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Penn State Studying Agricultural Systems in Urbanizing Landscapes

A five-year study led by Penn State is exploring how food systems in urbanized landscapes can remain economically and environmentally sustainable. Researchers say 97% of net farm income in Pennsylvania is from metropolitan regions and adjacent, nonmetro counties. However, the sustainability of agriculture in these areas is threatened by competition for land and water and by complaints about the “disamenities” of agriculture, such as dust, odors, and pollution. The team is evaluating how on-farm practices, such as nutrient management, and policy tools, such as zoning, could impact a shared future with agriculture. The project is in its first year, and it will include workshops, courses, and extension programs in its stakeholder outreach.