The Public Interest

Are we losing our farmland?

Julian L. Simon

Spring 1982

THE scare stories in the newspapers and on television about the loss of cropland to urbanization in the United States are statistically unsound, yet the misinformation contained in them has already had destructive effects on individuals and upon the economy. Bernard J. Frieden, in the Spring 1979 issue of The Public Interest, discussed the impact on people who want to build and buy new homes. But there are also ill effects on industrial development, on farm planning, and on the incentive to farm-all the outcomes of restrictions on economic mobility in the name of “saving prime farmland.”

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