(505 ILCS 75/2) (from Ch. 5, par. 1302)
    Sec. 2. Legislative Findings and Intent. The natural resources of Illinois - land, minerals, water, and air - are both finite and fragile. In the absence of wise use and consistent management practices, these resources are threatened by irreversible damage or loss. Protection of the State's natural resources is essential to guard the public health, safety, and welfare, and to assure an adequate natural resource supply and quality for use and enjoyment by future generations.
    Since World War II, the amount of Illinois land dedicated to agriculture has steadily declined at an average rate of approximately 100,000 acres per year. This substantial loss of farmlands is the equivalent of eight average-sized Illinois counties. If this trend continues, the State will lose the equivalent of another five or six counties by the end of the century.
    The conversion and loss of agricultural land has diminished Illinois' cropland base and affects environmental quality. The supply of land most suitable for farming is finite. Conversion of this land to urban development and other non-farm uses reduces future food production capability and may ultimately undermine agriculture as a major economic activity in Illinois. With less prime farmland available there will tend to be greater reliance on marginally productive land, resulting in greater soil erosion, increased fertilizer requirements and increased environmental damage. Loss of agricultural land can also reduce the beneficial role which the land itself can play. Agricultural land reduces runoff by absorbing precipitation, aids in replenishing groundwater supplies and can buffer environmentally sensitive areas from encroaching development.
    The importance of preserving our agricultural land base has been recognized by the Illinois Rural Planning Council, the Task Force on the Future of Illinois, and in the State's "Comprehensive Growth and Resource Conservation Policies." Each of these efforts recommends that the State minimize the conversion of prime farmland that results from the direct or indirect effects of State programs and also encourages the achievement of related goals, such as reducing the loss of soil through erosion.
(Source: P.A. 82-945.)