Urban sprawl is easy to recognize once it happens. Can you tell if it’s happening in your area before it becomes obvious?

Urban sprawl occurs long before you see it in the form of shopping malls and large subdivisions, says Scott Everett, regional director of American Farmland Trust. “You see it first in increasing rural fragmentation — those five- to 10-acre plots that you don’t notice how many there are in your area until you look in your plat book,” he says.

This non-traditional development is what’s driving agricultural land values up in many areas. If you’re not already involved, get together with your local land-use planning commission to help protect the future of your farm.