Agriculture is an important part of the County’s economy, but it is highly vulnerable to conflicts with non-agricultural uses. As a county grows, farmland usually faces pressures from development. Often these rural estate developments have large lots that consume significant tracts of farmland. In addition, wildlife habitat and natural areas are lost because they become too small as they are fragmented between individual lots and are not protected from individual landowner development.
Even agricultural zoning of one housing unit per 40 acres has not prevented the development of 40 acre or larger residential parcels, making it more difficult to assemble and efficiently cultivate farmland. Agricultural activities with a more intense character, such as animal feedlot operations, are particularly sensitive to the proximity of housing, and are most susceptible to such land use conflicts.