2024 Undergraduate Research Showcase

Impacts of Two Typologies of Agricultural Land Loss in Idaho

Document Type

Student Presentation

Presentation Date


Faculty Sponsor

Dr. Jodi Brandt


Agricultural land loss is an issue that poses harmful risks to individuals such as rural decay, job insecurity, and declining food supply. Along with population growth, increasing housing demand will transform agricultural land into residential areas, negatively impacting food security.

The problem we are researching is why agricultural land loss is happening and what is causing it. Our analysis focuses on two possible causes of agricultural land loss: urban sprawl and amenity migration.

We are using publicly accessible data (USDA Census of Agriculture) and open-source software (R) to characterize how and where these processes develop.

Currently, we have analyzed three counties experiencing urban sprawl and three counties experiencing amenity migration.

The data show a universal decline in mid-sized farms but a rise in small farms for Teton, Canyon, and Owyhee counties. Additionally, urban sprawl counties are seeing a rise in full-owned farms compared to a universal decline in part-owned farms.

These results suggest that small, fully owned farms may be important for preserving agricultural land near urban sprawl, yet the path forward for amenity migration areas needs to be clarified. The results could inform policymakers, increase job security, and improve our scientific knowledge of agriculture concerning economic and demographic changes.

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