Urban influences on farmland use in New York State

  • Hirschl T
  • Bills N
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This article assesses the relationship between demographic change and structural adjustments in agriculture. A number of demographic and economic analyses have posited an inverse relationship between post- 1950 exurban population growth and agricultural viability, especially in the Northeast Region of the USA. To test this hypothesis, a multivariate model of percent change in county land in farms over the period 1950-1987 is estimated, and the findings only partially support the population hypothesis. Estimation results indicate that the effect of core metropolitan status is significant, but that the effects of rural population change, rural nonfarm population change, and county population deconcentration are not. The analysis demonstrates that maintenance of land in farm use largely depends upon economic forces that are national and regional in scope, and almost exclusively outside the purview of state and local farmland protection program

Author-supplied keywords

  • Agriculture
  • Land use
  • Population redistribution
  • Public policy
  • Urbanization

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  • Thomas A. Hirschl

  • Nelson L. Bills

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