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Between Spring 2022 and Spring 2023, a team of researchers at Boise State University conducted interviews with people involved in farmland protection efforts. Our goal was to understand how interviewees frame the issue of farmland loss. Frames can draw attention to an issue, contextualize decision-making, and influence the policy solutions considered. Through a frame analysis, we gained a clearer understanding of potential approaches for farmland protection in Idaho.

We conducted 10 semi-structured interviews with individuals representing government agencies, academic institutions, land trusts, non-profit organizations, and farmers. After conducting the interviews, we analyzed the transcripts in a systematic manner to identify recurring message frames pertaining to farmland loss. The analysis process enabled us to map these frames onto potential policy solutions applicable to Idaho.

Our report outlines the advantages and disadvantages of each frame and pinpoints which ones are likely to resonate with specific groups. Our research revealed a diverse range of frames used to address farmland protection, with many interviewees citing multiple frames. The domestic food security, regional economy, and national/global trade frames are expected to have broad appeal, while the national security and environmental benefits frames may appeal to more specific audiences. The threatened resource and cultural importance frames are likely to resonate with those valuing tradition. We identified a variety of solutions, such as agricultural protection areas, support for rural economies, promotion of regenerative agriculture, and expansion of Idaho's Right to Farm Act protections. Our findings underscore the importance of diverse, flexible, and responsive solutions to improve the feasibility of farmland protection in Idaho. We hope that our work will provide a solid basis for future efforts aimed at preserving Idaho's farmland.

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(c) The authors, 2023. Published by Boise State University.