Citing figures from the Farmland Information Center, the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services says the commonwealth lost 60,800 acres of farmland to development between 2002 and 2007. That's down from 81,500 acres between 1997 and 2002.
The agriculture department said Thursday that the loss of forestland and other rural lands fell from 274,900 acres between 1997 and 2002 to 206,700 acres between 2002 to 2007.
Agriculture and Consumer Services Commissioner Matthew J. Lohr says the figures are heartening. But he says Virginia is still losing farmland and forestland.