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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Eye On Boise

Researchers developing map to predict future farmland loss

Here’s a news item from the Associated Press: BOISE, Idaho (AP) — Idaho researchers are working on a map that might be able to estimate how much farmland southwestern Idaho will lose by the end of the century and where the loss will occur. The map will be able to predict farm ground loss in the southwestern Idaho area known as Treasure Valley in 10-year increments beginning in 2021, the Capital Press reports ( Data on growth patterns and development that occurred in Treasure Valley from 2001-2011 will be used to make the predications, Boise State University Assistant Professor Jodi Brandt said.

The idea for the map came after recent BSU surveys determined that people in the region "overwhelmingly value agricultural land. It came up that agriculture is something people really care about," Brandt said. Ada Soil and Water Conservation District says a little more than 156 square miles (404 square kilometers) of farmland were lost in Ada County from 1974 to 2012. That time period had "the un-smartest growth" southern Idaho farmers had ever experienced, Coalition for Agriculture's Future Chairman George Crookham said.

Idaho residents fear Canyon County may soon experience a similar farmland loss. He believes the map could be useful to the local agricultural community. "I'm curious, and possibly horrified, at what her projections will show," Crookman said. The cropland loss map might be completed in a month, Brandt said.

Betsy Z. Russell
Betsy Z. Russell joined The Spokesman-Review in 1991. She currently is a reporter in the Boise Bureau covering Idaho state government and politics, and other news from Idaho's state capital.

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