The Agriculture Pillar pays tribute to the County’s rural identity and agrarian economic lifestyle. It recognizes these attributes by supporting the County’s ongoing farming activities, while setting the stage for future agricultural economies. Stearns County’s commitment to this Pillar is further embodied in the following statement and goals.
Stearns County’s agricultural heritage is the root of our prosperity and identity. Through product diversity, innovation, and sustainable practices, we will enhance and promote the advancement of our agricultural economy.
The Agriculture Pillar’s framework begins by identifying prime soils for farming, which is portrayed in the figure below. Prime farmland soils are defined by the U.S. Department of Agriculture as “soils that are best suited for producing food, feed, forage, fiber, and oilseed crops.”
The Stearns County Soil Survey (1980) also states that “Prime farmland soils produce the highest yields with minimal inputs of energy and economic resources, and farming these soils results in the least damage to the environment.”
Most of these areas have been identified as “Agricultural” areas in the Future Land Use Plan Map. This designation targets property for long-term agricultural use. Preferred uses within this land use designation include agricultural uses and farmsteads related to the operations of the agricultural use at a maximum residential density.
The Comprehensive Plan can be implemented in a number of ways. On a daily basis, the document is used by County staff to review applications. The County Board, as well as other advisory commissions use the Plan when making decisions. It is used by residents and developers to understand the County’s intentions for the use of land, infrastructure needs, and planned park and open space improvements.