Purchasable development rights (PDR) programs are generally considered to provide permanent protection of farmland because development rights are separated from the land in perpetuity. However, the programs do not require that farming activities be maintained in the future. Farming may be discontinued on PDR parcels due to changes in economic conditions or if the parcels are converted to non-farm, rural estates. Such changes may reduce the flow of public goods that citizens seek to obtain by implementing PDR programs. We examine changes in land use on PDR parcels to determine if current activities are consistent with program goals. While changes have occurred in the crops and livestock produced on Rhode Island farms, over time, all of the farms on which development rights were purchased during 1985 through 1999 are currently being farmed by the original owners or by new operators who have either purchased or leased the land.


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