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Idaho losing farm land to development

By: Jake Putnam
Published in Video on  June 08, 2020

MERIDIAN--In south Ada county, one can see the issue, Idaho has lost 100,000 acres of farmland, in just 5 years. 

Neil Durrant farms the 10-mile road area, South of Meridian, he says the land is disappearing. 

"You look to the north of us the farmland is almost non-existent. The subdivisions are coming out to us in Kuna and you can see it just driving around. You see new subdivisions and the new roads going in, it brought struggles to us trying to farm," said Durrant. 

Everything from roadblocks and detours to rural traffic jams. "They're putting new sewer lines in, everything from roadblocks and detours to traffic jams, closing roads down, and instead of a one-mile trip to a field, we're having to drive four-mile trip just to get to the field," said Durrant. 

And the problem is Statewide, As hard as it is to farm in new subdivisions, the biggest concern is losing farmland, forever. 

"The land we do farm, some of it is owned by developers. We're just farming it until they put the roads on the ground. It's really severe, everywhere you look around there are houses all around us, the entire mile," said Durrant. 

The problem is Statewide, and as hard as it is to farm around new subdivisions and the biggest concern is losing farmland forever.

"You can't get it back, Once it goes into houses, you can never get it back," added Durrant. 

Are there any solutions? Conservation easements? 

"That's about it," sighs Durrant. "You can't force someone to give up 20-30 acres and that's a double-edged sword. Yea, I'd like to stop it, but that's not something we have," said Durrant. 

Tens of thousands of acres are lost every year, and real solutions are already too late. 

"So how do you go to a conservation program this late? How to bring it into effect right now? The only way you can do it is maybe put five acres into a community garden or tract or a square mile of land that remains in farming. But that should have been looked at it 30-40 years ago," said Durrant.

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