Agriculture and animal husbandry have played a key role in shaping the landscape in Lesja, and there are still around 240 active farms in the municipality today.
The cultural landscape has a mosaic-like appearance with property boundaries, windbreaks and rivers forming lines through the countryside. As it doesn't rain much in Lesja, many farms are irrigated. In the old days, water was led down from the mountains using a system of ditches and wooden troughs.
Up until around 1860 there were two lakes in the bottom of the valley. They were drained in order to reclaim the land for agriculture. The excellent fishing was lost, and the land was hard to farm. 30 years ago the area between Lesja vicarage and the mouth of the Lordalen valley was protected against flooding and channelled. This area is now very important to the local agriculture industry.