.
In 1992, there were only 1,170 farms.
Source: Ohio State University Agricultural Extension Office

home glossary