On this regional public affairs program, a discussion of handbook on agricultural areas (aka Agricultural Planning Handbook), in the metropolitan area. Dan Olson interviews Alexander Dean and Jim Schoettler from the Metropolitan Planning Commission. Dean and Schoettler also answer listener questions.
Read the Text Transcription of the Audio.
My name is Alexander Dean. I'm a planner on the staff the Metropolitan Council in the comprehensive planning section. My name is Jim schettler. I'm an environmental planner in the environmental division of the council. Gentleman, we have before us what's called you yet, agricultural planning handbook and subtitled identifying long-term productive farmland, and it's currently the Twin Cities metropolitan area is the target for this handbook and I'd be interested first in discussing what you see is some of the problems that have are some of the circumstances let's say that have led up to the need for this handbook. Sandy want to begin with you. In 1973 the Metropolitan Council began to work on a long-term comprehensive plan for the metropolitan area in deciding where the urban land use is ought to be located in the metropolitan area. The council became aware that there was a great deal of rural land devoted to agriculture in the metropolitan area. In fact nearly half of the area is currently devoted to agricultural uses and it became apparent that Not very much of this land would actually be needed to accommodate the the population projections which we foresaw coming into the metropolitan area between now and the year 2000. DIA If we are to make the wisest you so far land resource in the metropolitan area. Some of the Fringe Suburban areas would continue to Urban eyes and be supplied with new highways new sewer facilities and water facilities, but that much of the the good agricultural land on the Western Southern and Eastern fringes of the metropolitan area should continue to be used for productive farming activities. Maybe something that is new to many people. The fact that there is a substantial amount of agricultural activity in the 7 County area. And do you have any way of drawing that out to how much agricultural activity there is compared to other kinds of economic activity of approximately 50% of the land area of the Seven Counties is in Farmland do is that doesn't mean that it's all actively cultivated at the present time, but it is controlled by Farm interest. This is down. I think Sandy was about 10% over the last 5 to 10 years. It is dropped to 20% in the last 10 years from a 1060000 acres in 1964 to 840000 acres in 1974. That was at that rate of decline. We wouldn't have any farm land left in the metro area in 40 years. I think it's interesting that this far Mary represents a investment in equipment of that nature in the order of a half billion dollars and the annual income is somewhere between a hundred million dollars to probably $150 per year the song course in a commercial industrial complex like the Twin Cities. That's not a big percentage but it is quite a large mountain especially for an Agricultural. I think it's important to back on this little bit with the attitude that urban areas have had towards agricultural area. If you look even Metropolitan Council maps from the earlier. The agricultural area is the white area on the map waiting to be developed their will they would just never pay any attention to the farm area. This land was some something which shop people did not understand and the idea was that eventually this would be developed would become Urban Land. I think it's significant that the metropolitan area of the Twin Cities metropolitan area is probably the first in this country to recognize Farmland agricultural activities as a prime land use in the metropolitan area. And the key thing which this handbook gets at is deciding what area is Agricultural and what area is urban. And this does it from the agricultural standpoint. So let's say you are a person who owns land in the 7 County area and it's considered Farmland by most people who look at it. What kinds of pressures are you facing right now, depending on where that land is what's happening to the price of that land and what kind of people are contacting you is anybody looking at that potential farm land for development that describe some of the pressures that are being exerted on that land. Well as a farmer. I would probably have real estate agents knocking on my door periodically offering to sell my land for me. I'd have probably occasion. People out on a Sunday Drive stop in to see if I would sell the Back Forty to them for a for a lot for their house. I'd also have Morin I'm more subtle pressures and getting to my a hundred acres. I own a mile North I'd be having to move my tractor insofar Machinery on the highway and create traffic jams and have a lot of people honking at me. If any neighbors are non-farm people that moved into my area I'd have them probably complaining about the noise of the farm machinery operating at night and the odors from the farm in the dust would be a nuisance to them. They might complain to the town board and town board might pass an ordinance to restrict some of my activities. In addition there the land price speculation and my farm would look like a pretty valuable resource to me right now is just as land not as farm farm necessarily and I'd probably be tempted not to keep up my buildings and my equipment that I'd invested in because they're not adding to the value of the land at all from a land for housing basis there. In fact, I'd probably find it difficult to get loans from Banks Farm Credit institutions because they'd see a homeowners moving into the area and think it was not a very good risk for a more Farm investment. In addition, my taxes are probably going up in the land because of additional schoolchildren in the area causing us to build a new school and finance that maybe some sewer lines have been built into the area for the suburban houses and my gal assessments on my farm property. So there would be a lot of subtle pressures on me to kind of ease out of the farming phase and turn into a really a person dealing in selling land rather than farm products. But this time I was carried out over the course of over two years and then that. Of time we spoke of Kratom any Farm people and the problems they've encountered Are Legion and many of the type of Sandy describe. The sum of these problems is what we've called Hera pheri Fox 10 and sense of impermanence. The question in the minds of the following people. Is this farmland or is it going to be residential land or something like that? When you have real estate people are calling periodically asking when you going to sell when you encounter more and more traffic when their people wanting to buy small Parcels of your land increase vandalism and more stricter regulations by the local governments in this type of thing. You just begin to wonder how you know, is this farmland and then you kind of problems like Sandy describe with Getting capital for investment in the farm a good investment banker will save. Oh my gosh. I'm not going to loan you money for a harvestore silo Barn you got houses across the street. This is not Farmland. This is residential land and the result is that the Farms are not kept up today the intelligent Farmers tend to move away and there's a decline in the agricultural area. The problem some of the problems you've listed sound almost overwhelming and now we have this handbook and as I read through it it says it's for County Municipal and Township planning Commissioners governing boards, planning consultants and citizens precisely. How is it going to help in alleviating some of the things you have talked about if indeed it will do that. It is directed towards. local communities because the Metropolitan Council is is unable to do the kind of planning and decision-making that's necessary if Farmland is to be preserved as Jim said earlier the real underlying cause of the decline of farm areas is the sense of impermanence that that is a state of mind that the residence of a fire area have and it's brought about by the all the pressures that we talked about on that farm area. But if if the farm area is to be preserved. There has to be a change of Consciousness on the people who live and work there and there has to be a growing. Sense that the farm area is a viable economic area and that it can stand on its own two feet and it takes I think kind of a fighting Spirit has to be instilled in the in the people who live and work there to preserve it. And the only way that is going to come about is through self-help self planning on a local basis and the determination at the local government level to actually preserve the area for farming and to keep out a conflicting land uses and and a way of life that that's not compatible with farming. So that is why the handbook is directed at the local areas and I'm afraid that if local governments don't pick up on it. There's nothing that higher levels of government are going to be able to do to preserve farming areas around the metropolitan area. There are two parts to this one is like Sunday describe first the local commitment from the farm people farmers are around almost inherently independent people. But if Farm activities to be continued around the metropolitan area, they really have to work together and farming has to be recognized in the local government planning process and in the the regulations that are adopted and recognized in a way that will support the continued agricultural activity. Another part though is that They have to find out what land is really long-term agricultural land and what is not because Urban Development will continue the Metropolitan Council through its development framework program is trying to bring more logic to this development and utilizing Services already installed before extending them further. But from the agricultural standpoint that the real need is to find out what what areas are productive soils and so forth in and have the capability of continuing what areas on the other hand are not and that's for the handbook comes in too often in the past. The planning profession I think is taking the magic marker routine and then just sort of John Grant map saying this is the Urban Air in this is a primary or something like that with no basis to it and what the handbook get sad on a local level is making us to Animation of what is long-term agricultural land in what is what we call a short-term land which shall we hope to continue an agricultural use, but which we recognize will be changing the handbook contains. Basically three or four parts of the first part is the planning for agricultural part there about six studies which can be done by local people in the township at the fairly simple, but together can help them get a very good idea what's going on as far as the future agriculture in that area. There's also a legal discussion about what kind of controls are available for local use. And another part is the model ordinance, which is recommended for long-term areas. Sunday, I think I'm disgusted ordinance later on but I feel it is really essential and which is just too awesome skipped is this is planning part too often we go from yeah. It's a good idea to how can we control it and not getting in-depth enough into the the real substance of the issue and that's where the Six studies attempt to clarify that the situation. They they build upon each other. The first is that of examining the present character of farming activities. It's some came to the somewhat of a surprise to us that in this area agricultural activity varies a great deal. What is considered Prime agricultural land in one area is not necessarily Prime and another and what is considered viable Farm activity in one area is not necessarily so in another area. So the first thing that the township officials are Planning Commission officials need to do is to just figure out what is successful farming in this area and the only people I can really do that are the local people the Metropolitan Council can't do it and wouldn't want to try Second part then is identifying the productive soils so-called Prime agricultural land and we've indicated a classification which would give you this idea and it's a process simply of using the soil surveys for the area and mapping us and just getting an idea of how this is soils are distributed is it is generally Prime agricultural land or is it broken up by features which make it difficult to farm as it in two small Parcels are or what but getting a stone on a map. Where is the prime land and the maronyx oils and glacially reduce oils that we have in this area. You'll find a Township which say the eastern half is very hilly and not rocket for Farmland. Where is the Western half would be quite good and this has to be delineated on a map. Can't just call the whole Township farmland and you have to find out Really productive, but that's the first step. Annex another step which we recommend we call Agri vestment and this is something which I started out here from the thinking that when you invest money in permanent facilities on your farm, you're committing yourself to farming tractors and equipment like us you can move from one form to another but when you put in a silo call Shands ER or Barnes this type of thing our or irrigation equipment, you're committing yourself to stay in there for a long time and we identify a process to Display on a map and just where is this investment taking place? Is it taken place and wear some type of some cases? You'll find it there. It just hasn't been an investment for a long time. This will be a serious concern. In other cases. You'll find that my gosh Farmers have been investing they are committed themselves to farming and that's a sign of strength. Another thing is of course to look at existing Urban Development. If you just go by your Prime soils, you may find that you have identified for long-term Farm use existing residential area and has all kinds of problems. So it's extremely important to be as up-to-date as possible. And where is Urban Development taking place? Another step is that of going over government plans for new facilities in this area. We found that the government itself is one of the biggest problems for the farm people do to plans for soaring a huge area. For example You put new build a sewer for roughly 5280 or. And mediately when you have sore capacity for an area that it's no longer Farmland, you know what this as an urban premium on it. And this has to be identified and clarify that this Lent over in one area. There are no Urban investment commitments to that area. But in another area there are and that will be a key differentiation between long-term and short-term Agricultural and there a lot of Investments like that not just yours, but Parkland airports the many years ago when they airport controversy was quite strong possibility of an Airport's stymied agricultural development for probably ten years because of this possibility of selling out to the airport commission, and it would have been a van. . Not knowing precisely where this was a much larger area was affected then actually would have been purchased. So it's important to identify this type of various. Well highways are another situation if highways to be upgraded to Interstate status or simply freeway status the position of the interchanges in this type of thing and just that all that furniture automatically. There's a premium on that non-agricultural premium. So it's it's important for the local people again, the only ones who can really do this the kind of detail. It's needed to find out where these I got my investments are going to be and and Delaney at this on the map. Another step is that of a parcel size when land is broken up into small Parcels to 510 acres and a sort of thing. It's gone. It's not Farmland anymore. It may still be in an old sort beans or corn but it's just about impossible to bring the kind of Investments That land it's needed for long-term us and it's usually owned by a great many different people with different objectives for it and that leads into that the final thing which is that of ownership patterns. And we're suggesting that the people in the township determine who does own the land because that has a great deal of effect on the future if I own that land chances my investing in the farm use that Lander are very slim. Whereas if if you was a farmer on it chances of maintain and inform you is so much better and you'll find areas which seemingly are productive farmlands Patron by airline pilots and institutions and banking interests and and whatnot. And that'll be fine for a while. He'll be rented out but as far as an agricultural Community it's gone. And that's what we would call short-term land. So. But we're suggestion is that you go through all these studies because by themselves which one is not sufficient there too many conditions which can affect things but looking at all of them and I'm particularly tempered with the local knowledge of what is successful farming here. You can get a pretty good idea of what land is productive. Farmland is not plan for Urban Development does not have a sewer capacity for it. It's not an airport sign for it does not have Highway going through it's not Park sign for it that's owned by Farm people that there's an investment on the land and there's evidence of reinvestment. That's a large parcel size and this sort of thing. Then you have a clear idea that that's probably long-term agricultural land. All right, Gentlemen, let's say you're a Township Board member in Plymouth Burnsville, wherever it might be Inver Grove Heights, my can't imagine some of the other communities props Long Lake whatever and don't you have the sacral cultural handbook in your hand and you've heard the comments that you folks here at the Metro Council have made about the importance of delineating. What is agricultural land use somebody's Urban Land Use and thinking about it into the future. What's the payoff essentially that is to say perhaps there is some residents of those areas who sees our development coming that direction and think to themselves while this is a good deal land values will rise and we will see our property value rise development. They'll be more business. What is the payoff of a trying to determine what is agricultural land and trying to keep it agricultural land? I think the payoff occurs on several different levels. To the community itself. I think there are some tangible benefits in terms of reduced taxes to designate that land which is likely to be Urban and which can be served in a in a rational and economically manner by the local facilities local streets local sewer lines local water lines Etc local. Police and fire services for that matter to designate those areas and to know that that is where a subdivision activity should be taking place. And then to have a designated some short-term or longer-term Farm areas farther out in areas that if subdivision activity took place there there would be a much greater expense to the local governmental unit to build new schools or to build sewer lines or whatever out to those were all areas. So I think there is a community benefit in in good planning. the the benefit to individuals, of course, there is a good deal by what the individuals values are. if the individual if if we're talking about a farmer now who is relatively young or middle-aged who is Farm in the family plot that's been handed down for several Generations wants to remain a farmer. He has a person has definite benefits from the local governmental unit recognizing that he wishes to a remain a farmer if the farmer is and we have a lot of these in the metropolitan area is reaching retirement age and Who wants to get out of farming? then there there is at least a seeming penalty imposed on that kind of person by the local government trying to keep the area as an agricultural area. It would have seemed that he wouldn't be able to sell his land for as much for farming purposes as for urban purposes. We tend to think though that because agricultural land is commanding very high prices around the state of Minnesota a good Farmland is really on a price basis competitive with with what's being paid for Urban Land right now. The because of that if an area can be your mark for agriculture over a long. Of time that perhaps the return on that land for selling it to another farmer or somebody who can be guaranteed to for farming it for 20 or 25 years will be just as great as selling it to a real estate agent or a developer. So while in today's market with all the uncertainty there is in in land and what land can be used for and what rezoning will will bring to the value of land right now. There is a premium for holding land that can be rezoned for residential or commercial purposes. I think that if we if we were able to achieve Better plans and I'm more certain land market the price of agricultural land in the Twin Cities would rise to the level that it has reached in other parts of Minnesota, and there may not be a penalty for farmland. I think it gets back to that. I mentioned earlier this very far extended sense of impermanence right now. There's so many things going on. That is a farm owner. You don't know what the future of your land is. Maybe you really want to keep farming but you have all these other pressures which suggests that maybe you shouldn't keep find me at least not in that area and I think the result of this type of study and stopping ordinances and so far as a result of it would be to bring Assurance to the local area really what the future of the area holds development framework program of the council will help in that by saying luxor's are not going to go into this area. I can remember many times visiting with Farm people in the rural area for the first question that comes as one of the sewer is coming because they assessment is astronomical and through this process will be able to say look there will not pee sores. And will be able to substantiate what the likely future is for the area and that in itself I think is extremely valuable to the farm area and also to the urban area. What's been the extensive use of this handbook so Farm or if it hasn't been out long enough for any kind of extensive use. What's the kind of reception you get among local people who you talk to about this idea of trying to in a more manageable way predict to growth into the plan for it will in some parts of the metropolitan area. The handbook has been received with enthusiasm and we know of the least a half-dozen communities that That are embracing the handbook and are attempting to do in a planning way what it suggests and several that have already adopted a zoning ordinance is very similar to the model zoning ordinance contained in the handbook and I think and we've heard the sum of the payoffs on that one Township reported that after they adopt adopt at his own zoning ordinance that based on this model of their farmers were able to obtain loans for putting an irrigation equipment, which was good in itself. But especially in this drought year with the more droughts predicted was very helpful for that area. And this was basically because the township It showed itself a show that it was willing and determined to remain an agricultural area was able to convince the investment bankers that it was a good investment for Pharma farm equipment. Now in other parts of the metropolitan area, especially where the Farmland is not as good as the the idea of the handbook meets with a very cool reception and I think that stems mostly from a misunderstanding of what the handbook is there. It is felt that it's an attempt of the Metropolitan Council to impose its will on the local people. And as soon as we get that cleared up in discussions with those people they begin to realize that this is what not what the Metro Council has in mind and they're little more eager to look at it from a positive standpoint. So you have written this handbook with no strings attached to your simply writing it up and handing it to the local people saying here's some You can use that's right. What about the model ordinance briefly and finally what happens when local governmental leaders sit down to begin drafting language then to will in some way enhance their planning process. Well, we have included in the handbook a model or example planning ordinance is that Kind of takes the best of the many ordinances that we studied and his intended if it's applied to fairly to the land and with some determination by the local governmental body that we feel it will accomplish the preservation of Farmland. Just as long as that determination is there at the local level it's based very heavily on my Lord on an ordinance that was developed by Carver County in the metropolitan area here Carver County is kind of pioneer the way and in good strong the zoning to preserve agriculture the model ordinance differs a little bit from Carver County's but not significantly the main provision of the ordinance is for an Agricultural District. that zones land for agriculture and agriculturally related uses but it does permit a very limited amount of non-agricultural uses basically single family houses. And those the number of those houses is restricted to one house for every 40 acres of Farmland. The house could be built on a small as a 1-acre lot. If septic tank standards permit and the house must be adjacent to an existing public road so that New Roads don't have to be built to the landlocked Parcels of land. But it affect what it does is. Permits the farmer to keep a majority 39 out of 40 acres of his land in uncultivated farm use but still be able to sell off a parcelhero parcel there when the going gets rough and he could sell off a lot for it for some money and from a legal standpoint that ensures that it's not an exclusive exclusionary zoning ordinance that some people do have a chance to come out and purchased Watson and live in a farming area. But we think that the denaun farm uses are restricted enough so that they won't become burdensome or a nuisance to the the Farms. Not to minimize that works and is put into this sort of the attorneys as well. But I think it's important to know what said this is based on ordinances which already exists in and one, what is metropolitan area in counties around Metropolitan is a compilation of the best parts of those and I did take a lot of careful drafting to put it together to work. Right but it it's it's definitely not some hybrid sandwich some attorneys of cooked up in a room somewhere. It's something which has been demonstrated to work already. It is working in places and we feel as it's put together in this model would be very effective. It's important also point out though that This ordinances for long-term agricultural lands primarily and short term productive farmlands where you can indicate a stage in process or Urban services will be extended and the requires this kind of situation to apply. There are parts of the Twin Cities where the ordinance probably would not work and I think the planning process which we talked about earlier talk today reveal those areas the marginal lands, which don't fit into these two categories. So you have to have the planning process first before you can really get into the ordinance and and you do have to have a certain circumstances. You can't force an ordinance on an area would it has to fit and of course the local government can Make whatever changes wants to in the model. It's simply a model a sample and they can change the minimums and maximums her basic regulations and they want that was Jim schettler and environmental planner with a metropolitan Council and Sandy Dean land use planner with a console in a pre-recorded conversation with Dan Olson. It's two guests to join me now in Leigh studio and are prepared to listen to your questions and comments on this subject. You have something that you'd like to ask if it's a call in the Twin Cities area 29112 to 24 listening down in Rochester or Southeastern Parts in Minnesota. Toll-free number is 806-529-7002. 9-1-1 222 in the Twin Cities 800-652-9700 elsewhere. Gentleman while we wait for some listeners to call and I have at least a couple of questions. First of all, what is the actual value of preserving this Farmland? Why should we be so concerned about preserving Farmland in the in the Twin Cities area? What is example the value of the crop yield from it? Well that changes from year to year depending on what crops are planted and what has been a real problem. In other parts of the state. The land around here is like it was pretty good shape was not especially those areas for irrigation very fortunate. I don't like I don't think we have any figures that on this year as far as the production we did have figures from couple of under 2 years ago on that indicated from I think it's 100 250 million dollars income and which is quite a substantial amount. But this I have to emphasize depends a great deal on the commodity prices and Which we've heard that come down and retailing and recent times and see the total farm value of last year was about 4 billion dollars. I think they say it'll be maybe two and a half or so. This year's Statewide atheists. So are they a hundred fifty to two hundred million dollars is not a huge percentage of that. Would you agree with the argument that with the rising World demand for food that every acre that can be used for production ought to be that that there's some real basic reason for not converting that into Urban Land. Sandy Dean Bob, I don't think that that argument goes too far. I believe though that if every metropolitan area in the region, I mean in the United States that took no interest in their farmland and the let it dribble away year by year that we might have a serious problem with a shortage of a good productive Farmland. So while I don't think we can argue persuasively that every acre in the Twin Cities really matters to the the national Farm economy that it's the example that we sat here and that other areas in the United States set that actually will have an impact the together. It is Preservation of prevention rather than urban sprawl more important than the preservation to Farmland. Is that really what you're getting at? I'd have to I can come in on that. I I think they're just mutually beneficial. We found that in the council's development framework program that buy delineating the urban expansion area. This was a benefit to the farm area making it more clear and providing Insurance of where are the sewers where the public Investments were going to go where they were not going to go on the same token though. It's important to the urban area that in order for this to really work. The non-urban area has to remain profitable and has two men but you cannot make it profitable and the agricultural activity which existed before is the way that that can happen. I think we have a collar standing by on the line. Good morning. You're on the air. May we have your question, please? Good morning. I'm calling cuz Rochester area. First of all, I'm interested in obtaining. Yes, it is a copies are available from the Metropolitan Council. They cost a dollar fifty each and you can either write the Metropolitan council at 300 Metro Square building. 7th and Robert Street st. Paul or you can obtain one by calling area code 612-291-6359 during the week. Did you have did you have another another question sir? Another question? I'm familiar with Carver County Jordan. 40 acre I might also add that I'm a planning with me. rustic table plans We are looking at the possibility of also. however We're very I also have my dad. And we find it there. Seemingly probably is as interested in going with the something of us. Have a greater scale from the standpoint of a low profile 80 acres maybe even 160 acres for none from falling today. Yes, I think that we happened to go with those the 40-acre size of because we felt it was a minimum. It's certainly possible. I think to to require minimum lot sizes at 80 acres are 160 acres. In fact, I think it really makes more sense for a farming area and I believe that a study of your particular area around Rochester of of average Farm sizes are the size Farm it would take To be an efficient the economic unit would be important in documenting how realistic that 80-acre 160 Acres size is so I think if you do you study you find at The Farms. Have to be large in the Rochester area that the typical Farm is in the 300 to 400 acre ranch or something that it would be very possible to go with an 80-acre 160 acre minimum lot size. I think the the important thing to keep in mind is that if there are. area's land areas within the general farming area that are not particularly suitable to farming a rocky areas or marshy areas or hilly areas that to the extent that well those perhaps should have some more lenient to standard apply to them. What did large wooded areas. Do you want to think about allowing them to be to have one or two or three houses being built in there? So that a farmer does not have his entire property? Restricted for Farm use if in fact it cannot all be farmed profitably. We have another caller standing by a good morning. You're on the are planning boards. If there's a tendency for there to be more land speculators a real estate people on the boards that I would presume that would help to influence policy away from agricultural. You send the InStep there more agricultural people on the boards. I would tend to promote more agricultural uses. Would there be any way of forcing history in a sense in trying to argue that a majority of members of sit on these planning board should be people that agricultural interest in the future or I mean without me forcing history too much to try to persuade people in that direction. So I'm trying to say that if you look at the history of Europe, for example of urbanization begin to sweep over Europe in the 19th century. There was a movement from a more conservative people to force history in a sense to say that you have to have a majority or a postal majority of people who represent and agricultural point of view on the Planning Commission. I need as long as you have people who want to promote real estate speculation sitting on boards that you'll never really be able to adopt a favorable agricultural policy impression from the surveying the Twin Cities area. That's a difficult question. Certainly. We bring our own biases to whatever meetings are our boards were part of my experience with a the town boards. And they the planning commission's has been that's why I'm just greatly impressed with these people and they Brett's of their thinking and their interest and general interested in pursuing the the the general benefit for the whole area. It's true though that certainly do have real estate interest you have Farm interest and then what have you on every board and I guess some Hi, this is just something for them. You're pointing at board the town board or the County Commissioners to be very conscious of when they make appointments to the plan and commissions that they try to have Brett's on the on the planning commission's but generally our experience has been reserved. I really really good people without access to grind and I can't really suggest much further than that. We've we've had good experience with them were very impressed with her capabilities and its matter for the local governments and their point in process to to to think carefully about Okay, our next caller is standing by. Good morning. You're on the air. Republic if anyone can listen to what they discuss Hi. Yes, they are not the Metropolitan Council meets. Every other Thursday at 4 in the afternoon, and those are always public meetings and second and fourth Thursdays of the month and it has a subcommittees which meet every Thursday afternoon at 2 or 1:30. this agricultural planning handbook was discussed at several of those meetings last year and those meetings are open to the public about Planning Commission meetings of the townships and counties are also public meetings and to find out the days and times of those meetings it wouldn't Did you should call the the county offices or the get a hold of a Township Clerk and you could find out the dates and times public meeting are meetings of public bodies must buy stay Lobby open to the public and there's some possibility that they'll all be amended in me coming session of the legislature to allow for some exceptions. But the kind of thing that I think are listener is asking about probably will be kept open and should be no difficulty in getting in Are phone lines here in the Twin Cities are open if you would like to ask a question about Metropolitan agricultural activities to 911 222 also outside the Twin Cities area. 800-652-9700. The interview that to Dan Olson did with you he asked about the pressures on Farmland in the area. And I wonder if you could elaborate a little bit more on that in the in the sense that a people's residential choices tend to be a single family home on a large lot. This is encouraged by public policies are the highways the property taxes income taxes. Home Loans is kind of thing and if there's some way of Going out of encouraging people to stay in the metro area to make that little bit more popular. It seems like your face of public education question is what time is what I'm getting at here people like to live out in the country. They're like to live on a big lot. They want to have their own their own house. I remember one of the Agricultural Extension agents telling about the trouble they have actually with people from the urban area moving out buying 10 acres maybe even a whole farm and going to the agent and asking them how to run the farm they say they don't know anything about it, but it it certainly can't be very difficult and which is just the opposite of the true situation farming. Commercial farming is a very complex operation at some. requires a lot of time slot of luck and a great many factors involved in it the kind of a hobby Farm in which you get a lot of Roundup. The twin cities are in the urban area so much different kind of thing. The the owner usually has another source of income and farming is simply just a hobby. People down in the Cannon Falls area. I think it is. We're pretty upset by the must have been the county assessor's ruling that unless the land was actually being used for Farm production was going to be taxed as residential which was going to cost them a lot more money. And I guess that's just a statement of public policies in the kinds of things that that the encourage candle and you said yeah, that's what's really needed. You get out a lot of people moving to the rural area and because they like them the Roll Lifestyle but they're not really a farm table accessories are caught in the middle of this and have a very difficult time because they have to classify the land and that classification as a big effect on the taxes that are going to be in on it. The value of the land and is US agricultural valid value, or is it Urban value a very difficult time with us and I think Probably what's really needed is some legislation State legislation that will provide some clarification to this and give the Assessor's better Direction on it and perhaps the farm people in the lobby pharmacist 12 clear idea of just how these things are going to be determined and and what protections are available for the farmers. I think the listener is standing by on the telephone. Good morning. You're on the air. May we have your question? what you were talking about between 10:40 and I was just wondering if Interested in similar to the phone number that you would have in the supermarket. Do you have privacy to get eggs at 4 cry instead of going to that text back for buying merchandise? Do you gentlemen? I was just wondering if we're not involved in any ideas. He has there. It's really a matter of something that the Congress would have to take up in the income tax online possibly stay Department of Revenue or the state legislature. Okay, we have just about a minute and a half left here and time for a quick call. If someone wants to get on the line to 911 to to to to follow up on a question on a comet appears. I'm going to go San Diego what other kinds of State Legislative action do you think might be necessary? For example, is it necessary to expand the size of the metropolitan area? You see you some residential developments occurring outside the seven County region. Well, we think that's the most important legislative action would be the the passage of some kind of of law permitting the creation of agricultural districts, which would be hug large areas of Farmland, which would be protected from incursions by both the government and and other actions which Den to take land out of agricultural production a New York state has a law a lot that accomplishes this and that it could be adapted perhaps to Minnesota's situation. Let's try in the next minute to get one final collar on good morning. You're on the air. Hey, may we have your question, please? Very very briefly. Yes. Oh for goodness sakes must say that in all the times. We've been doing this program. We've never had anyone be so rude as to come up with a comment like that. Well, I would like to thank our two guests for coming in Jim schettler and environmental planner with City metropolitan Council Sandy Dino Land Use planner at the console. They have compiled a booklet called agricultural planning handbook, which is available to those who might be interested in purchasing one. I think about the dollar and a half and you can write to the Metropolitan Council in St. Paul.