As Billings' population grows, what will happen to farmlands? - | News, Weather & Sports in Billings, Montana

As Billings' population grows, what will happen to farmlands?

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As the Billings population continues to grow, more farmers say they are being pushed out. Some members of the community worry farmers are losing the battle.

Grandpa's Farm Maze is a fall staple in Billings. As subdivisions keep popping up on the west end, one owner says she's worried about the future for her family and other traditional farms.

Before Mindi Hopkin's family bought Grandpa's Farm Maze, she remembers a time when Billings was mostly rural. Hopkin says they moved here 21-years ago and have seen the changes and growth first hand.

As development continues on the west end, she's uncertain about the future.

"It's always worrisome, we use to be over on Shiloh, then we were over on King Avenue and we've just been pushed further and further out so we've been moved three times the years that we've done this. So it's always a concern for us that we're going to be pushed out to Laurel or further away," Hopkin said.

Hopkin says what she and her husband hope to do is show kids where food comes from and tell them about what farming entails.

When driving on the west-end, you will see subdivision to farms and back to more homes. A planning director with Yellowstone County Planning says they have seen consistent and steady growth within Billings.

The west-end of Billings use to be filled with traditional farms. The few farms left have subdivisions filled with new neighbors.

Yellowstone County Planning director, Wyeth Friday, says it's the farm owners' decision if they sell their property to the city. From there, the city will subdivide it.

Friday says recently, there's been a half dozen subdivision plats that have come in for several locations on the west-end and heights.

If you feel like Billings is losing a big piece of what the city is, Friday says to preserve farmlands, the community will have to come together to form a group.

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