Masters Theses

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science



Major Professor

James A. Spencer

Committee Members

David A. Patterson


Farmland protection has become a major issue across the nation as urban development spreads further from it's metropolitan center into rural, farm areas. In response to this problem, numerous programs have been proposed or initiated in an effort to protect farmland from development. This study explored the knowledge of and attitudes towards farmland protection by younger and older farmers and farmland heirs in the community of Mechanicsburg ~ a rural farming community west of Columbus, Ohio. Columbus is the State's capitol and has been rapidly growing in all directions. Farmland protection was explored in general and for three particular protection programs proposed for use in the State of Ohio purchase of development rights, 30-year land use tax credit and agricultural zoning.

The study found that knowledge of farmland protection programs was high and there was interest in farmland protection by both younger and older farmers and heirs. Although there was an overall interest in protection, no overwhelming response was found for any one of the programs discussed, but agricultural zoning (or some form of land regulation) appeared to be more acceptable than purchase of development nights or 30-year land use tax credit programs.

The study also found there were differences in attitudes between the younger generation of farmers and the older farmers ~ the older farmers had more negative attitudes towards the three programs while younger farmers were generally more positive towards each of the protection initiatives. The heirs were found to be interested in protection but were divided in their responses to the specific protection initiatives ~ some more positive and some more negative.

Farmland protection may have the interest of the farmland community, but that community is not a homogeneous group m terms of their attitudes, interests and concerns for specific protection initiatives Understanding the differences and where support and opposition is likely to come from provides targets for developing effective strategies and for promoting and initiating protection programs.

To reach these findings the study used a case study approach focusing on qualitative research methods. Interviews were conducted with individuals representative of older farmers, younger farmers and heirs to farmland.

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