RUTHERFORD COUNTY, Tenn. (WKRN) — Rutherford County is seeing more people and more construction.
“My wife and I are trying to get on a farm,” said Brooks Lamb.
But there’s less open space available for those looking to farm.
“At least once a week, I go online to several of the real estate websites and farm listing sites and I look,” Lamb said.
Lamb grew up on a farm close by in Marshall County and hopes to one day purchase land in Rutherford County to farm on.
“The thing that often keeps us from pursuing any leads in Rutherford County is the price,” he said.
Lamb said he can’t compete with developers willing to pay up to $40,000 an acre for land.
“They can come in and offer astronomical prices, which is almost always going to lead to the erasure of that agriculture land,” he said.
The loss of farm land is something Dr. Jessica Carter is noticing, too.
“It makes me sad when land is sold and taken out of production agriculture, but I know a lot of that is important for future growth,” she said.
Carter is the director for the School of Agriculture at Middle Tennessee State University. She said she’s seeing fewer students coming from rural areas where they would have access to farms.
“They want to be involved in agriculture, but they didn’t get the chance to grow up on a farm like I did,” she said.
However, there’s a chance that could change.
“PlanRutherford” is the county’s comprehensive plan launched last year to prepare for the future.
County leaders are working to hear from the public as they try to address challenges related to the growth while creating a vision for Rutherford County’s future.
Lamb was invited to attend the county’s upcoming town hall meeting where he will share ways the county can use this plan to help preserve the farmland and open space still available.
“Okay, what do we want for our rural communities and for farming in 10 years, in 20 years, in 40 years?” he said. “How do we want to make sure that we have a future in agriculture?”
With property taxes increasing and more industries flocking to the area, Lamb is hopeful Rutherford County can find a balance between preservation and economic development.
“This is advocating that we can really be intentional and thoughtful, and we understand the value that farmland and rural communities provide, not only in those places, but everywhere,” he said.
The PlanRutherford hall will be held Tuesday, Aug. 22 at Middle Tennessee State University’s School of Concrete and Construction Management building, located at 1727 Blue Rider Drive in Murfreesboro.
The town hall will begin at 5 p.m. with an open house and interactive exhibits, followed by opening remarks and presentations starting at 6 p.m.
Lamb will share details about his book “Love for the Land: Lessons from Farmers Who Persist in Place”, which will address the importance of preserving farmland and open spaces.
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Several key businesses and community leaders will also speak following his presentation and share their perspectives on this issue in regards to economic development.
You can learn more about the comprehensive plan here.