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Soils--Quality; Land use; Zoning; Land capability for agriculture


The most common method used by local governments, to prevent conversion of farmland to non-agricultural uses is zoning. An identification of high quality soils may be the most crucial stage in the development of agricultural zoning ordinances. Common soil quality classifications are not adequate in this identification, largely because they do not take local conditions into account. When soil information is used to design zoning ordinances that can withstand litigation, several additional legal criteria must be fulfilled. Four Minnesota county zoning ordinances were examined to determine if soil quality was used as a zoning criterion. Only one of the counties recognized the importance of soil quality in its agricultural zoning ordinances.

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