Advanced Search
Current and Breaking News for Professionals, Consumers and Media

Click here to learn how to advertise on this site and for ad rates.

Environment Author: American Farmland Trust Last Updated: Sep 7, 2017 - 10:10:41 PM

America Has Lost More Than Twenty-three Million Acres of Agricultural Land

By American Farmland Trust
Apr 27, 2010 - 5:55:22 PM

Email Newsletter icon, E-mail Newsletter icon, Email List icon, E-mail List icon Sign up for our Ezine
For Email Marketing you can trust

Email this article
 Printer friendly page
( - Washington, D.C. — “The findings from the 2007 National Resources Inventory (NRI) serve as a stark reminder that our nation’s agricultural land base—and the benefits it supplies—is threatened by poorly planned development,” says Jon Scholl, President of American Farmland Trust (AFT).

The NRI is a survey of the nation’s non-federal lands conducted by the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service in cooperation with Iowa State University since 1982. It documents natural resource conditions and trends, including the conversion of agricultural land to developed uses, and is the most comprehensive natural resource database in the nation.

According to the 2007 NRI, 4,080,300 acres of active agricultural land (crop, pasture, range, and land formerly enrolled in the Conservation Reserve Program) were converted to developed uses between 2002 and 2007. This represents an area roughly the size of Massachusetts.

More troubling, the nation has lost 41,324,800 acres of rural land to development between 1982 and 2007—an area about the size of Illinois and New Jersey. Rural land includes active agricultural land, plus forest land and other rural land. Fifty-six percent of the rural land developed, or 23,163,500 acres, is identified as active agricultural land.

In addition, there was a nationwide 13,773,400-acre decline in prime farmland between 1982 and 2007. Prime farmland soils are best suited to produce food and other agricultural crops with the fewest inputs and the least amount of soil erosion.

During the 25-year span of the NRI, every state lost prime farmland. States with the biggest loss of acres included Texas (1.5 million), Ohio (796,000), North Carolina (766,000), California (616,000) and Georgia (566,000). The following states lost the greatest percentage of their prime land during the same reporting period: Arizona
(36 percent), Nevada (34 percent), New Mexico (33 percent), New Jersey (30 percent) and Massachusetts (24 percent).

“Based on the extent of farmland loss during the past 25 years we urge USDA to dig deeper and undertake a new National Agricultural Lands study,” says Julia Freedgood, Managing Director of AFT’s Farmland and Communities initiatives. “We need an updated assessment of the amount of agricultural land needed to meet the nation’s future food, feed, fiber and energy needs.”

More information from the NRI including the long-awaited state-level estimates of changes in land cover/use will be made available in coming weeks. State estimates for changes among land cover/use categories have not been obtainable since the 1997 NRI. In 2001, NRCS began a switch to an annual or rolling NRI, but the agency did not have adequate resources to implement this change. The more frequent, less complete surveys disappointed external users who had come to rely on the breadth and depth of the “five-year” NRIs. “We applaud NRCS’ renewed commitment to the five-year NRI. This critical information will help states and communities understand what is happening to agricultural land, establish farmland protection goals and measure progress,” Freedgood concludes.

For more information on farmland conversion and other farmland protection issues, please contact the Farmland Information Center at 800-370-4879 x13. The Farmland Information Center is a clearinghouse for information about farmland protection created in partnership with the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service and American Farmland Trust. The Farmland Information Center resources are free to the public at .

Subscribe to our FREE Ezine and receive current Health News, be eligible for discounted products/services and coupons related to your Health. We publish 24/7.

For advertising or promotion, email: [email protected]

Top of Page

Latest Headlines

+ Snacking Snakes Act as ‘Ecosystem Engineers’ in Seed Dispersal
+ How Climate Change Weakens Coral ‘Immune Systems’
+ Healthy Environment Leads to Healthy Life
+ Drowning in Boxes: Is More Cardboard Recycling Really the Answer?
+ Bad Air Quality Along Utah’s Wasatch Front Causes More Than 200 Cases of Pneumonia Each Year
+ Building a Home in 2018? Best Green Modifications to Make
+ I Thought Trains Were The Greenest Transit Mode?
+ Natural Pest Control: Protecting Without Harmful Poisons
+ How Birds are Rescheduling their Lives Around Climate Change
+ The Greening of Airplanes?

Contact Us | Job Listings | Help | Site Map | About Us
Advertising Information | HND Press Release | Submit Information | Disclaimer

Site hosted by Sanchez Productions