Agricultural buffers at the rural–urban fringe: an examination of approval by farmers, residents, and academics in the Midwestern United States
In the Midwestern United States, urban areas most often expand by converting farmland into residential sites. This process puts households and working farms in close contact, often resulting in conflicts. Can agricultural buffers, which provide a variety of environmental and aesthetic benefits, help mediate this conflict? This study examined the approval of different buffer types by three stakeholder groups: farmers, residents, and academics. Participants rated three buffer conditions (no buffer, basic buffer, and extensive buffer) for each of six buffer types. Findings reveal support for buffers, with approval of basic buffers over three times that of the no buffer conditions and even greater approval for extensive buffers. Farmers, academics, and residents agreed on their approval for the basic buffers over no buffers, but differed with respect to the extensive buffers. Responses to buffers were nearly equivalent on privately and publicly owned land. The approval for buffers suggests they may provide more than their documented environmental benefits in the agricultural landscape.