Agriculture has had a big influence in Oregon, as farming is what attracted many of Oregon's first settlers. Agriculture continues to be a major employer in the state. Goal 3 protects farmland for continued production of food and fiber.

Goal 3 requires counties to identify farmland, designate it as such on the comprehensive plan map, and zone it Exclusive Farm Use (EFU). An EFU zone places restrictions on developments that are unrelated to agriculture in order to minimize uses that conflict with farming. Property owners who keep EFU land in agricultural production benefit by receiving lowered property taxes.

Goal 3 has perhaps the most involved of all land use rule divisions in the Oregon Administrative Rules.