Metropolitan Agricultural Preserves Program

Background and Purpose

Minnesota Statutes § 473H established the Metropolitan Agricultural Preserves Program (Program) in 1980 to encourage and preserve areas planned and zoned for long-term agricultural use within the seven-county metropolitan area, except for Ramsey County as it is fully developed.

The purpose of the statute is to encourage the use and improvement of the metropolitan area’s agricultural lands for producing food and other agricultural commodities. It establishes a local planning process to designate agricultural areas as a long-term land use and provides benefits to maintain viable, productive farm operations.

The Metropolitan Council prepares an annual report, maps all lands certified as agricultural preserves, and reviews future land use maps to ensure that the land reflects densities consistent with the Program requirements (a maximum density of 1 unit per 40 acres). Many partners work together to implement the Program including the property owners, local authorities across the region, counties, the MN Department of Agriculture, and the Metropolitan Council.

Agricultural Preserves in 2022

In 2022, the Program remained steady, experiencing only a small decline of 194 acres enrolled from the previous year (2021). As communities along the emerging suburban edge areas of the region continue to develop, less land supply is being dedicated to agricultural use. There is still, however, a strong presence of property owners participating in the Program in Carver and Dakota counties, which have remained steady over the last ten years. The chart below illustrates the overall trend of acres enrolled into the Program by county since 2001.

This chart shows the platting activity since 2001 for each county.
For more information regarding the 2022 Report and presentation to the Community Development Committee, please see the links below: