ABSTRACT

While the question of the adequacy of agricultural land is much discussed, there is no consensus. Views range from the apocalyptic ["The 1980s may be known as the decade the earth ran out of earth," according to one of the speakers at a conference sponsored jointly by the National Association of Conservation Districts (NACD) and the National Trust for Historic Preservation (NTHP)] to the notion that the current loss of agricultural land to nonagricultural uses is a matter of national concern that calls for action at the federal level (the National Agricultural Lands Study), to the position that while one should not be complacent about the agricultural land issue, it is not a matter of pressing national concern. Among contributors at the RFF conference, the prevailing view, as reflected in the papers in this volume, was closer to the last of those described than to either of the other two.