Agriculture News

July 3, 2019

Indiana Land Use Summit launches community planning resources

Purdue Extension, the Indiana State Department of Agriculture, and the Indiana Land Resources Council (ILRC) have announced the publication of a document series designed to assist local governments on current and emerging land use issues.

The “Community Planning for Agriculture and Natural Resources: A Guide for Local Government” series will serve as the launching point for collaborative discussion at the Indiana Land Use Summit, a one-day community planning workshop held on Aug. 28 at the Hendricks County 4-H Fairgrounds and Conference Complex, 1900 E. Main St., Danville, Indiana.

Due to the technical nature of planning for agriculture and natural resources, residents and local governments bring varying degrees of knowledge, training and information to the planning process. Perhaps the city council wants to promote urban agriculture or create clear management practices for the preservation of urban trees. The county plan commission might wonder if a utility-scale renewable energy project is feasible, or your rural area might need to manage conflicts between livestock production and other land uses.

The ILRC’s statutory mission is to provide technical and educational assistance to local units of government. After hosting a series of listening sessions with a variety of ag-focused organizations, the ILRC identified a need for accessible land use resources on a variety of topics.

“We saw a gap between issue and implementation,” said Jeff Cummins, general counsel and director of public affairs at the Indiana State Department of Agriculture. “Sometimes local planning officials run into unanticipated controversy or regulatory concerns, or may not know where to begin on an idea. 

“This document seeks to meet current challenges, and may also introduce you to an issue that hasn’t come up in your community yet — but might.”

Funded by the Indiana State Department of Agriculture and created by Purdue Extension and the ILRC, this document provides an overview of factors influencing land use planning decisions including federal, state and local regulations, economic development considerations, and environmental concerns. It also provides examples of communities that have tackled similar issues, resources for taking a deeper dive into the topic, and best practices for conducting meetings and encouraging public participation.

“It's an exciting project due to the diversity of stakeholder groups and perspectives represented in this document,” said Kara Salazar, ILRC council member from Purdue Extension. “We took a great deal of time and care in approaching each topic from multiple viewpoints, consistently obtaining feedback, and providing diligently researched information.”

The Indiana Land Use Summit will include an overview of the document series, guest speakers, breakout sessions, and panel discussions featuring planning, operational, economic, government, and academic perspectives. Attendees will also be able to meet the authors, ask questions, network, and brainstorm opportunities for technical assistance and partnerships.

The Indiana Land Use Summit is open to anyone with an interest in integrating agriculture and natural resources as part of community land use planning efforts. Registration is $40, which will also include lunch and a hard copy of “Community Planning for Agriculture and Natural Resources: A Guide for Local Government.”

Register now for the Indiana Land Use Summit at  View or download “Community Planning for Agriculture and Natural Resources: A Guide for Local Government” for free at

Writer: Jessica Mehr, 765-496-2384,

Sources: Kara Salazar, 765-496-1070,

               Jeff Cummins, 317-517-9445,

Agricultural Communications: 765-494-8415;

Maureen Manier, Department Head,  

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