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What is agricultural zoning?

At one time, much of the United States’ economy was supported by farming. At the local, state and national levels, agriculture provided not only the food that Americans needed to sustain themselves, but also a basis from which the economy could grow. Minnesota still produces a number of agricultural products, although new industries, like telecommunications and manufacturing, have invaded on agriculture’s once dominant domain.

One way that communities in Minnesota and the rest of the nation work to protect farms and other agricultural centers is through agricultural zoning. Agricultural zoning limits how much development the land in a particular zone can absorb, particularly with regard to how many people and homes may be located within the zone. Homes in agricultural zones are generally required to have large lots to prevent overdevelopment; land in agricultural zones is intended to be used for agricultural operations.

Individuals who own land in agricultural zoning areas should check with their communities’ governing bodies to become informed about the permissible uses that their land will support. Zoning laws can vary from community to community and readers of this blog should secure the best information they can based on the location of their land before making decisions regarding how to use land in any zoning district.

There are fewer family farmers and agricultural workers operating in the United States now than there were generations ago. To protect and support the important farming industry in the country, communities create agricultural zoning districts. It may be important for Minnesota residents to learn more about agricultural zoning, how land in it can be used and if exceptions can be made to its restrictions.