Researchers Aim to Create Thriving Agricultural Systems in Urbanizing Landscapes


A project led by Penn State researchers is aimed at ensuring the economic and environmental sustainability of agriculture in the face of development pressures and other challenges of urbanization.

Agricultural systems in metropolitan regions and in adjacent, nonmetro counties account for more than two-thirds of U.S. net farm income and 97% of net farm income in Pennsylvania.

But can food systems in these urbanized landscapes remain economically and environmentally sustainable in the face of development pressure and perceived disamenities associated with agriculture? A team led by Penn State College of Agricultural Sciences researchers is almost a year into a five-year study aimed at providing answers to this question.

"Communities and consumers in urbanized landscapes value agriculture for locally produced foods, open space and scenery, recreational opportunities such as agritourism, and wildlife habitats," said project leader David Abler, professor of agricultural, environmental and regional economics and demography. "But the sustainability of agriculture in these areas is threatened by increasing competition for land and water from urban growth and sprawl, and by water pollution, livestock odors, pests and dust from agricultural activities."

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